Passport workshop this week

The deadline nears for Valley residents born to parteras or midwives to join a class action lawsuit that allows them to get a passport free of charge.

"It's very important that people who are denied a passport based on a birth certificate that was attended by a midwife that they register as a member of the class before June 2010," Celestino Gallegos with the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid told Action 4 News.

The exact deadline to register as a member for the lawsuit is June 1.

As part of the settlement reached, the State Department will be hosting a series of workshops this month to help people register.

The workshops will be held throughout Texas from May 18-23.

Three of those locations will be here in the Valley.

Those locations are the Pecan Campus of South Texas College in McAllen, the ITECC Campus in Brownsville and Palmview Public Library also in McAllen.

The latter will be held only from May 22-23.

Gallegos said people wanting to register should take several documents in addition to their birth certificate, such as baptismal certificates, parent's social security earnings or census records.

"That's what's really important, that's what the state department is looking for, he said. They're looking for things that put you and your parents in the United States around the time you were born."

The settlement applies only to people who applied for passports between August of 2003 and August of 2009.Applicants must register online at the State Department TMs website.