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11 November 2015

We Asked Immigrant Veterans: What Did Becoming a U.S. Citizen Mean to You?

This Veterans Day, we asked our colleagues who are both immigrants and veterans what becoming a U.S. citizen meant to them. We received a different answer from each person, but a common theme was service and pride in becoming an American. Their responses and photos from past and present are featured below:

"Becoming a U.S. citizen filled me with pride and lit a fire inside me that drove me to want to serve in gratitude for all that I was given."

- Freddy Duron, Immigration Services Officer, Hialeah Customer Service Unit

Above: Freddy Duron, U.S. Army

"Duty, honor, country; these three words have guided me to become the citizen-soldier I am today. U.S. citizenship opened many doors of opportunities for myself and family. I'm glad to do my part to bear true faith and allegiance. God bless America!"

- David Salazar, Immigration Officer, Fraud Detection and National Security, San Bernardino Field Office

Above: David Salazar, U.S. Army Airborne

"Becoming a U. S. citizen meant a lot to me as it was the first time I felt like I had freedom and it gave me all the opportunity life can afford."

- Kelechi O Eke, Immigration Services Officer, Texas Service Center

Above: Kelechi O Eke, U.S. Army Veteran

"When I became a U.S. citizen it was a sense of belonging. Even though I was a Lawful Permanent Resident serving in the military, I still felt like a visitor. After becoming a U.S. citizen, this became my country. Immigrating to the U.S. and serving this great nation has been a great honor for my family and me."

- Rashpal S. Virk (Rocky), Immigration Officer, Fraud Detection and National Security, Seattle Office

Above: Rashpal S. Virk, U.S. Navy Veteran

"Becoming a U.S. citizen was a proud moment because my new country accepted me. I could be what I wanted regardless of my race or sex."

- Andy Ffrenchnowden, Immigration Services Officer, Los Angeles County Field Office

Above: Andy Ffrenchnowden, U.S. Marines

“When I became a naturalized citizen in May 1980, it opened up a wide range of opportunities in the service, made it a NAVAL career - rightly believing all along that military service is the most patriotic of all professions.”

- Mario Alvarado, Immigration Services Officer, Southeast Region

Above: Mario Alvarado, U.S. Navy

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At November 16, 2015 at 2:27:00 AM EST , Blogger Elmer Diaz93 said...

I am not a U.S . Citizen yet I have a green card also known as a permanent resident card, But my youngest sister gave me the motivation to apply because she went through the application process got approved now she's not from El Salvador anymore she says She's American which is what I will be saying as soon as I get approved!

At December 22, 2015 at 6:51:00 AM EST , Anonymous Hiv Rna Test said...

This is our country. I am proud to be a American.

At January 6, 2016 at 4:18:00 AM EST , Anonymous Garcinia said...

Being an American is my pride. It means freedom to me.


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