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American citizen detained for nearly 2 years because of typo

For anyone in Reading who has dealt with bureaucratic mistakes, there is nothing so frustrating as trying to correct simple errors with government agencies. The amount of red tape to just fix something can mean delays and cause problems, but for a 49-year-old man, it meant nearly two years of detention.

Since 1978, Mexican law regarding legitimizing children born out of wedlock cited Article 314 of the Mexican Constitution. Unfortunately, Article 314 doesn't exist, meaning there has been no real law that provides a way for fathers to claim their children unless they were married to the children's mothers. What this means for children born in Mexico to American fathers, however, is that they have not been recognized as American citizens by birth.

For a 49-year-old laborer, this small typo has cost him countless hours away from his family. He was held for almost two years by immigration authorities while he tried to prove that he was an American citizen. Moreover, he was deported four times in the past 20 years. All of this because government lawyers argued he was not claimed by his American father under Mexican law, and, thus, was not an American citizen.

In his most recent appeal, however, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with him. The court held that he has been an American citizen since birth and criticized government lawyers for failing to notice that the law they were citing didn't even exist.

Now that he has been declared a citizen, the laborer will finally be able to enjoy the benefits of being a citizen, including being free from worry that he will be detained and deported.

Source: The Associated Press, “Victim of Immigration Bureaucracy, U.S. Man Deported Four Times and Detained,” Sept. 24, 2013

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Law Office of Troy J. Mattes, P.C.
132 East Chestnut Street
Lancaster, PA 17602

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