Last fall, Santa Fe resident Evaggelos Klonis contacted my office to see if we could help him with expediting the replacement of his passport. Mr. Klonis had been pursuing a master’s degree abroad and living in Germany with his fiancée, who was expecting their first child. He traveled back to New Mexico to make arrangements for an extended stay in Europe.
When he landed in the United States, Transportation Security Administration agents at the Dallas airport, following Department of Homeland Security policies, confiscated his passport. As soon as he made it home to Santa Fe, Mr. Klonis applied for a new passport to be sure we would make it back to Europe in time for the birth. But after five weeks, his passport application was still in a processing phase. His fiancée’s due date was rapidly approaching. He couldn’t wait any longer.
PHOTO: Santa Fe resident Evaggelos Klonis and his newborn child.
Mr. Klonis called my office for assistance, and we immediately went to work. The very same day that we received his call, my staff contacted the U.S. Department of State Passport Agency and advocated on Mr. Klonis’s behalf. My staff checked on his application status nearly every day until, about a week later, he received his passport. Mr. Klonis made it back to Germany in time to be with his fiancée when they welcomed their new child.
After my office helped him with his passport, Mr. Klonis wrote to us, “One of the cornerstones of a representative government is advocacy. Elected officials advocate on behalf of their constituents, and in doing so they give a voice to the voiceless. When I contacted Senator Heinrich's office looking for help, I found advocates for my cause that worked tirelessly to right a wrong, and in doing so they strengthened the bond between constituent and elected official whilst reuniting a father with his child and fiancée an ocean away.”
One of the most important jobs I have as your senator is helping New Mexicans like Mr. Klonis when they are having trouble with a federal agency. The Constituent Service Representatives in my office can help New Mexicans navigate difficulties with things like Social Security benefits, Medicare, Immigration issues, Veterans benefits, passport issues, and other federal programs.
Whether you or a family member is having trouble with a federal agency, please don’t hesitate to contact my office by calling (505) 346-6601 or by visiting the Helping You section on my website.