- REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
- A former immigration officer for the US Customs and Border Protection agency lost his job and now fears deportation after an ironic twist of fate – he found out he wasn’t actually a US citizen.
- Raul Rodriguez worked for the US government since 2000 processing deportations. But while trying to help his brother emigrate from Mexico, Rodriguez received a call from the Office of the Inspector General informing him they had discovered a Mexican birth certificate for him.
- KRGV News reports that Rodriguez, who has lived in the US for almost 50 years and served in five separate US Navy deployments, had never seen his real birth certificate before, and believed he had been born in the US.
- His father then revealed to Rodriguez during an OIG investigation that he had actually been born in Mexico, and Rodriguez lost his job.
- Rodriguez filed for residency with US Citizenship and Immigration Services but his application has been withheld from processing, and he says he is constantly looking over his shoulder.
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After nearly 20 years of working as an immigration officer for the US Customs and Border Protection agency, Raul Rodriguez knew a lot about deportation – he processed them. What he didn’t know was that he would soon fear deportation himself.
When Rodriguez – who has lived in the US for almost 50 years and served with the US Navy for five separate deployments – started the process of helping his brother emigrate from Mexico to the US, he began submitting his own citizenship paperwork along with his brother’s to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Then, he got a call from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG): they had found a birth certificate for Rodriguez that showed he was born in Mexico, KRGV News reports.
Rodriguez said had never seen the birth certificate before, but once the OIG began a criminal investigation into whether his brother’s immigration application had been falsified on Rodriguez’s part, his father admitted that he actually had been born in Mexico.
- US Customs and Border Patrol
The OIG cleared Rodriguez at the end of the investigation, since he had no idea he wasn’t actually a US citizen. But he was fired from his job, and says he and his family have struggled financially since. His wife also works processing immigration applications, and Rodriguez said he has had to refinance his home.
In addition, he said he looks over his shoulder during his day-to-day life, because his residency application was stalled. Rodriguez’s lawyer says USCIS is holding him to an outdated standard concerning the falsification of information (what Rodriguez believed to be his real US birth certificate) on his brother’s immigration application.
His lawyer believes that his application should not be held back because the USCIS policy states that the application must have been knowingly falsified, but it has been more than a year since Rodriguez filed for residency.
Rodriguez has since filed a motion for reconsideration, and plans to challenge the ruling in court if he is not successful. In the meantime, he is on the watch for Border Patrol agents – the same people he used to work with.
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