Photo: US Women Forced to Denounce Her Citizenship to Re-Enter from Mexico (Brownsville Port of Entry)
In February, Brenda Vazquez was attempting to re-enter the U.S. from Mexico when she was stopped. What has happened since that day has been nothing short of a nightmare.
Brenda was born in Weslaco, Texas in 1982. She is an America citizen and as she approached the border from the Mexican side, she held her Texas driver’s license and birth certificate as proof of such. However, when she presented her information to border agents at the Brownsville International bridge, one of them noticed a mistake on her birth certificate.
After seven hours of questioning and intimidation, Brenda says she just wanted to go home and was told that if she renounced her American citizenship she would be free to go.
What began as a visit to Matamoros, Mexico, has since turned into a fight to regain her life. Brenda has now filed a petition stating she was intimidated into making a false claim. The petition also states she wants the documents – her license and birth certificate – returned to her.
Adding to the traumatic experience is the fact that she remains in Mexico, unable to go home.
She is now being helped by Brownsville attorney Jaime Diez. Diez said he attempted to get a copy of her birth certificate from Texas Health and Human Services, but was told they could not give him one, as Customs and Border Protection had provided them with a copy of the document Brenda said she intimidated to sign.
Brenda and her attorney are now asking a judge declare that she is indeed a U.S. citizen and allow her entry back to Texas. They are also asking the judge to declare that the officer’s actions violated her constitutional rights.
While frustrating and unfortunate, Brenda’s story is not unique. Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a complaint stating U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are regularly harshly questioned, harassed, and intimidated at Brownsville ports of entry by CBP officers.