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PROBE: April 5, 2002

April 05, 2002

QUESTION: I am a United States citizen detained at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service alien detention center in El Centro.

My citizenship is pursuant to Section 320 (a) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. My father was naturalized 32 years ago when I was 16 years old.

My dad brought me and my brother to this country when I was 12 years old, 36 years ago. I went to junior high and high school here, earned a degree in economics at a California State University. I was employed as a planner with the Metropolitan Transit Authority in Los Angeles.

The INS wants a copy of my dad's citizenship papers and his divorce decree from Iran 40 years ago. I can't locate my dad.

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Doesn't INS have this information in my dad's file? They can get his INS number if they look in my INS file. His INS record should lead to his naturalization record. — Detained, El Centro

If your father was ever a legal permanent resident, INS has a file on him, said Neil Clark, officer in charge at the El Centro center. He said INS would look in your dad's file to see if there's any evidence to prove your citizenship.

Let this be a lesson to PROBE readers who think they automatically derive citizenship from a naturalized parent. One can "derive" citizenship from a parent but one must apply for derivative citizenship and get a certificate to prove it.

It will be easier now than later when you need to prove citizenship.

In the meantime, if you don't have citizenship papers, don't make a spouse angry. The troubles of the man stuck in the detention center began when his marriage was breaking up and his wife allegedly got even for his alleged infidelity.

Today he was due in court to fend off deportation to Iran, a place where, he says, "I don't know anybody."

MULBERRY HISTORY PROJECT — I am writing to you because we need the help of PROBE readers. My eighth-grade class at Mulberry School is working on a multimedia project in which students seek as much information as possible on the history of Mulberry School.

We are looking for people who went to Mulberry School before 1960 or to the segregated Hispanic school, we would like to talk to them. My students will be presenting their project at the Student Technology Showcase in Sacramento. — Teacher, North County

OK, PROBE readers, this sounds like fun. If you went to Mulberry and would like to help, call Mr. Panduro at 344-8600.

SOME EXPENSIVE FREEBIES — Warn your readers to carefully check offers of free diabetic testing supplies. I am enrolled in Medicare, so when I enrolled in a program to get "free testing" supplies, I was assured everything was free. At the end of the month I got a bill for $420 for three months. I buy my supplies for $10 a month though my regular health insurance.

I went back to the supplier and was given a credit for two months but ended up paying $160 for the first month. Medicare wouldn't pay because it pays only after my regular insurance pays and my regular insurance wouldn't pay because I have a $700 deductible. — Stuck, Heber

OK, seniors, Medicare will now pay for some testing supplies but before you order. You'd better check it out. We think the program would work for us because our supplemental insurance pays after Medicare pays — but only if Medicare pays first.

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