Most individuals reading this post probably think they are aware of their immigration status. You may want to think twice about this however. A 58-year-old Florida man, who was born in Cuba and came to the United States as a 9-year-old child, recently learned that he is not a U.S. citizen, or even a resident. This discovery was made when the man sought a passport to take a Caribbean vacation.
In the nearly 50 years the man has lived in the country he has lived his life the way that may citizens of the U.S. do. He served in the Army and worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Prisons. After taking what he thought was an oath of citizenship while in the Army, he has voted in many elections.
The man need not be facing this situation. When he entered the country as a Cuban refuge he was provided a parole document. In addition to allowing the recipient of such a document to stay in the U.S. as long as he or she wants to, it also provides an unrestricted Social Security number and a path to citizenship. After the passage of 12 months someone from Cuba who is granted parole can establish residency. Five years after that, with the filing of paperwork, someone can become a citizen. The man’s parents never took care of the necessary paperwork.
Since learning of his status the man has sought the assistance of an immigration lawyer to rectify the situation he unknowingly got into. Despite his attorney’s contention that as a result of serving in the Army during a period of time that was a “period of hostility,” he should be granted citizenship, his request was denied earlier this year. Following that decision the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services indicated that it wanted additional information and would keep the case open.
By all accounts this man has led an exemplary life and sets a good example for how a U.S. citizen should live. Contacting an immigration attorney for assistance as he did is the best course of action to have the matter resolved. Hopefully it will be taken care of soon.
Source: The New York Times, “After Forming Deep Roots in U.S., Man Discovers He Isn’t a Citizen,” Lizette Alvarez, May 12, 2014