Man with Dual Citizenship has Passport Revoked
MCALLEN – A U.S. citizen with a revoked passport was placed into a detention facility. He's out now, but the government is still questioning his status.
The situation involves a man from McAllen. He has a Texas birth certificate; he has another from Mexico. His attorney tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS this dual registration practice is common along the border.
Aug. 7, 2017, it was just another trip to Mexico for Juan Carlos Garza and his 10-year-old son. Back home in the U.S, his wife, Yolanda Lopez, was waiting with their young daughter.
Garza and his son pulled up to the port of entry at Hidalgo. They were sent to secondary inspection. Something was wrong.
Garza recalled, "They showed me a paper from afar. 'Look, this is where it says they revoked your passport.'"
The U.S. Department of State said his passport was being revoked after finding Garza's birth certificate for Texas and two birth certificates in Mexico.
The letter dated Aug. 7, 2017, never reached Garza. He was detained and sent to the Port Isabel Detention Center. Cases like these are not uncommon for immigration attorney Jaime Diez.
"They are more common than we can imagine," Diez shared.
Diez filed a lawsuit and got Garza out. The problem with the passport was, perhaps, where Garza was born and who assisted with his birth.
"This case involves somebody that was born with a midwife, but I have other cases where people were born at a hospital," said Diez.
Garza's parents are from Mexico.
"My mom wanted me to be born here in the United States," explains Garza.
When it was time to return to Mexico, Garza's parents registered him there as being born in Mexico too. This way he could attend public school.
Diez says he's handled dozens of cases similar to Garza's. Their case is proceeding in court.
Diez stresses, "Fortunately, in this case, his parents are still alive.So, his mother will be able to testify as to where he was born and why he was born here."
Diez says the government will need to prove without a reasonable doubt that Garza was not born in the U.S. For now, life is on hold for the family.
Lopez said, "You feel suddenly frustrated when you think about the future."
She is requesting her permanent residence through Garza. That's on hold too.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to the Department of State. They tell us they can't comment due to the Privacy Act.
Meanwhile, Garza and Diez are waiting for a federal judge to rule on their behalf. They're asking the judge to declare him a citizen to avoid the ruling fall under an immigration judge.