America is my life. I am an American.
For nearly 20 years, I’ve had one undying wish: to be an American.
That wish is now a reality.
I was born in Mazatlan, Mexico and have lived in Arizona since I was 9. Although I have wonderful memories of my childhood there, they are minimal.
America is my home, it’s where I remember the most about my schooling, where I met great friends and made great memories. It’s where I got my first job, went to prom, went to college, learned to drive, got my first car (yes, in that order), got my degree, met the love of my life, purchased our first home and landed my dream job.
All of those experiences are special and meaningful because they happened in America. They are wonderful because my mother made the sacrifice to leave her loved ones behind and come to an unknown land. A land that is full of opportunities and the promise that if you work hard, you’ll achieve your dreams.
To my friends, I was not different, and for the most part I didn’t feel different.
But deep down I always had this longing to call myself a citizen. An American: from top to bottom, fully and truly.
The path to get to that day began, without realizing it, the day I met Steve, my husband. I didn’t know I had met the person who would be patient through six years of applications, thousands of dollars in fees and daily trips to our mailbox waiting for the letter with the USCIS seal.
After seven long steps, 2.5 years in Mexico while waiting for approval, intimidating interviews with immigration officers, disappointments and successes, we finally got to this point.
Now when we cross a Border Patrol checkpoint, I can say I am an American citizen.
When I get a jury summons, I’ll happily serve, because I’m an American citizen.
When election time comes, I’ll gladly cast my vote, because it is my right as an American citizen.
Thank you, America, for welcoming me with open arms. I promise to protect you, defend you, respect you and be loyal forever and always.
I am proud to be an American.
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