The military and their families may make the ultimate sacrifice while serving. So it comes as a surprise when Mark Esqueda, a marine who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2007-2011, twice had his request for a passport denied. This is despite having a high-level military clearance that is difficult to attain and requires a background check.
Passport application rejected despite all required papers
Living in Minnesota but born in Hidalgo on the southern border of Texas, he recently filed a suit against the U.S. State Department and names Secretary of State Michael Pompeo because it is asking for information beyond what is required to receive a passport. The suit argues that Esqueda is a U.S. citizen and thus enjoys the right to travel freely. It also argues that it puts his other rights as a citizen in jeopardy, such as legal employment, social security and other benefits.
According to several news reports, Esqueda was delivered by a midwife in 1988, and there was a police officer there to witness the birth. According to the complaint, the State Department alleged in 2012 that a copy of the birth certificate was not enough because the midwife was an unreliable source for proof of citizenship. He tried again in 2017 with five affidavits from friends and family in Hidalgo, but the State Department denied the application again. The marine is now asking a judge to declare him a citizen once and for all and thereby enjoys the rights of a citizen.
Disputes by current and former government employees are common
This case is yet another example of the complex nature of legal disputes involving current and former servicemen and women and federal law. In matters such as this, it is usually most helpful to work with an attorney who understands the legal and military issues unique to these matters.