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Immigration Apologizes To Army Veteran, Not Considered U.S. Citizen

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American Flag (Source: Darrell Ingham /Allsport)

American Flag (Source: Darrell Ingham /Allsport)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) —Immigration officials apologized to a U.S. Army veteran who discovered he was not a U.S. citizen.

A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman said Wednesday, May 21st the agency made a mistake and should have granted 58-year-old Mario Hernandez citizenship because of his Vietnam-era military service.

On the same day, Hernandez was granted U.S. citizenship just after 1:00 p.m.

Hernandez had also worked for the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Prisons using a Social Security number he received when he arrived in the country as a child.

He thought he was a U.S. citizen and repeatedly voted. It was only last fall when the Tallahassee resident sought a passport to take a cruise with his wife that he discovered the authorities did not list him as a citizen or a permanent resident. Suddenly, he was under federal investigation.

Hernandez said his first priority as a U.S. citizen will be to renew his voter registration, which he will do on Thursday since he lost that privilege when he was denied citizenship months ago.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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