Puerto Rican Born Residents Required to Get New Birth Certificates

By Leticia Miranda Mar 02, 2010

After July 1, all Puerto Rican-born citizens will be required to have a new birth certificate. Why? Because the State Department of Puerto Rico announced there is an identity fraud crisis that compromises national security. Last December, Luis Fortuno, Puerto Rico’s Governor, signed a law that invalidates all Puerto Rican birth certificates. Now about 4.3 million Puerto Rican-born US residents will have to request a new birth certificate. However the stories of some Puerto Ricans suggest their citizenship has always been in question. From the Tampa Bay online:

Antonio Cotto [pictured above], a restaurant worker in Tampa [Florida], carries his birth certificate with him. "Here in the U.S. you have to have your certificate with you because you don’t know when they’re going to ask you for it," Cotto said. He said because of his accent, he is often is asked to prove his legal status.

About 4.3 million Puerto Rican-born US residents will have to reapply for a birth certificate, most of them living in New York or Florida. Some Puerto Ricans expect the wait to be about 3 months to get a new birth certificate. But those waiting will be issued a temporary certificate in the interim. Apparently, word has been slow to travel and many Puerto Rican-born residents are still confused about the rules and requirements. New York Bronx Congressman, Jose Serrano, said to NY1 that he’s been getting phone calls to his office from concerned residents afraid that this means they’ll lose their citizenship. So the US government will force millions of people born in Puerto Rico, a colony of the US, to rush and get a new birth certificate instead of developing a path for citizenship for immigrants who need documentation to get a job, insurance, a driver’s license or a stable home? Ah, the wonders of American (in)efficiency. At $5 a pop, I suspect requiring all Puerto Rican-born residents to get a new certificate is not just about "national security" but a shady attempt at replenishing the state budget. Read more about the new birth certificate law here and get all the official state information and forms here.