Television reporters do not always have the opportunity to revisit a story and give it an unexpected twist. This is not the case with news director and host of Entravisión’s Univision - Colorado, Juan Carlos Gutierrez, who in February this year had the opportunity to achieve his best story: complete his immigration story by becoming a U.S. citizen.
Like thousands of immigrants arriving in the United States annually, Gutierrez came to the United States on December 18, 2000, with a suitcase full of dreams about his personal and professional future. With an academic background in social communication and journalism obtained in his native Colombia, and with well-defined goals, this journalist didn’t have any second thoughts that his professional success in the communications field would be in this country. So, he faced with determination the challenges of immigration and after having worked in many fields not related to his educational background, he managed to get on track to achieve his dreams.
His experience as an immigrant had a positive impact on his professional life, allowing him to conduct journalistic stories on foreign immigration to the United States from a real perspective and firsthand. Thus, with the desire to help the migrant community, mostly Latin American, he embarked on the task of showing immigrants’ lives and their immigration experiences as pristine as they were, leading him to achieve several Emmy Awards for his journalism work.
However, in his personal life he experienced the lack of information and myths that many in the immigrant community face. Today, Gutiérrez has a new story to tell: the true path towards naturalization in hopes of demystifying the myths associated with this path.
Describing his feelings on becoming a U.S. citizen, this award-winning journalist says that after residing in the United States for 15 years, having become a U.S. citizen is something ”very special, and incredible [because] thousands of migrants entering and leaving the country often do not become even legal permanent residents."
For him, having had the honor to become a citizen is something that left him “speechless [because] all those years of effort were reflected in that very moment."
It is precisely this effort he made – and made by the majority of immigrants – that Gutiérrez does not want immigrants to lose because of their fear about the path to U.S. citizenship. "I would tell everyone [the immigrants] that if they want to become citizens, then do it. Please don’t think twice; it is a fairly easy process," he said. "Many people have misinformed immigrants at the community level, saying that citizenship is a difficult process that only some can achieve. I tell them not; everyone can achieve it."
Gutierrez describes the process of obtaining citizenship as the easiest part for a person who emigrated from another country. "Leaving behind their roots and their culture, that's the hard part. Becoming a U.S. citizen is the easy part. Many people believe the myth that it is a difficult process and it takes time to complete it. It isn’t really. They do not know how accessible are all forms and how understanding are the immigration officers. The key is to start the process. It's something I wanted to do because it was what I owed to this country, to then be part of the democracy and vote, and get the benefits of being a citizen."
With this his new mission to disseminate how easy the process of naturalization is – it only took him six months – the award-winning journalist wants immigrants "to understand that being citizens opens many more doors for everyone" and he wants all the immigrants who see his story to "feel as it is a reflection of their story and choose to follow [my] path and become citizens."
You can watch the documented immigration history of this communications professional in the Sueño Cumplido
(Dream Fulfilled) report in Spanish, which consists of two parts and is produced by the staff of Noticias Univisión Colorado.
For more information about the naturalization process and to obtain USCIS educational resources, visit our Citizenship Resource Center