Racial Justice

Puerto Rican Birth Certificates


After declaring their birth certificates issued prior to 2010 invalid, Puerto Rico is facing a backlog of requests for new birth certificates. Without the documents, many Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, are unable to obtain a state I.D., which can be necessary for securing employment, voting, or accessing social services.

In January 2010, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico decided to begin issuing new, more secure birth certificates, and by September of that year, they no longer recognized certificates issued before 2010. However, the Ohio BMV refused to recognize Puerto Rican birth certificates from April 2010, well before many Puerto Ricans had their new documents. The ACLU of Ohio called on the Ohio BMV to end this discriminatory policy.