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Citizenship Denied

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Atlanta, GA"I'm amazed at the lack of willingness on the part of immigration officers to help people," says Julio Trejo," I didn't think that one question answered incorrectly could deny my citizenship."

"I'm a college graduate so I think I have enough smarts to understand the bureaucracy but I was na�ve enough to believe that the government is on your side. I thought the process from permanent resident to U.S. citizen would be seamless: I studied the book and the steps are simple; it says that if you have been a lawful resident for five years or more and have never been convicted of any crime, if you meet the basic requirements, you qualify. No problem. I filled out the necessary forms, got fingerprinted and interviewed -- it was San Antonio, Texas, 2004.

After the interview, the immigration officer said everything was fine. He handed me a form that said 'Congratulations, you have everything required to be a U.S. citizen and you will be called to attend the swearing-in ceremony shortly' --or words to that effect. Not long after the interview I was promoted and transferred to a job in Atlanta - I am a dietician at a senior's retirement residence. I notified Homeland Security right away of my change of address, as required by law.

I assumed that I would go to the citizenship ceremony in Atlanta. After two months I got another letter for yet another interview and it said I could have an attorney present. I had no idea what it was about and of course didn't need an attorney to come with me - why would I need one? I hadn't done anything wrong. So I went to the interview and asked the immigration officer why I was having this second interview and not saying the Oath of Allegiance instead. 'Sometimes we let another officer go through the application, it usually has to be checked by two officers,' she explained. Apparently everything was in order, but then she said, 'What happened in 1998?'

Nothing happened. My mind was racing - I automatically thought there was some criminal charge, something I had done wrong. I had done absolutely nothing wrong so when she asked if I was willing to put that in writing, I said sure. I didn't think anything of it but later found out that, because I signed that affidavit, my citizenship was denied.

This is why I was denied my citizenship. When I went through the legal resident process, I signed a form that disclosed how I entered the U.S. I arrived here on my student visa from Mexico in 1990-91. I overstayed my visa for about one year but got my residency status in 1992 through the amnesty program. But I forgot all about it, and she thought I was lying.

In other words, I was denied citizenship because of a form I signed 17 years ago that I don't remember signing. At that time I barely spoke English. The process was through the Catholic Social Services and I didn't understand the questions. Now, this immigration officer didn't elaborate on the question- she only asked me 'what happened'. She could have been more helpful, she could have asked me if I wanted a lawyer before signing. She could have given me a clue. But instead, she set me up to be denied..

After I was denied, I did some research and found out that the officer could have handled this situation a lot differently. I had the right to correct any derogatory information.

The next step I have to do is fill out a form N336 - a denied citizenship appeal. This means that you are allowed to have another interview with another officer - not the one who denied your application. And that officer will look at the facts and can overturn the decision, ask for more information or grant your appeal. According to the law (which I have been reading a lot!) you pay $268 for an appeal and then Homeland Security cannot exceed 180 days from the date when the appeal is sent until the time you are assigned the interview.

That was in 2005. I have now waited 365 days to answer one question. I have had to go through this process for two years, all because I didn't understand, or the immigration officer didn't elaborate on, one question.

I understand why people are denied citizenship, mainly for a felony or drugs. But my record is clean. I continue to be a legal resident and I am still waiting for my appeal. Ironically, this question isn't about citizenship. If they had asked this question when I applied for legal residency, I would have been denied that. So now I feel that they are backtracking.

Now I have a lawyer. I filed the appeal myself but I am not going to walk into the next interview by myself, no matter how much I have studied the law. I can imagine this happens to thousands of people. After five years, you should be eligible to become a citizen. I have now been a permanent resident of this country for 15 years. I have paid taxes, I have always abided by the law.

If the appeal process doesn't work, I can re-apply again. But this creates a lot of hardship. My daughter lives in Mexico and I can't legally bring her into the U.S until I get my citizenship. I want to have a life in America. I have been offered a transfer and promotion to Texas but will it take another two years to file if I move? Basically, my life is on hold, for one question on a form I signed 17 years ago when I was just 16 years old.

I can understand and agree that many people should be denied citizenship for a host of reasons, but just because this one officer in Atlanta was not in a good mood that day shouldn't mean that it was going to be a bad day for me.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
I am US citizen by birth but I will never treat another human being the way you guys doing. People that come here work a decent job,pay taxes,support their family, no problems with the law,pay their own healthcare insurance. For GOD sake hel them not trash them. Lots of anglo criminal have been supported with our taxes and even get food stamps . MAKE AMERICA GREAT PLEASE.

Posted by

on
Question, When I entered the Us again, they stopped me and sent me to the interrogation room... What do they see on the computer screen when they call your name?
Can they see if you came before, or have any criminal records? or they just dont have access to your past information?
Thanks!

Posted by

on
Today 12/14/2015 - I passed all the exam. I spent in USA more than 5 years collecting not at once but collecting in general. After the long interview "she said: your rejected. We know your butt on the plane and all your moves". When I filled hours outside U.S. it was 530H. She said it's 1024 / I really not sure if I got rejected bcoz she though I am lying but I really didn't "Btw she had my both old and new passports" so no I wouldn't lie. Well she told me i got rejected bcoz I didn't spend much time in USA and I need to stay longer here. The truth I spent more than 5 years collecting since 2015 but of course they don't care. I did lot of voluntary jobs here in Austin, TX. Helped lot of people more than 200+ again voluntary "FREE" with love. Of course they care more about the time not what you did to the community. They care more how much you have in your bank than who you really are. Sadly after reading the story above I felt somehow better bcoz I decided to give up now on my citizenship. I've been here fighting so hard to survive and bcoz I am Arabic no one want to hire me. I've lost my last job as my manager didn't like me which after distory my life. I applied to almost every company around they even don't call me they just send me we decided to move forward and goodluck. 2 years I lived here without medical insurance bcoz I couldn't offer it without job. 2 years lived helping people and after all get rejected for not a real reason. again I did spent more than 5 years collecting in U.S. / Can't wait to move back to my country Jordan, Amman and start a new life and I will never come back again. Enough. If this country can't offer me a job which is #1 what I will do to survive! Feel sad after all that and hard work I gave I get rejected. Btw the lady was very rude on the interview I felt like I am criminal even so I worked for 3 years with kids and have amazing history and 5+ experience in work field yet can't find a job. Please god take me away from this country far far away asp.

Posted by

on
My Turkish wife and step sons green cards were denied. This completely blew my mind as they are intelligent and hard working people who wanted to contribute alot to american society. The reason given was a very minor paperwork issue that could have been easily forgiven by USCIS. I dont wont to think negative but with all the negative talk of muslims it makes you wonder. Are they a real big problem for americans? If we want to continue to be a great country we need to figure that religion is not the issue but who are the best of brightest from whatever country.

Posted by

on
USCIS people don't know what they are doing. They allow terrorists to immigrate, but keep my happy family out. Sure, I married a Pole 12 years ago, and we had some kids who are now in high school here in the good ol' USA. But... now they don't want my wife, their mother, to stay with her family. Go anywhere, just don't stay here. After two thousand dollars for their fees.

Posted by

on
Hello I have a question my green card was denied due to the fault of my lawyer who failed to renew visas at the time, now she wants nothing to do with my case. Please give me info on what to do next.

Posted by

on
Just wondering if one can sue the US Govt.( IRS ) on taxes paid for nearly 20 years based on their denial to re-enter the US and for revoking your US Residency for overstaying in your native country a little more than the time limit ?

Valid point to consider is having a 11 year old daughter borned and raised in the US, who has always lived in the US, and not being able to see her and share with her.

By the way, my main interest is returning to the US and stick by my daughter´s side, and not the possibility of claiming monies pertaining to my past grueling efforts.

As we all know, providing money is not the only solution to the well being of a child....sharing and loving them it´s perhaps the most important influence in a child´s life.

However, considering there is unwillingness of INS to provide a solution, would it be possible to assigned all monies resulting from a favorable lawsuit outcome to the benefit of my daughter ?

Posted by

on
I payed 680 did everything, two interviews. Officer said should we do theswearing in now no. I money was never returned after I requested

Posted by

on
You need to get a litigator rather than a paper pusher lawyer. Engage a litigator and they usually have contacts with your local US attorneys and/or Naturalization section cheifs who can informally enquire about the status of your appeal. They can help push the appeal thru...and only when it is unsuccessful then you can sue in a federal court.

You are right in the sense that they are backtracking. My advice is that you get yourself a litigator as soon as possible.

Posted by

on
Those stupid laws are all made by WHITE Congress men which are the majority ALL descendants of ILLEGAL immigrants. Those jerks making and enforcing the laws are hyppocrites to the immigration reform.

Posted by

on
Hello all you bunch of loosers, the guy is trying to get a suggestion of what to do, not for you to decide or comment in bad about his life you get off the computer and find something useful to do. I bet you guys are a bunch of rednecks. Can you guys give a positive output. Actually that's why U.S.A. is in a rough century, get some schooling.

Posted by

on
Hello, what part of ILLEGAL are these people having trouble with?

Like, oh sure, I broke the law and over stayed my visa buy A WHOLE YEAR, but I am a law biding person. Duh! Not!

If you were smart enough to get an education to become a dietician, then you were probably smart enough to come here properly and legally and be able to read a calendar. Who paid for your education anyway? And have you been getting free medical care while here? Have you been paying income tax?

And you mention a daugther in Mexico; where is the other parent? Let's see, if all you have is a daughter in Mexico, then either you are unmarried (morally illegal) with a child, or you have failed to mention your spouse, or you came here WITH your spouse and you both overstayed your visas. Or your spouse is dead, and who would leave a child alone in the old country after that happened?

Either way, why are you complaining about the way this country does thing? YOU chose to come here. If you don't like our laws, then go home. At the moment you are a 'guest' here. Be more respectful or you could end up permanently denied.

Get off the computer and go see your daughter!

Posted by

on
Anthony, You are a [expletive removed] Jerk, and should be ashamed of yourself.....Who the [expletive removed] are you to judge someone who is a law-abiding person, who causes no harm to any one, and who also works and pay taxes in this country that we live in.... How would you feel if the shoe were on the other foot, and you were trying to make a living in another country because your country had no economy, and that country wasn't willing to grant you citizenship due to someone's greed for money....you would feel the exact same way.

You should just go and jump off a freaking bridge right now..... But, do remember this....this country is on the brink of becoming a country with no economy and you will have to probably wear those shoes, and I hope someone treat you with the same attitude as you treated this guy because what comes around goes around buddy!!!!!!!!

Posted by

on
This country is all f#@ked. Immigration now is another way for the country to milk every poor person coming to this country. Reasons like that is why our blessings are dissapearing everyday. My friend applied for citizenship and after two months theys send him a paper saying that we lost your papers and that you need to send another 650 dollars so we can file you another application, and when he called the immigration office they told him that it was their fault, all they said was that they didn't care about who's fault it is and that if he wants to become a citizen he has to pay another 650 dollars, so that shows the the immigration is trying to milk every person, and for the person above me Mr. Anthony, like the person in the article said, this thing happened 17 years ago, and he didn't even speak english at the moment. This might be really hard for you to understand as a person that is born in the United States, and probably only speaks english. Another thing to remember Mr. Anthony you said to the person above that he ended up over staying his VISA like it was a big crime, let me include that no person in this world is perfect, i guarantee that yourself done many stuff in your lifetime that wasn't of good moral character. So before you say something always think, that is why GOD gave you a brain, that's if you have one, but so far i'm not convinced that you have one. May God be in your life, cuz it seems like you really need it. God bless you and God bless America.

Posted by

on
Mr. Anthony (previous poster) so do you remember everything you did in your life 17 years ago???...I hope you have a slave or a smartphone (oh wait, they didn't exist 17 years ago!!!) to remind you every detail in your life. Although he overstayed, ALL THAT is settle during your permanent residence NOT your citizenship. As he pointed out, he would understand if it came a situation during his permanent residence application. You don't give any good solution or in any case demostrate knowledge of the law. He still can stay and live here if he likes, anyway he is waiting for his appeal.

Posted by

on
You're a [expletive deleted] for not remembering the document you signed 17 years ago. You enter the country, you overstayed your visa (ILLEGAL) then you have the nerve to stay here as an asylee. People like you should never get citizenship. I am glad it was denied, you deserved it.

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