Ninety-five-year-old Leeland Davidson discovered recently that he's not considered a U.S. citizen, despite living nearly 100 years in the country and serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII.
Davidson, from Centralia, Washington, told KOMO News that he discovered he wasn't a U.S. citizen when he was turned down for an enhanced driver's license he needed for a trip to Canada to visit relatives.
"We always figured because he was born to U.S. parents he's automatically a U.S. citizen," said Davidson's daughter, Rose Schoolcraft.
Davidson was born in British Columbia in 1916, but his parents didn't register the birth with the U.S. government to ensure they knew he was a citizen. He checked up on his citizenship before joining the Navy and was told by an inspector at the U.S. Department of Labor Immigration and Naturalization Service he had nothing to worry about. Now he worries that he won't be able to prove his citizenship, because his parents were born in Iowa before local governments started keeping records of birth certificates in 1880. "I want it squared away before I pass away," he says.
Schoolcraft says they tried to dissuade him from pursuing the matter. Employees at the local passport office scared them, telling her father "If he pursued it, (he could) possibly be deported or [be] at risk of losing Social Security."
"We keep telling him, leave it alone, leave it alone, and he won't, like a dog with a bone," Schoolcraft told the Centralia Chronicle. But Davidson says: "I want to get it done before I die." He also still wants to visit his friends and family in Canada. Sen Patty Murray's office is helping him with his application.
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