A 58-year-old Florida man who served in the army during the Vietnam War recently discovered that he is not a U.S. citizen after he tried to apply for a passport. According to authorities, there was no record of him as a citizen or permanent resident. Immigration officials are currently reviewing the man’s case and plan to meet with him on May 20.
The man was born in Cuba and came to the United States with his mother as a child after she filed immigration papers. When he arrived in 1965, he was issued a social security number. Assuming he was a citizen, he joined the army, voted in elections and later worked for the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons. During that time, he was reportedly never asked to provide proof of his citizenship.
Although the man says he took oaths to become a soldier and a citizen when he entered the military, he discovered he did not have U.S. citizenship after he applied for a passport in 2013. According to the man’s attorney, despite his years of service in the military, the authorities may have an interest in charging him with voter fraud because he voted multiple times without holding citizenship. She believes that he should be rewarded for his service to the country instead.
If an immigrant is charged with and convicted of a crime, it can put their attempts to gain citizenship or permanent residency in jeopardy. A lawyer knowledgeable about immigration law may be able to assist them with their case. Additionally, an immigration lawyer may be able to guide and advise individuals through the citizenship process.
Source: The Tampa Tribune, “Immigration officials review Fla. man’s mistaken citizenship”, May 15, 2014