An 18-year veteran of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection was fired after investigators discovered that his U.S. birth certificate was fake and that he had actually been born in Mexico, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Raul Rodriguez is a 51-year-old former customs agent and Navy veteran in the Rio Grande Valley who claims he did not know he had been born in Matamoros, Mexico. He said he has lived in the U.S. as long as he could remember.
Investigators confronted Rodriguez in April 2018 with a Mexican birth certificate. Rodriguez helped them contact and interview his father, who reluctantly confirmed that the Mexican document was valid. Rodriguez was not a U.S. citizen. The father said Rodriguez was 5 when he was sent to live with family in the Rio Grande Valley.
Rodriguez lost his job and the benefits that came with it. His oldest son, who was also born in Matamoros and gained citizenship in 1994 because of his father, will also have to apply for citizenship or legal residency.
CBP allowed Rodriguez a three-year grace period to apply for citizenship and potentially get his job back. But his citizenship application was denied last June because he has the marks on his record of having falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen and having voted illegally.
Even his legal residency application was recently denied last month, leaving Rodriguez facing the real possibility of being deported. His wife is an immigration officer for the Department of Homeland Security.
Rodriguez's situation is an example of a common practice in south Texas in which midwives or other birth attendants are willing to fraudulently register births in the U.S. for the right price even if the babies were born in Mexico.
Rodriguez was flagged after submitting his birth certificate as part of the process to help his brother apply for a passport.
Rodriguez and his wife, Anita, are disappointed that even though it was determined that Rodriguez did nothing wrong in this situation they have not received the support they expected from CBP.
"Anything happened, we knew we'd have the 'blue wave' to back us up," Anita Rodriguez told the LA TImes. "Now when we see them, they act like they don't know us. Nothing's changed. He's still the same person. But they're treating him like a pariah."
Rodriguez has appealed to have his residency case reopened.