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Unexpected change in immigration status costs woman her job

Just as there are many people currently living in Miami who immigrated to the U.S. and eventually chose to become American citizens, there may be just as many who live here but have not yet been given formal permission to do so. By not applying for legal residency or beginning the process of becoming a full-fledged U.S. citizen, they deny themselves certain opportunities such as the chance to vote in local, state, and federal elections, as well as the chance to work for any state or federal agency. Yet despite such residency restrictions being in place, there have been a few cases that have seemingly exposed the need for greater immigration status oversight.

One such case occurred recently in Arizona, where a woman was forced to resign her position with the State Police. Despite a decorated career which saw her promoted as high as detective, her employment was jeopardized after if it was discovered she was actually an undocumented immigrant. Apparently, she had been told her entire life that she had in fact been born in the U.S., yet she first learned as recently as this last June that wasn’t true. Yet despite this knowledge, she chose not to report this to her superiors. It was only through a subsequent internal investigation that the truth came out.

Such cases as this one have prompted many to question the screening process for state and federal employees. Yet according to some immigration experts, it isn’t all that uncommon for people to believe, just as this woman did, that they are citizens, only to discover later in life that they’re not. Given the high stakes at play in such a situation, any one for whom this could be an issue may wish to verify their citizenship status with an attorney before beginning any new major changes in his or her life. 

Source: CNN “Detective resigns after citizenship status revealed” Carma Hassan and Mariano Castillo, Dec. 12, 2013

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