A deported Marine Corps veteran who has been unable to come back to the U.S. for more than a decade was denied entry to the country Monday morning when he asked to be let in for a scheduled citizenship interview.
Roman Sabal, 58, originally from Belize, came to the San Ysidro Port of Entry around 7:30 on Monday morning with an attorney to ask for “parole” to attend his naturalization interview scheduled for a little before noon in downtown San Diego. Border officials have the authority to temporarily allow people into the country on parole for “humanitarian or significant public benefit” reasons.
Sabal first applied to become a U.S. citizen in 1995 after serving for six years as a Marine and then several more years in the Army Reserves. Sabal has two U.S. citizen children with a U.S. citizen partner whom he hopes to one day marry.
Sabal initially came to the United States on a tourist visa and did not have permission to stay in the U.S. permanently. His goal when he came, after seeing Marines in action during his time in the Belizean military, was to enlist in the Marine Corps.
He managed to join with a fake identity document. He said he confessed during boot camp and was told, “Don’t worry about it. You’re a Marine now.”
Years after he was honorably discharged, he decided to go back to Belize because he’d developed diabetes, and his mother had offered to help him treat it with herbal remedies rather than pharmaceuticals. When he returned to the U.S., his entry triggered an immigration court case.