First Coast veteran fights for citizenship

Fernandina Beach, Fla. -- American Legion Post 54 welcomed Steve Holota as a new member Tuesday and are helping their fellow vet in his battle to become a U.S. citizen.

The 66 year-old Nassau County man is technically without a country although he was drafted and served in Vietnam in the Army. Holota is a permanent resident, but citizenship has gone nowhere according to his wife, Cindy, who has on several occasions made applications for her husband..

"I am not a citizen of anywhere," said Holota following becoming a member of the American Legion.

"I was born in Germany doesn't mean I am a citizen. I called the embassy and they said no," said Holota who noted his parents were from the Ukraine and he is not a citizen of that country either.

But, the struggle to become an American citizen could be almost over. Immigration attorney Elizabeth Ricci is experienced in handling matters involving veterans and says it is more common than you think seeing vets with citizenship issues.

"It should have been communicated during his service and after his service entitled to expedite with no fee," said Ricci who says Holota should have become a citizen a long time ago.

The Nassau County man came to the United States at age two and now after 64 years appears to be closing in on becoming a citizen.

"I cannot wait," he said.

"There is only a few days in your life that you remember and that will be one. I am looking forward to it," said Holota who retired a few years ago after working for the telephone company.


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