As if the country’s monstrous immigration crisis weren’t dire enough, an increasing number of illegal aliens are using fake Puerto Rican birth certificates to obtain authentic U.S. passports and driver’s licenses.
Located about 1,000 miles southeast of Florida, Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory about two decades after the Caribbean island was acquired from Spain at the end of the Spanish-American war. Puerto Ricans are American citizens at birth though they don’t have the right to vote in federal elections and the island has only one non-voting representative in Congress.
In recent years a record number of Puerto Ricans have left their troubled island for the U.S. and a big chunk has settled on Florida. A few months ago a study found that the island’s ongoing economic recession has led to a mass exodus not seen in more than five decades. In 2014 alone 84,000 people left Puerto Rico for the U.S. mainland, the study found. One recent news report referred to the Puerto Rican crisis as an economic exodus that could push two-thirds of its population to live in the U.S. The island has an eye-popping $73 billion debt, a collapsing healthcare system and nearly half of its population living in poverty.
It’s fair to say that for years Uncle Sam has welcomed Puerto Ricans with open arms and that has created lots of opportunities for fraud. There has been a rise in the number of cases involving the use of false Puerto Rican birth certificates by illegal immigrants, according to a south Florida newspaper report that focuses on the specifics of a recent case. It involves an illegal alien from Colombia arrested in Florida after trying to get a U.S. passport by claiming to be an American citizen born in Puerto Rico. The 35-year-old man, Edinson Canaveral Sánchez, used a fake Puerto Rican birth certificate to get a valid Florida driver’s license more than three years ago.
The newspaper article points out that this case is the latest in a series involving the use of fake Puerto Rican birth certificates by illegal immigrants in south Florida. In the last year alone more than 12 cases have surfaced in Miami federal court, the story reveals. The defendants, all Spanish-speaking illegal aliens, have all illegally obtained Puerto Rican birth certificates to get American passports or driver’s licenses. Sánchez has been criminally charged and is scheduled to be tried this month in a Broward County federal court.
It turns out that fraud involving Puerto Rican birth certificates has been pervasive for many years, yet the U.S. government and its various agencies accept the documents blindly. The problem got so out of control that back in 2010 Puerto Rico’s government invalidated every birth certificate and issued new ones considered to be safer. One mainstream news report called it a “radical solution to what many say has been a serious and growing crisis involving Puerto Rican birth certificates, which are used to apply for everything from U.S. passports to Medicaid.”
The same report, published in April, 2010, revealed that the U.S. State Department was well aware of the problem. In fact, the agency estimated back then that a mind-boggling 40% of all U.S. passport fraud cases involved Puerto Rican birth certificates. Four years later, a separate news report confirmed that little had changed, that the fraud is still rampant. Here’s an excerpt of the story published in the summer of 2014 by a Florida-based nonprofit investigative journalism outlet: “Counterfeit, altered or stolen birth certificates coming from Puerto Rico are the Holy Grail to Florida’s undocumented. With a phony birth certificate you can live the American dream. You can also enroll in school, land a job and get a driver’s license.”