Faces of Immigration

Citizenship a life-long journey

Jesus Soto-Herrera works on a project. (Photo by Ione Blanco/Kokopelli)

Most immigrants come to the United States seeking new and better opportunities for themselves and their families. Becoming a naturalized citizen is a huge step that can help them to achieve their goals.

Jesus Soto-Herrera, 30, came to the United States as a young child when his mother decided to move to the U.S. from Vicente Guerrero, Durango, Mexico. They left behind a tough life. At that time, Soto-Herrera was only five years old, but he remembers walking around two miles to cross into the United States through Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

“It is rough even right now I still feel scared because immigration (agents) could just knock on my door and basically pick me up and send me back ‘home’ to a place I don’t even know.”

Soto-Herrera became aware of his immigration status when he was in high school and one of his teachers asked him about the process of becoming a citizen in the United States. His teacher knew that he was originally from Mexico.

“It is rough… it is rough even right now I still feel scared because immigration [agents] could just knock on my door and basically pick me up and send me back ‘home’ to a place I don’t even know,” he said.

Five years ago Soto-Herrera got married and was able to start the process of becoming a United States citizen. He now has two children who were both born in the U.S.

Thousands of immigrants have become naturalized citizens in the United States throughout the years. Over the past decade, an average of 700,000 immigrants took the oath each year, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Soto-Herrera wants people to know that not all immigrants come to the United States to cause trouble or take advantage of the United States. Most of them come looking for better opportunities.

“My dream now is still the same dream I had when I was small. Make a difference everywhere I go… have my own company and be my own boss,” he said.

 

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