Hispanics Delivered by Border Midwives Are Having Trouble Getting U.S. Passports

Post-9/11 worries target South Texas

Hernandez says he will also go to a Texas Department of Public Safety office to re-sign his driver's license, this time with the "B."

Hernandez is the restaurant supervisor at the Courtyard Marriott hotel in Harlingen. He keeps things organized behind the bar like an army footlocker, and smiles professionally at customers. Yet he looks tired, with bags under his eyes.

"I'm a sour person," he says. "My job is to be friendly and hospitable, but it's hard to show up and put on a happy face when you're fighting the government."

David Hernandez and his mother, Petra Becerra, find nothing but an empty field after returning to the site where they say Hernandez was delivered by a midwife 44 years earlier.
Chris Vogel
David Hernandez and his mother, Petra Becerra, find nothing but an empty field after returning to the site where they say Hernandez was delivered by a midwife 44 years earlier.
David Hernandez's godfather, Carlos Barrientos, witnessed Hernandez's birth, but he has Alzheimer's and can't help prove Hernandez was born in Texas.
Chris Vogel
David Hernandez's godfather, Carlos Barrientos, witnessed Hernandez's birth, but he has Alzheimer's and can't help prove Hernandez was born in Texas.

Most Americans don't know many more than the first few amendments to the U.S. Constitution — free speech, right to bear arms, the basics. Not so for Hernandez. He keeps a small, paperback copy of the Constitution next to the gear shifter in his car. His favorite is the 14th.

"It's about citizenship rights," says Hernandez, "and it starts out by saying that all persons born in the United States are citizens of the United States. Is San Benito not in America? It says in the Constitution that the government was put here to help its people. Well, the government sure isn't trying very hard for me. When I joined the army, I took an oath to defend the Constitution. In my opinion, I'm doing the same thing again. And I'm having to do it against the very government I love so much and gave my service to."

chris.vogel@houstonpress.com

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