Immigration authorities are investigating the case of a Cuban native and veteran of the US army who discovered recently that he does not have US citizenship, despite the fact that he has been living in America for over 50 years, worked for the federal government, and served in the US army in Vietnam.
58-year-old Mario Hernandez has always used a social security number that he was given when he came to the United States as a child from Cuba. The Tallahassee resident had no idea that he did not hold citizenship and only found out the shocking truth when he tried to get a passport in order to take his wife on a cruise after retiring from his 22-year job in the Federal Bureau of Prisons ‒ employment that requires frequent background checks and US citizenship.
Instead of getting a well-earned holiday, which would have been his first since coming to the United States half a century ago, Hernandez found himself in limbo and being investigated by the government. “I feel like my heart’s been ripped out of my chest,” he admitted to CBS.
Christopher Bentley, a spokesman for US Citizenship and Immigration Services, says that Hernandez’s case is being reviewed; however, Hernandez’s attorney, Elizabeth Ricci, claims that the agency is “gravely embarrassed” by its inefficient bureaucracy and is “trying to shift the burden on him to make him look like a criminal”.