We need your help to stop the U.S. State Department’s  mis-guided attempt to invade the privacy of its citizens. The Department proposes to inquire about the circumcision status for those seeking to apply for a U.S. passport. The questioning is particularly aimed at recent immigrants who are now U.S. citizens.

This issue was recently reported in the Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/texas-mexico-border-news/texas-mexico-border/feds-mull-circumcision-inquiries-for-passports/

Such inquiries intrude into the personal privacy of U.S. Citizens who merely seek to apply for a passport.

The State Department’s inquiry into circumcision status will only serve to discriminate against immigrants who are typically intact. The State Department proposal follows a defeat in court in the case of Castelano v. Clinton, and seems targeted at the Latino community.

Such questioning may place pressure on immigrant families to circumcised their children in the belief that it may help conform to the State Departments expectations. Additionally, the form does not distinguish between male and female circumcision. Female circumcision has been made illegal by U.S. Title 18 Part I Chapter 7 Section 116 of September 30, 1996. Hence, the form may encourage also female circumcision, a violation of Federal law.

The veracity of circumcision status will be difficult to ascertain in the absence of a medical  examination. Medical researchers also have found that men recruited for medical studies have often incorrectly stated they were intact, when actually they were circumcised. Such innocent errors may subject the applicant to fines and imprisonment, according to the warning provisions on the form.

There is a 60 day comment period which expires on April 24, 2011. You can submit your comments online at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=DOS-2011-0055-0001

You can also send your comments in opposition to:

Alexys Garcia
U.S. Department of State
2100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.Room 3031
Washington, D.C. 20037

GarciaAA@state.gov
Fax: 202-736-9202

In Re: 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: DS-5513, Biographical Questionnaire for U.S. Passport, 1405-XXXX