From Doubt to Citizenship: Realizing the Dream of Naturalization

One of the best things about my job is that I get to help people realize that the impossible isn’t impossible. This month, I’ve helped two people obtain naturalization who, when they first spoke with me, didn’t think they could ever become U.S. citizens.

Bob’s Journey to Citizenship

Bob entered the US 35 years ago. He had a tourist visa, but the INS officer at the border believed Bob had been working in the United States on an earlier visit.  He was paroled in as an arriving alien, but placed in removal proceedings. The Immigration Judge told Bob that if he left the United States, nothing would be on his record, but if he didn’t leave, he would have an order of exclusion. But Bob never left. Fast forward 30 years and Bob married a U.S. citizen. They come to our office to talk about adjustment of status. Bob didn’t think it was possible because of what had happened in court all those years ago. At the interview, the Immigration Officer wasn’t certain that Bob qualified for his green card, but we made our arguments and he became a lawful permanent resident in 2020. Earlier this month, Bob became a U.S. citizen. After the interview, he seemed a little shocked, in disbelief that after 35 years, he would finally be able to call the U.S. his permanent home. 

Mabel’s Path to Citizenship

Mabel had been a permanent resident since 1992, but became scared to file for anything more after she was arrested in 2015. She was arrested for a white-collar crime and was sentenced to five years’ probation and a fine – but she also received First Offender Status, which meant that there was no finding of guilt. Still, though, arrests and any sentence can have huge immigration consequences. She was so nervous, but she knew she wanted to be able to travel internationally without worry and potentially petition for her parents to come – both of which required her to become a U.S. citizen. Last week, Mabel’s dream came true. We went to her interview and 30 minutes later, she took the Oath of Allegiance. 

Overcoming Doubts and Taking Action

Both Bob and Mabel weren’t sure about achieving their dreams of U.S. citizenship. They thought that their past was too much to overcome. We researched and discussed the risks and ultimately they decided it was the right time for them to apply. Not ever blemish on your record is fatal to naturalization. If you have something holding you back from taking the next steps with your immigration status, talk with an experienced immigration lawyer who can analyze your case and help you make the best decision. Naturalization may not be as impossible as you think!

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