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Case 1:19-cv-02343 Document 1 Filed 08/16/19 USDC Colorado Page 1 of 5

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO

Civil Action No. 19-cv-02343

JAIME VENEGAS,

Plaintiff,
v.

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, in his official capacity as SECRETARY OF STATE,

Defendant.

COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF

JAIME VENEGAS, by his counsel of record, Arash Jahanian and Mark

Silverstein of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado, and Peter R.

Bornstein of the Law Offices of Peter R. Bornstein, hereby files his Complaint for

Declaratory Relief as follows:

Introduction

Plaintiff Jaime Venegas is a Colorado resident who was born in Socorro, Texas

on July 20, 1984. The United States Department of State has refused to acknowledge

Mr. Venegas’s U.S. citizenship and issue him a U.S. passport, even though Mr.

Venegas has presented proof of his citizenship, including his valid Texas birth

certificate. This action seeks a declaration under 8 U.S.C. § 1503(a) that Mr. Venegas

is a United States citizen and is entitled to a United States passport.

The Parties

1. Plaintiff JAIME VENEGAS is an American citizen living and residing in the

District of Colorado.
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2. Defendant MICHAEL R. POMPEO is the Secretary of State for the United

States of America.

Jurisdiction

3. Jurisdiction is conferred on this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

4. This is an action brought pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1503(a), under which

Plaintiff, who is within the United States and has been denied a right and privilege as a

citizen of the United States by a government agency, may bring an action for a

judgment declaring him to be a citizen of the United States.

5. This is also an action for declaratory relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201

and 2202 and is brought for the purpose of determining a question of actual controversy

between the parties as detailed herein.

Venue

6. Venue lies in this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e) and 8 U.S.C. §

1503(a), and is proper in the District of Colorado as Plaintiff resides in Lakewood,

Colorado.

Facts

7. Plaintiff Jaime Venegas was born on July 20, 1984, in the city of Socorro,

County of El Paso, State of Texas. A copy of his Certificate of Birth from the State of

Texas is attached as Exhibit 1.

8. Following his birth in Texas, Mr. Venegas lived in Juarez, Mexico until the

age of sixteen. He then moved to El Paso, Texas and completed high school. In 2005,

he moved to Colorado, where he owns a small business and works as a farrier. He is

married to a U.S. Citizen and is the father of two U.S. citizen children.

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9. Mr. Venegas’s U.S. citizenship was never questioned until he applied for a

passport in 2014. He had voted in elections without issue, and his mother Patricia

Barrozo became a Legal Permanent Resident as an immediate family member of Mr.

Venegas. She is now a U.S. citizen and also lives in Colorado. Mr. Venegas’s father

and two siblings are also U.S. citizens.

10. In 2014, Mr. Venegas applied to the United States Department of State for

a passport. He submitted his birth certificate as proof of his U.S. citizenship.

11. The Department of State asserted that Mr. Venegas’s birth certificate was

insufficient to prove his U.S. citizenship and ultimately denied his passport application

on June 2, 2015. The denial letter is attached as Exhibit 2.

12. Mr. Venegas applied for a passport a second time in 2016.

13. The Department of State again declared his documentation of U.S

citizenship insufficient.

14. In response, Mr. Venegas presented additional documentation including

Certifications of Vital Record from El Paso County, Texas and the Texas Department of

Health Services Vital Statistics Unit, attached as Exhibit 3; and immunization records,

attached as Exhibit 4.

15. The Department of State again denied his passport by a letter dated

March 7, 2017, attached as Exhibit 5.

Claim for Relief


8 U.S.C. § 1503(a)

16. Defendant Secretary of State of the United States has wrongfully denied

Plaintiff an American passport and denied him the right and privilege to travel outside of

the United States and return to the United States as an American citizen.

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17. Plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies and has no adequate

remedy at law.

18. Plaintiff seeks a declaration from this Court that he is in fact an American

citizen and that he is entitled, as an American citizen, to an American passport.

Requested Relief

Plaintiff seeks the following relief:

a. A judgment declaring that Jaime Venegas is a citizen of the United States

and is entitled to receive a passport from the United States Department of

State;

b. An award of costs and attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice

Act; and

c. Such other and further relief as the Court may deem necessary and

proper.

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Respectfully submitted this 16th day of August, 2019.

s/ Arash Jahanian
Arash Jahanian
Mark Silverstein
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION
FOUNDATION OF COLORADO
303 E. 17th Avenue, Suite 350
Denver, CO 80203
Tel: (303) 777-5482
Fax: (303) 777-1773
ajahanian@aclu-co.org
msilverstein@aclu-co.org

Peter R. Bornstein
THE LAW OFFICES OF PETER R. BORNSTEIN
6060 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Ste. 500
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Tel: (720) 354-4440
Fax: (720) 287-5674
pbornstein@prblegal.com
In Cooperation with the ACLU Foundation of
Colorado

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF