US Citizen Renewing Passport Told To Turn In Green Card

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DALLAS (CBS11) – Tony Airitam is and always has been a U.S. citizen.

“Born in Brooklyn, New York. In a hospital. It’s all documented,” he said.

When he renewed his passport this year, though, it arrived with a letter.

“Please return your invalid permanent resident card,” it read. “Your timely submission of these documents will provide USCIS with the information necessary to update its systems to reflect your current citizenship status.”

Airitam first had to figure out what a permanent resident card was.

“Once I did, I was not only surprised but very concerned,” he said.

More commonly known as a “green card,” it’s not a document Airitam has ever had or ever needed.

“Because I was born here in the United States,” he explained.

Both his original and newly issued passport list his birthplace as New York.

So, he called the number provided in the letter.

“They were confused in terms of how that happened, but they didn’t have any answers for me,” he said.

Airitam said he was told to visit his nearest U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office.

The next available appointment he discovered, is in March.

Even then, a department spokesperson told CBS11 there’s nothing it can do.

Since Airitam never immigrated to this country, the office wouldn’t have any record of him.

“I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and that’s why I went ahead and made that appointment,” he said.

Increased scrutiny of international travelers has him nervous.

“I think it should raise concerns with anyone who has a discrepancy with their passport,” he said.

He was hoping to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary with a trip abroad this summer.

Now he’s having second thoughts.

“I would not leave the country without this being resolved,” he said.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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