A man behind a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic chained himself to the building’s fence in protest on Tuesday, claiming that a botched DNA test led officials to wrongly deny his daughter American citizenship while also ruining his marriage.
Miguel Familia, a naturalized U.S. citizen from the Dominican Republic, alleged that a DNA test ordered by the embassy to prove the girl was his daughter came back negative and she was denied residency in 2005.
After he received the test results, Familia divorced his wife and accused her of having an extramarital affair, according to his lawyer, Carlos de la Rosa.
But for years his ex-wife continued to insist the girl was his daughter. That led Familia to seek two separate paternity tests on his own earlier this year and both tested positive, de la Rosa said.
By protesting outside the embassy, Familia was attempting to draw attention to his legal case and the mistake that he blames for tearing his family apart. He filed a complaint in the Dominican Republic in July against the embassy and a U.S.-based laboratory, seeking $180 million in damages.
“They destroyed my family and I lost seven years with her,” he said of his daughter, Ashley.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit. Officials at the DNA testing laboratory, Clinical Test & Research in Ridgewood, New Jersey, could not be immediately reached for comment.
According the U.S. State Department website, DNA tests can be required for parents who are U.S. citizens seeking citizenship for their child where it is not clear a birth certificate is adequate proof showing a biological relationship.