Senator Bill Nelson to Help Jacksonville Vet Secure Citizenship | Community Spirit

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Senator Bill Nelson to Help Jacksonville Vet Secure Citizenship
Senator Bill Nelson to Help Jacksonville Vet Secure Citizenship

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Senator Bill Nelson helped a Jacksonville Iraq War veteran avoid 10 years in prison and deportation.

On Monday, Nelson will meet with Navy Reserves Petty Officer Elisha Dawkins to tell him he'll help Dawkins clear up his citizenship as well.
    
Dawkins was raised in the U.S. but while under investigation, found out he was actually born in the Bahamas.

It turns out Dawkins' mother came to the U. S. from the island nation and settled in Miami before being deported.  Dawkins was allowed to remain here.

After high school, Dawkins decided to join the Army.  Following his time serving in Iraq, Dawkins joined the Navy Reserves and studied at FSCJ to be a nurse.

As he returned from a deployment to Guantanamo Bay, immigration officials arrested Dawkins.  They said he filled out his passport application incorrectly, neglecting to say that he had applied for a passport back in 2005, and charged him with making a false statement on a U.S. passport application.

While he was being held in a federal detention facility, some of his FSCJ classmates created a Facebook page to drum up support for him.  During that time, Senator Nelson took to the Senate floor and defended Dawkins.

"We all recognize that falsifying information on a passport has grave implications for our national security, and we want our government to be vigilant and to crack down hard on those who would attempt to sneak in here and do us harm. Zero tolerance. Zero. But according to Petty Officer Dawkins' Guantanamo naval base work evaluations, his superiors praised his work ethic and performance. He was a military photographer who, because of what he was photographing, had to have a secret clearance. By the way, he had that secret clearance when he was an Army photographer in Iraq. When he went into the Naval Reserves, they--and this is according to the U.S. Navy--gave reciprocity for the secret clearance for him to go into the Naval Reserves," Nelson declared.
    
Immigration officials said Dawkins incorrectly filled out his passport application, neglecting to say that he had applied for a passport back in 2005, and charged him with making a false statement on a U.S. passport application.
    
Dawkins had been in jail since April but last week he reached an agreement with federal prosecutors and was released.

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