As part of our work to assist local immigrant communities, we often hold workshops on DACA assistance, Know Your Rights events and legal immigration screenings. We recently hosted a naturalization workshop where we help people become U.S. citizens. There we had the pleasure of meeting Daniel Quintero, an immigrant from Venezuela who has been living in the U.S. for 14 years. Even though he has qualified to become a naturalized citizen, he was one of many immigrants who often postpone applying for citizenship because they are unfamiliar with the process or simply because they are too busy.
After years of procrastination, he finally decided to finally start the process. Daniel shared how he used to make excuses to not become a citizen, but finally decided to ask for help by coming to one of our naturalization workshops. Below is his interview from February 2018 on why he wants to become a citizen and his advice to others who don’t know where to start.
Tomás: Why do you want to become a U.S. citizen?
Daniel: For me, the number one priority is my family. All of my wife’s family is from the U.S. and this country has been very good to them and most importantly to me as well. I wanted to be a part of it, so I made the decision to become a citizen.
Tomás: And why is it important for you to become a citizen now, this year?
Daniel: I had been thinking about doing it years ago, but for different reasons and motives I never finished filling out the documents. Only until about half way through last year in 2017 did I start again with my efforts to finally get it done. I felt like now was the time, and well this year I told myself I’m not going to let it pass, and here I am!
Tomás: What would you say to others who are starting their immigration process?
Daniel: The most important thing is to look for the right people that can help you with this process. I procrastinated because I was unfamiliar with the process, but here at Alliance San Diego, everyone has made the process pain-free. All the staff and attorneys available here have helped me in a really incredible way. I invite all the people who have doubts, fears, anxieties, whatever thing you might have, to come to Alliance San Diego for help. You’ll really enjoy the process. Before filling out those papers you always have this fear that you might make a mistake. However, people at Alliance San Diego can clear up any questions you might have so that you can put those fears to rest.
UPDATE: Daniel is now a naturalized citizen and his award ceremony was in August 2018 after completing his application back in February 2018!