- Associated Press - Friday, December 7, 2018

A judge has set a Jan. 29 trial for a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer in southern Arizona accused of falsely claiming he was born in the United States.

Marco Antonio De la Garza Jr. has pleaded not guilty to charges of making false statements to authorities.

Authorities say De la Garza claimed he was born in Texas, when he was actually born in Mexico.

He is accused of lying about his citizenship during a background-check update tied to his job.

De la Garza also is accused of making false statements about his birth country last year when he sought a U.S. passport.

Over the years, the federal government has been criticized for not performing adequate background checks on people seeking jobs as border agents.

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