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Come July 1, 50,000 Illinois residents will cease to exist.
Okay, not exactly. Thousands of people won't just disappear, but they won't have proof of their birth due to a new law passed by the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Last December the island nation enacted a law that will invalidate all previously issued Puerto Rican birth certificates. Ay Caramba!
Of the 4.1 million people of Puerto Rican descent living in the 50 states, more than a third of them will have to get new birth certificates.
This includes at least 50,000 people in Illinois, according to state officials.
The new law was passed in an effort to stop identity theft.
When Puerto Ricans enroll children in school or join sports leagues, they are often asked to produce a birth certificate, which is then kept on file, the commonwealth's secretary of state Kenneth McClintock-Hernandez told the AP.
As a result, Puerto Ricans get nearly 2 dozen copies of their birth certificate over their lifetimes, said McClintock.
Last March, police busted a major criminal operation that had stolen thousands of birth certificates from several different institutions. Because Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens at birth, anyone could use a stolen Puerto Rican birth certificate to enter and move about the U.S. without difficulty.
Puerto Rican legislators decided something drastic needed to be done. They decided to wipe the slate clean.
All previously issued Puerto Rican birth certificates will be void as of July 1. No matter if you are age 5 or 95, if you were born in Puerto Rico, you're going to need a new birth certificate.
Si usted nació en Puerto Rico, entonces va a necesitar una nueva partida de nacimiento.
While the law does create an inconvenience, we're glad to hear thousands of people won't vanish. They are integral to Chicago's proud history of multiculturalism.