DALLAS — Imelda Flores has strong ties to Mexico, but through and through, she is proud to be Mexican American.

What You Need To Know

  • In 2000, the Department of Health and Human Services compiled an in-depth report on Birth Certificate Fraud

  • The report cites in 2000 there were over 14,000 different versions of birth certificates, which made it difficult to detect fraudulent documents

  • Imelda Flores was born in San Juan, Texas, as well as her father, sister and daughter

Her father, Apolonio Flores Jr., was born in San Juan, Texas in 1927. His father, Apolonio Flores Sr., was born in the late 1890s in Mexico, just 30 years after the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.

At 5 years old, Apolonio Sr. became a U.S. citizen. Imelda is third-generation born and raised in the U.S.

“We built Texas, we worked in the fields,” said Imelda.

With deep roots in the state and in the country, she was surprised when she was asked by the U.S. embassy to prove her birth and citizenship.

In 2016, Imelda married Cristino Lomas Ramirez and began the process to obtain her husband’s permanent residency. After years of awaiting their interview date, the couple was asked to present themselves at the U.S. consulate in Juarez in June 2022.

It is then that Imelda was presented with a letter from the U.S. consulate in Juarez, Mexico, from the Fraud Prevention Unit.

“I don’t understand why I have to prove that I’m a U.S. citizen when I was born and raised here and I feel that, why do I have to prove that I was born here?” Imelda told Spectrum News 1.

The 52-year-old had never had issues previously with her birth certificate. She showed us her expired passport and renewed passport as proof that she had never encountered issues.

According to a senior state department official, every applicant who applies for a U.S. passport undergoes an extensive vetting process of their identity, claim to U.S. citizenship and entitlement to a U.S. passport.

However, Haim Vasquez an immigration attorney in Dallas, said these requests from immigration officials and the U.S. State Department are not uncommon.

He does not represent Imelda, but provided his expertise.

“Immigration and the former INS and the Department of State have always investigated and compiled a list of potential midwives of fraud or doctors who have committed fraud in the past,” said Vasquez.

Doctor Jorge Trevino, who signed her birth certificate, is the reason officials flagged it.

Dr. Trevino, along with other physicians, opened the McAllen Maternity Clinic in McAllen. According to his wife, Dee Trevino, the clinic was a hospital with 10 beds.

“When my husband came to McAllen in the 1950s, hospitals were not accessible to Hispanic women,” Dee told Spectrum News 1.

Imelda recalls the clinic’s accessibility being one of the reasons her parents went to the clinic. In the late 1980s, the clinic closed, and Dr. Trevino continued to deliver children at McAllen Medical Center and the Rio Grande Regional Hospital.

“He was there for the community. He helped the community,” Imelda said, “he was part of the valley, and he was part of most of the families in South Texas.”

It is unclear how or when federal agencies began looking into birth certificates signed by Dr. Trevino.

Dee emphasized to Spectrum News 1 that while her husband was alive, he never was presented with any documentation alleging fraud by the government, nor was he ever convicted. He held his license and practiced until he was 90 years old.

“It really upsets me,” Dee said. “I don’t know how to deal with it at this point.”

Vasquez explains it is imperative for individuals who are questioned about their birth certificate to fulfill and submit the requested documents to avoid issues in the future, and possibly for others.

“Not doing it will be worst because it will be taken as accepting the grounds that immigration is making of fraud,” Vasquez said.

Imelda was able to submit the requested documents but now worries if her daughter may encounter similar issues when she applies for her passport.

Her husband’s case has also moved forward.

“This is a nightmare for any family. It was a nightmare for me, for my kids, for my husband and for the rest of my family that helped me with getting all the information that I needed,” said Imelda.


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