Puerto Rican-born residents need new birth papers

March 8, 2010 8:41:33 PM PST
Officials say residents who were born in Puerto Rico will have to obtain a new certified copy of their birth certificate under a new law passed by the government of Puerto Rico.After 66 years, Leonicio Martinez is going to need a new birth certificate.

"I think it would be good, good for us to have something we could use against these crooks," said Martinez.

In fact, 1.3 million Puerto Ricans now living in the United States will have to apply for new paperwork proving they were born in Puerto Rico.

Their current certificates will expire on July 1, 2010.

For Norma Resto and many others it is a hassle they don't need.

"So this means I'm going to have to make a trip to the island and deal with it," said Resto.

Three months ago the Puerto Rican Legislature voted to invalidate all Puerto Rican birth certificates because of wide spread identity theft.

There's no doubt this new law will create a mountain of paperwork and create confusion for Puerto Ricans living abroad.

"They have to order them from the government of Puerto Rico, I think it's going to be a nightmare," said Angelo Falcon, of the National Institute for Latino Policy.

And at the end of the process there's no guarantee the new birth certificates will be any better protected against fraud.

Information is available at two Web sites: http://www.salud.gov.pr or www.prfaa.com/birthcertificates.