Mark Esqueda, Marine Veteran Sues US After Passport Denied…Twice
Mark Esqueda, 30, was born in Hidalgo, Texas. He has his birth certificate, and present at his birth were a midwife and a police officer. But both times he tried to apply for a passport were denied, as the government wanted more and more information. Esqueda finally filed a lawsuit- both times he applied were during the Obama administration.
“To have them question my citizenship is an insult. I was born here, raised here and served my country here.” Mark Esqueda
According to the complaint, Esqueda was born in Hidalgo, Texas, in 1988 and a midwife and police officer were present during his birth. He spent most of his childhood in Minnesota, served in the Marines from 2007 to 2011 and later served in the National Guard. While in the Marines, he served in Iraq and Afghanistan and held a military clearance level of “secret,” which the lawsuit says is given only to U.S. citizens and required a thorough background check.
Esqueda applied for a passport in 2012 and included a copy of his birth certificate. The State Department requested additional information, but Esqueda did not have it and his application was denied, the lawsuit says.
He spent the next several years gathering more documentation and applied for a passport again in 2015. This time, he also provided a signed report from the police officer who was at his birth, documentation about his military security clearance and information about government benefits his family received when he was a child.
Ultimately, his application was denied again in January 2017. Now he has sued the government, and named Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the complaint. He seeks to have a Federal judge declare him a citizen so that he can have the same rights as other citizens.
The requirements to obtain a US passport are (according to the government’s website)
- Form DS-11.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship (such as a birth or naturalization certificate)
- Government-issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license or military ID)
- Color passport photo.
- Fee payment (check or money order)
It is unclear why the State Department would constantly deny his application, and why they continued to ask for more and more information over and above what is legally required. The ACLU has sued the State Department on his behalf, so we’ll see how that goes.