Texas-born vet struggles proving citizenship to get a passport

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PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — One family in Pflugerville is hoping for the best as they wait for one of their passports to arrive. 

Daniel Jimenez says he’s having to jump through hoops to prove that he is a U.S. citizen even though he was born here in Texas, went to school here and has been working here for decades.

“We’ve submitted so many documents,” said his wife, Teresa Jimenez. “Every time we submit more documentation, they either don’t acknowledge receiving it or for some reason or another they say it’s throwing up a red flag.”

Daniel and Teresa Jimenez have a trip coming up in about six weeks. They plan on flying up to New York City, then taking a cruise to Canada.

“It’s been a while since we took an actual vacation,” Daniel said. “I couldn’t even tell you when that was.”

Back in June, Teresa submitted her application to renew her passport and Daniel submitted his to get a new passport.

“It’s supposed to take 4 to 6 weeks for routine processing,” Teresa said. Now, more than two months later, “I was checking the website every day to check on [the] status, and it just kept saying processing, processing,” she said.

The Jimenez family believes Daniel is one of many Americans of Hispanic descent dealing with this issue because they were born at home in a border state.

Daniel was born at home in Seguin, and there was a delay in filing his birth certificate.

They shared their frustrations online, and many people replied saying they’re facing similar problems. 

“I’ve always seen myself as a U.S. citizen. Never thought anything of it,” Daniel said. “Grew up. You know — you get a social security card. I went to the military. Jobs. Paid taxes like everybody else. 
I had no question as to what I was as far as an American.”

So far, they’ve submitted Daniel’s baptism certificate, elementary school records, a birth affidavit, his father’s work records, his sister’s birth certificate and his Army records, and the list goes on. 

They say it’s getting a little more nerve-wracking as they get closer to the trip.

They worry, though, other families who have to travel to visit family members or for emergencies are in the same boat and getting their passport applications denied. 

“It’s almost like you’re a prisoner in your own country,” Daniel said. 

“I mean, my husband has been here all his life. He’s a third-generation Mexican-American,” Teresa said. “[I’m] just shocked to be caught up in this.”

The family says Congressman Bill Flores’ office is now helping them.

Senator Ted Cruz sent a statement: 

“It is important to ensure that the rights of all U.S. citizens are respected and protected, while also preventing fraud by people who are not in our country legally. That balance must be maintained, and I work every day to make sure it is. This story just broke and I will continue to monitor the situation as new information emerges. If U.S. citizens are being denied their passports, that needs to stop. But if someone is not a U.S. citizen, then their passport request should be denied. It’s as simple as that, which is why this practice of ensuring that citizenship is valid was also in place during the Obama and Bush administrations.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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