Mario always thought he was a U.S. citizen - he had been living in the country for nearly 50 years after arriving in 1965 as a Cuban refugee. He raised his family here, paid taxes, and worked for decades for the federal government. He served stateside with the United States Army for three years during the Vietnam War.
But in 2014, when applying for a passport, he learned he had never become a citizen, despite his decades of military and government service. After more than 89,000 people signed this petition started by his wife Bonita, Mario was granted citizenship on May 21, 2014!
My husband Mario Hernandez entered the US on a Freedom Flight from Cuba in 1965. Ten years later he enlisted during the Vietnam War and served this country honorably before having a 25+ year career in government service.
When he retired from the Bureau of Prisons as a lieutenant, he wanted to take me on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate but realized he did not have a US passport. To his surprise, he learned he was never a US citizen despite the oaths he took prior to his military service.
He tried to become a citizen but his naturalization application was denied and he was told to receive residency first through the Cuban Adjustment Act then try again in five years. However, his service during Vietnam, a "designated period of hostility," exempts him from the residency requirement and he should be naturalized now.
Please sign my petition asking DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to naturalize my husband. After serving his country during Vietnam and for 25 years in government service, he shouldn't have to wait another 5 years to become a U.S. citizen.
He deserves it!