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Minnesota Marine receives passport after winning citizenship fight with government

Updated: August 15, 2019 06:20 PM

A Minnesota veteran who won the fight to prove his U.S. citizenship now has his American passport.

The U.S. Department of State initially denied Mark Esqueda's passport application twice, calling into question his citizenship both times. Esqueda, who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine and with Minnesota National Guard, was born more than 30 years ago in Hidalgo, Texas.

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Born under suspicion: US government challenges a Minnesota Marine's citizenship

Esqueda, who lives in Heron Lake, Minn., is one of many forced to defend their citizenship because they were delivered by midwives along the U.S.-Mexico border at a time when some admitted to falsifying birth records for babies who were actually born in Mexico.

In March, 5 INVESTIGATES traveled to Esqueda's birthplace and found the midwife who delivered him. Roberto Nunez, who has delivered thousands of babies in Hidalgo, provided Esqueda's original birth records to 5 INVESTIGATES. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit soon after 5 INVESTIGATES provided Esqueda with his birth records.

Minnesota Marine wins citizenship fight with government

In July, Esqueda signed a settlement agreement with the State Department after it cited "recently uncovered evidence" as a reason for reversing its position on Esqueda's citizenship.

"To hear them actually say that they were wrong and I was right ... to me, is the best thing that I can hear," Esqueda said.

Esqueda received his passport in the mail earlier in August, but told 5 INVESTIGATES he hasn't set any travel plans just yet.

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Eric Rasmussen & Ana Lastra

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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