An Amarillo couple planning a pleasure cruise worries one of them might end up stranded outside the United States. That's because she can't convince the federal government she's a citizen.
NewsChannel 10's Julia Bagg has the story.
To celebrate their wedding anniversary, Maria Fowler and her husband hope to leave for a cruise to Cozumel next week. They were advised to apply for passports, but after three months of paperwork, Fowler's request is still denied. "I can get on the ship with a birth certificate, but if I miss that boat, if I miss that ship and I have to find some other source to get back to the states, I might not be able to come back because I have no passport."
She has no passport because the federal government won't accept her 'delayed birth certificate'. She says she was born at home in Plainvew to Mexican parents, and did not receive a birth certificate until she attended school.
Government agents tell her that document is not enough to prove her citizenship. "I was born here and I can't get a passport. I've got to prove who I am, where I was born, and it's like I have no identity."
She's turned in baptismal records, school records, and sworn affidavits from eye-witnesses who knew her as a child...but now the government is requesting more proof. "I have no more to give them. I'm running out of paperwork, witnesses, I don't know where else to go."
Under new passport rules now in effect, Maria can leave the country on a cruise ship and be allowed to return.