Puerto Rico to Invalidate Birth Certificates

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ORLANDO, Fla. - A new law that cancels the validity of birth certificates will take effect in Puerto Rico on July 1, El Sentinel reports.

Beginning July 1, all birth certificates acquired on the island will be invalidated. The measure is part of a plan by Puerto Rican government officials to fight identity theft and immigration fraud.

Often these documents are sold on the black market for as much as $10,000 each to illegal immigrants and drugs traffickers who want to enter the United States.

The new law forces 1.4 million Americans born in Puerto Rico and 3.3 million Puerto Ricans who live on the island to request new birth certificates.

The new law has provoked concern among those who will be affected.

"The people are worried, especially if they have to travel, or in some states where they have to present the birth certificate to obtain a driver's license," said Emilio Pérez, president of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida.

"Beginning in July, it is not possible to use the old [birth] certificate, but they do not send the new one for up to several weeks later, and during this waiting period there is a gap […] as if one is illegal," said Pérez.