On May 2, 2013, we received a response from the Department of State (“DOS”) on whether our client, Blanca Maria Alfaro, is entitled to a U.S. passport.
The Department of State’s response clearly shows that the question of whether one is a U.S. citizen is determined in an arbitrary and capricious manner.
Mrs. Alfaro submitted a valid Texas Birth Certificate. She submitted vaccination records from her time in the United States up until the age of 5. She submitted the plane ticket she used to fly to El Salvador with her father in 1984. She also submitted proof that her mother is a U.S. citizen and that she currently lives in Texas. She also submitted a detailed sworn statement explaining the circumstances of her purported sworn statement in 1998, when she was deported by Customs and Border Protection.
There is also the fact that she was issued a valid U.S. passport two times and the fact that Immigration and Customs Enforcement found “probative evidence” that she was a U.S. citizen.
Despite the voluminous documentary evidence that Blanca Maria Alfaro submitted to the Department of State, the latter completely ignored almost every piece of evidence probative of her U.S. citizenship.
The Department of State did acknowledge that Mrs. Alfaro had a valid Texas Birth Certificate. However, the DOS discarded this fact as if it were irrelevant. In other words, the DOS had a predetermined conclusion and cherry picked the evidence needed to make a negative determination.
Additionally, the Department of State did not inquire into the veracity of what Mrs. Alfaro claimed was a statement she made under duress from Customs and Border Protection officers.
Despite there clearly being a preponderance of evidence that Mrs. Alfaro was born in the United States and is therefore a U.S. citizen, the Deparment of State made a contrary determination.
Here is the pertinent excerpt from the determination:
The Department has determined that the totality of the evidence supports a finding that you are not a U.S. citizen or national. Therefore you are not entitled to a U.S. passport. The Department’s finding is based on the fact that one or more passports were issued to you based on representations made in your passport applications that you were born in the United States. However, new information obtained by the Department shows that you were born in El Salvador. Although your birth was timely registered in Texas, it was also registered in El Salvador. Additionally, you made a sworn statement in your native language (Spanish) that you were born in El Salvador and that your true name is Maria Mabell Alfaro.