Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez, Adriano Espaillat, and Jimmy Gomez have introduced H.R. 6707, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative Improvement Act of 2018, in response to recent reports that the U.S. Department of State has been questioning the citizenship and nationality of U.S. citizens along the U.S.-Mexico Border applying or re-applying for a U.S. passport.
H.R. 6707 would prevent the State Department from judging an individual on the basis of race, ethnicity, or ancestry during the passport application process. Under the bill, the State Department could not deny or flag an individual for citizenship questioning, even in the presence of a midwife birth certificate, without substantial evidence and may not create an argument, solely to question the authenticity of documents, based on the aforementioned criteria.
“No U.S. citizen should ever endure questioning about the nature of their birth,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “Every American, especially members of our Armed Forces and veterans, has the right to hold a U.S. Passport to travel abroad and return home without having their ethnic or ancestral background questioned when re-applying for this important federal travel document or when seeking re-entry into our country. Our legislation seeks to stop these inexcusable actions and end undue discrimination against Americans in South Texas and across the country.”
The congressmen will continue to advocate for fairness, equal treatment, and transparency for all Americans at every level of government.