From a Life of Fear to a Dream of Citizenship Fulfilled

Rigo has always had a heart for helping people around him. After immigrating from Honduras in 1996 at age 16, Rigo put his generosity and English skills into practice by helping friends and family members fill out paperwork and applications, translating documents and helping them study and practice for tests.

Rigo came to the U.S. at the urging of his parents, who feared for his safety in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ capital. He was granted temporary protective status in the U.S. and attended high school in Dallas. After graduating high school, Rigo went on to earn his associate’s degree in accounting from Eastfield College.

“My parents always encouraged me to continue my education,” Rigo says. “And I wanted to be able to support my family in Honduras.”

While Rigo’s love for his family motivated his pursuit of higher education, it also was a driving force in his dream of becoming a U.S. citizen.

U.S. citizens can petition to bring family members to the States, and it’s Rigo’s dream to reunite with his older brother, Ramon.

Ramon was born with leukemia and suffered a recent accident that has left him unable to walk.

“My mother passed away a year ago. I made a promise to her to always take care of him,” says Rigo. “Bringing Ramon to the U.S. would make a huge difference for him and for our family.”

After college, Rigo accepted a position with New Americans Campaign partner Catholic Charities of Dallas, Inc. (CCD). He is now the Lead Instructor for Education Services at CCD, occasionally teaching classes when volunteers are unable. In this position, Rigo helped other legal permanent residents pass the naturalization exam even before he was eligible to take the exam himself.

But with the assistance of Catholic Charities of Dallas, including their help when he applied for a fee waiver, Rigo took the Oath of Allegiance and became a U.S. citizen in October 2014, 18 years after he arrived in this country.

“I became really proud,” says Rigo. “It’s a really emotional experience. You feel like you want to cry.”

Now that Rigo is a U.S. citizen, he looks forward to filing a petition to bring Ramon to the States for that long-awaited reunion.

Posted on February 10, 2015

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More