Tica Jailed for 27 Hours In Passport Mix-up

September 1, 2006

Mauren Lucrecia Obregón, a Costa Rican woman who lives in the United States, endured not only deportation from Portugal earlier this month, but also 27 hours in an immigrant detention center and a  forced performance of Costa Rica’s National Anthem to prove her national identity.

Why? Portuguese authorities at the airport who reviewed Obregón’s passport, a legitimate document issued by the Costa Rican Consulate in New York, believed it was false, according to the daily La Nación. Officials eventually confiscated the passport and Obregón’s identity card, or cédula, and put her on a plane back to the United States.

Like the rest of the 350-500 passports the consulate issues each month, Obregón’s passport was filled out by hand by a consular official. Obregón told La Nación that although she explained the consulate had issued the passport May 22, Portuguese officials did not believe her, and several calls to the consulate in an attempt to confirm the passport’s validity went unanswered.

Obregón, 39, has lived in the United States for seven years and traveled to Portugal with her boyfriend, a citizen of that country. She is asking the consulate to pay her $10,000 for the costs she incurred during the journey and is preparing a complaint against the Portuguese officials.

Her lawyer, John Brenes, said that in addition to holding Obregón without a charge, the officials “humiliated her by asking her to sing the National Anthem.” Obregón said she missed a few lines because she was nervous.

New York consul Alejandra Solano told the daily she is worried other Costa Ricans might have the same experience, and that she “asked the lady for forgiveness in the name of the Costa Rican government.”

Immigration official Xinia Sossa said a plan is being implemented to have all passports prepared at the central offices in San José, then distributed to consulates, to prevent this problem from recurring.

 

You may be interested

Unaccompanied Costa Rican child ‘doing well’ after being found in Arizona desert
Immigration
92 views
Immigration
92 views

Unaccompanied Costa Rican child ‘doing well’ after being found in Arizona desert

Alexander Villegas - June 21, 2018

United States Border Patrol agents found an unaccompanied 6-year-old Costa Rican boy in the Arizona desert Tuesday evening. The child said his…

Two Costa Rican students will study at NASA with Franklin Chang
Education
89 views
Education
89 views

Two Costa Rican students will study at NASA with Franklin Chang

Elizabeth Lang - June 21, 2018

Each year the XXI Century Strategy Association gives scholarships to students to train with astronauts and other professionals from NASA's…

Benefit concerts for Guatemala to take place in Costa Rica, Mexico
Changemakers
96 views
Changemakers
96 views

Benefit concerts for Guatemala to take place in Costa Rica, Mexico

Elizabeth Lang - June 21, 2018

On Sunday, Costa Rica and Mexico will host simultaneous concerts to benefit the victims of the Fuego Volcano eruption in…