Thursday, December 04, 2008

Eight-Year-Old Government Report Warned About Birth Certificate Fraud

An Inspector General's report for the Department of Health & Human Services warned in 2000 about the growing problem of birth certificate fraud. The IG undertook a study of the problem because of the growing problem of false identification and the use of birth certificates to unlawfully obtain government benefits. A key point the report makes is what a certified copy of a birth certificate provides proof of--only that a birth occurred and that it was recorded. Common misconceptions of what a birth certificate represents include the following:

  • a birth certificate insures the identity and citizenship of the person holding it;

  • birth certificates can be obtained only by the individual listed on the certificate or appropriate family members;

  • if a birth certificate contains a crimped seal, it is "real";

  • birth certificate information is always safeguarded when provided to user agencies or entities (e.g., sports managers); and

  • lamination improves the integrity of birth certificates.

Let's take those in order with respect to Obama's alleged certificate of live birth. Obviously, even if the certificate is a genuine certificate of live birth issued by the State of Hawaii, it is not proof that Obama is a citizen, let alone a natural born citizen. Believe it or not, at least 14 states allow open access to birth certificate records, including states like California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington, Wisconsin and neighboring Kentucky. Unfortunately, Hawaii, like Indiana and most states, does not allow open access to birth records. What about the seal on Obama's birth certificate? It was only detectable on a copy photographed by and not the scanned images displayed Fight The Smears and other pro-Obama sites. The other two points aren't relative to the discussion about Obama's birth certificate.

Perhaps the most important point the IG report makes is the difficulty in detecting a fraudulent birth certificate. "[T]echnological advances in the Internet, scanners, color printers, and copiers make it easier to obtain genuine birth certificates and create counterfeit ones," the report says. That's precisely the point Dr. Ron Polarik makes in his analysis of the Obama certificate of live birth claiming that it is a forged document. State practices create opportunities for fraud as well. One such practice is "delayed, amended, and midwife birth registrations that are based on affidavits of personal knowledge, include no documentary evidence, and are not often marked or overlaid accordingly." As has been pointed out, Hawaii law at the time of Obama's birth allowed parents to register a child's birth in Hawaii regardless of the place of birth if the parents represented that they had resided in the state for at least a year prior to the child's birth.

The reports notes there is little disincentive to commit birth certificate fraud. "Virtually all of the Federal and State agency staff we talked with indicate birth certificate fraud is seldom prosecuted unless it can be linked to large dollar losses or other punishable crimes," the report said. "Most staff also indicate that many prosecutors are reluctant, or refuse to take birth certificate fraud cases in which the only charge is attempting to obtain another individual’s birth certificate, or counterfeiting or altering a birth certificate." "At the same time, misconceptions exist surrounding the security and integrity of birth certificates."

The report makes a very important comment on the unreliability of birth certificates. "[G]enuine documents obtained with counterfeit birth certificates can be used to obtain genuine birth certificates." "Thus, it is inherently illogical to require someone to prove their identity using potentially fraudulent identity documents spawned by false birth certificates in order to obtain a birth certificate."

A final point was made about how easy many hospitals make it to learn about new births. On that, a new report on Free Republic today says an effort to learn at which hospital in Hawaii Obama was been born came up empty. Barry and his sister, Maya, can't agree on which hospital in Honolulu he was born. The report claims that more than a dozen hospitals were contacted, including the two identified by Obama and his sister, and they all said Obama was not born there. Whoops.


IndyPaul said...

The report critisizes states which have multiple agencies issuing birth certificates, and indicates that in Hawaii, only one central state agency can do so. So Hawaii is tops there. It also reports state that allow open access to birth records, as that makes perpetration of fraud easier. Hawaii do not allow such open access, so it scores points per the report there, as well.

The Free Republic article is helpful as it lays out the apparent Hawaii statutes allowing parents to register births, though it appears that these are current statutes, as opposeed to those that would have been in force in 1961. So far, it is pure conjecture that ANY of these provisions (or predecessor statutes) were invoked in Obama's case. For all anyone knows, a birth cerificate was completed by an attending provider, and the Certificate of Live Birth was derived from that document. It is nonetheless interesting to take a look at these statutes which it is claimed could have allowed Ann Dunham and Brack Obama, Sr. to register a foreign birth in Hawaii.

The provision allowing amended certificates to be filed allow them when the state already has a certificate of birth in Hawaii on file, or for a foreign birth. I don't think this is the provision that has been referenced, but IF an amended cert. was prepared: As Hawaii has confirmed that it has the original certificate on file, presumably the first portion would be that used. If the reason for an amended cert. was a foreign birth, it defies simple logic to believe that the state would then issue a cert. identifying Hawaii as the place of birth.

Each provision requires reference to either persons in attendence at the birth or records of the birth facility. While free republic claims that Hawaiian law "expressly acknowledges its system is subject to error", the statute allows courts or officials to determine the evidenciary value of late and altered certificates, and sets up a Court procedure by which the status of such disputed certificates can be determined. Late certs. are those filed later than a year following birth. There is no evidence that Obama's certificate was filed late. In fact, as his parents went to the trouble of publishing an announcement in the newspaper within a week, one would think that they would attend to the more important matter of a birth certificate within that time frame.

Free Republic also cites to s 338-14.3, which allows verification in lieu of a certified copy. This has already occurred. Hawaii verified the existence of the certificate. Subsection (b) provides: "A verification shall be considered for all purposes certification that the vital event did occur and that the facts of the event are as stated by the applicant." This stands to reason - it allows the State to verify facts without releasing the certificate itself, which, as set out in the above study, could promote fraud.

I'm glad you have acknowledged that Polarik's point is that the fact that technology makes it easier to produce a false certificate leads to the inescapable conclusion that Obama's certificate is indeed false. As pointed out previously, each of Polaik's claims have been debunked.

The bottom line is this is all pure conjecture. As will be even more clear next week when we learn that the Supreme Court denied the emergency petition in Berg's case, only a candidate's opponents have standing the raise the issue of that candidate's qualifications. I encourage all those who buy this ruse to contact their congressman, as the law does set out provisions for the Congress to entertain such disputes prior to counting the electoral votes. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

If it's worth saying once, it's worth saying again.

He won.

Throwing yourselves on the floor and kicking and screaming won't change it.

Call the psychiatrist and have him give you something stronger.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Pleasant thoughts.

Milk and cookies.

Night night!

Downtown Indy said...

Also worth saying again, is that there's an easily-answered question nagging The One's legitimacy. Yet He won't answer it directly, instead He deflects it.


This is not 'transparency.'

IndyPaul said...

The question is, and has been, easily answered by release and verification by the State of Hawaii, of Obama's Certification of Live Birth.

According to the Turley article cited in a more recent post on this site, Obama's original birth certificate has also been reviewed by a conservative group which accepted its authenticity.

No legitmate question remains unanswered.

Amyadoptee said...

I got a question for you. I do not know who you are. Who owns the birth certificate? The reason why I ask is because I am Indiana adoptee. I want access to my original birth certificate. If you were to read the constitution of Indiana and you even quote it at the top of your blog, the birth parents get this immunity and privilege. They are not allowed access to that document either. The General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.

You mention something else that I find interesting and Indiana has well known history of is falsifying its original birth certificates. In fact, I field a lot of questions concerning that issue. Birth dates and birth places have been changed for quite a long time in Indiana. I know that Indiana legislators recently changed that to make it illegal as of July 1, 2008.

See the bad thing is that the adoption history registry doesn't work with both sets of families do not know the truth. The adoptive parents are given one set of information and the birth parents are given or remember something else. If the information doesn't match, there is not reunion. Since agencies, mothers, and even attorneys have the past changed this information, how are these folks supposed to find each other?

You can email me with your answer
Amy Burt