My Citizenship Story – Carolina Lugo Edelman, RIS Paralegal

Growing up in your home country, did you ever imagine that you would end up making a life in the United States?

No, I never imagined that I would come to the United States. Although I always wanted to go to NYC and live in New York, that was like a dream. I am happy that I was able to experience it for almost nine years.

Did you want to become a U.S. Citizen when you came to the United States?

Who would not want to be? When I came to the United States for the first time, I promised myself that I would become a U.S. citizen of this great nation one day. After obtaining my legal residence, I felt one step closer, and that felt so good. Finally, the time to apply for my citizenship arrived, and my husband and I did not hesitate to file my application right away.

There are so many rights and benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen, but honestly, one of the most important reasons was not to get deported. I wanted to have the opportunity of enjoying the rights of a natural-born American citizen. When I was a legal permanent resident, I always thought that I would be an outstanding abiding American citizen because I respect and love this nation. Also, better opportunities come along with becoming an American citizen. I wanted to be able to vote; I wanted to enforce my civil rights and my voice to be heard. I wanted to be able to find a job that could allow me to help other immigrants like me.

How did you feel the day that you took the U.S. Oath?

I had a great experience at my interview, and thankfully, I passed my test and was invited to take the oath on the same day, which was an amazing opportunity. I had dreamed about this moment for about 16 years, and finally, my dream came true. The bitter part about this was that due to COVID, I could not invite anyone to attend the ceremony, which is really sad because my husband has been an important part of my immigration journey, and I wanted him to experience this moment with me. We both understood, and he waited so happily for me outside. My family in Mexico is very proud of me, and now I can go and visit them more often.

Taking oath was a big relief. It was one of the most amazing achievements in my life and one of the most satisfying experiences. I am so grateful to be an American citizen.

Now that you are a citizen, what is something you look forward to doing? (i.e. vote, travel, passport, etc).

I was able to become a U.S. Citizen before the presidential election. It was my first experience participating in such an important and exciting event in the United States. I also visited my parents in Mexico this year using my "U.S. Passport," and I was not scared of going through immigration for the first time.

Did you have any misgivings about become a citizen? If so, how did you get pass it?

No, not at all. Not misgivings, but I know more responsibilities come with citizenship, and I am glad to comply with them when required.

Also, in some cases, you have to renounce your home country's citizenship, thankfully, it was not my case. As a Mexican, I can have dual citizenship. That is a great advantage for me.

What do you think you would do to honor your heritage (country of origin) and your new country of citizenship?

I will continue celebrating Mexico's customs and traditions and share with others my Mexican heritage. I want people in the United States to learn more about Mexican people and how rich Mexico is in culture, food, nature, etc. If I ever have kids, I will encourage them to learn Spanish.

For the United States, I will respect this great country that has allowed me to grow and fulfill my American dream. I will continue introducing my new home to my family back in Mexico to see and experience why I fell in love with this country.