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Woman with US birth certificate sues over passport denial

August 28, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon woman is suing the U.S. State Department for declining to issue her a U.S. passport even though her lawyer says she presented federal government officials with a certified birth certificate from a California hospital.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon filed the suit Tuesday in federal court in Medford on behalf of Maria Qarrillo Soto, who has lived in Oregon for 30 years, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported .

Soto, of White City, was denied a U.S. passport in 2018 despite providing government officials with her original birth certificate and copies of her Social Security card, driver’s license and marriage certificate, according to her lawyer Leland Baxter-Neal of the ACLU.

The government denied the passport, telling her the material she presented was “not sufficient to establish your identity,” according to a letter from the U.S. Department of State.

The agency said it doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits.

The lawsuit follows a similar complaint the ACLU filed in federal court in Colorado on behalf of a Texas-born resident who also was denied a U.S. passport.

The ACLU argues that President Donald Trump’s administration is blocking U.S. passports more frequently for Latino Americans.

“There’s no reasonable explanation for denying her passport,” Baxter-Neal said.

Soto was born in Los Angeles County Hospital in 1971 to her migrant parents from Mexico, according to the lawsuit. At the time of her birth, her last name was misspelled on her birth certificate as “Qarrillo,” not Carillo.

She used “Qarrillo” until she married and took her husband’s name, using “Qarrillo” on her Social Security card, driver’s license and other identification, her lawyer said.

“The misspelling of her name is like a quirk in the case but everything she submitted proves her identity,” Baxter-Neal said.

Her parents, who are now deceased, worked in agriculture in Los Angeles and took their daughter to Mexico to be raised by her grandparents when she was an infant. During her childhood, Soto returned to the U.S. about once a year between 8 and 17, crossing the border by presenting her birth certificate, according to the suit.

Soto returned to live in the U.S. in 1989 at 18, settling in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

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Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com

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