UPDATE: Juan Marcos Estrada says this issue has been resolved and he has successfully renewed his U.S. passport
AURORA, Colo. -- An Aurora man, who has served in the U.S. Army for 14 years, says he loves military life, but worries that he’ll be sent out on deployment, and not be allowed back into the U.S.
Juan Marcos Estrada, 45, said the State Department won’t renew his passport, because of questions about the authenticity of his Texas birth certificate.
Estrada said he was born in Laredo, Texas, on September 7, 1972. He showed Denver7 a copy of his Texas birth certificate.
A letter from the United States Department of State, signed by Director Timothy Wiesnet, states that the birth attendant who filed his birth record, “is suspected of submitting false birth records.”
Second birth certificate
The letter also states, “There exists a foreign birth record indicating that your birth was registered in Zacatecas, Mexico.”
When asked about that second document, Estrada said, “My parents, they create (sic) a Mexican birth certificate just to try to get Mexican services, the school, medical, like every child.”
He added that the Mexican document is a handwritten note, without his mother’s signature, and no official seal.
He told Denver7 that shortly after he was born, his parents moved to Mexico City, where he lived for 31 years.
Decision to fight
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Estrada decided to move back to the U.S. and join the Army.
"I wanted to fight for this country," he said. "I came back in 2003."
He moved first to California, and then to Colorado.
He had no problem getting a passport, back then. In fact, he renewed it twice. It was only when he tried to renew it a third time that there was problem.
Request for more proof
The letter from the State Department asked for more proof of U.S. citizenship, so Estrada sent them the documents his mother used to cross the border into the U.S. three days before he was born.
One of them, Mexican Form 13, has a picture of her stapled to the document.
“The only person who knows the truth is my mom and I believe my mom,” he said. “I’ve got documents to support the story of my mom.”
PTSD and traumatic brain injury
Estrada says he spent four years in active service and ten years in the Army Reserves.
He told Denver7 that he suffers from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury, the result of an IED explosion that overturned his Humvee, during his last tour of duty in Iraq.
“I still get headaches,” he said, “and nightmares. I go to therapy every month at the VA Hospital.”
Estrada said he has six years to go on his contract with the Army.
"They told me, 'with a passport, without a passport, you will be deployed,'" he said.
“I’ve got the risk to go overseas, and to not come back,” he added. “It’s not right that a U.S. citizen is denied the right to get a U.S. passport."