Border Patrol Officers Rip Up Birth Certificates of Latino Teens

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Two Latino teens, born in the United States and legal citizens were forcibly "deported" to Mexico against their will. Apparently, Mario, 17 and Ricardo, 16 (last names held because they were minors at the time of the proceedings) were both detained by agents while crossing the US/Mexico border who then proceeded to rip up the boys birth certificates.

Mario was born in Colorado to a mother who is a legal U.S. citizen and Mexican father. As a toddler, Mario's father brought him to Mexico but at the age of 17, Mario set off for the states, intent on crossing through Nogales, AZ to "claim his destiny." Ricardo headed into Mexico with a less noble goal, mainly to grab a few drinks in a bar with some buddies.

Unfortunately, both teens were detained by border patrol. Mario told the agents that he was a U.S. Citizen and presented them with his birth certificate. While returning from his night out, Ricardo presented not only his US Birth Certificate but also his Arizona driver's license. Mario's lawyer says that the agents "tore up his birth certificate on the spot. They told him, 'It's not real. Go away, kid, this is fraud. There goes
your Colorado birth certificate. Go away, have a nice day.'"

Both Mario and Ricardo are now trapped in a world of bureaucracy and red tape because—rather than facing further intimidation at the hands of the officers or being detained at the Nogales border patrol station and arrested—out of fear, they agreed to sign a document stating they were Mexican citizens.

“If ever there was evidence of the fundamental flaws in our immigration
system, it is the fact that a U.S. citizen was deported twice and
denied entry into the United States on numerous occasions without any
due process of law,” said Jennie Pasquarella, staff attorney for the
ACLU/SC. “ICE officials repeatedly ignore certified birth
certificates, which they could easily corroborate, and instead
simply refused to believe. It is inconceivable that this would have
happened were they not Latino.”

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About this author1

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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