According to the Associated Press, citizens who were denied a passport because they were delivered by midwives near the US border with Mexico may soon have an opportunity to reapply for free.

Here’s the background on the story:  Going back to the 1960’s,  some midwives on the Southwestern border were convicted of fraudulently filing birth certificates for children who may have been born on the Mexican side of the border.  So, the State Department began not issuing passports to people who had been delivered near the border by midwives instead of at a hospital.

However, delivery by midwife is very common along the border because many of the people there are poor and live in rural areas.  So, people who are legitimately US citizens have found themselves barred from obtaining a passport, which has become increasingly urgent now that passports are required to travel to and from Mexico.

This led the ACLU to file a class-action lawsuit against the State Department. On Wednesday, the lawsuit was given preliminary class-action status by U.S. District Judge Randy Crane.  Judge Crane also approved a preliminary settlement offer by the State Department that allows members of the class to reapply for free and guarantees that the government will either approve or deny the applications, instead of leaving applicants hanging with no resolution.

If you need a passport, make sure to apply well in advance. Obtaining a passport currently takes at least 6 weeks with regular processing, if everything goes smoothly. However, no matter where you were born, it’s always a good idea to apply as far in advance as possible, so that any issues with your application can be corrected in time for you to travel.  A private passport expediting company can also make obtaining a passport easier by walking you through the application process, so that everything goes smoothly the first time. Plus, you’ll benefit from super-fast processing times,  possibly as quick as 24 hours!

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