My name is Juan Carlos Gonzalez and my parents brought me to the United States. First we migrated from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, where my brother and my sister were born. When I was in second grade, we returned to the Dominican Republic. Eventually I came back to the United States to attend high school in Brooklyn —and I graduated as a valedictorian. I earned a scholarship to attend Hampshire College, a private university in Amherst, Massachusetts, and came back to New York City to pursue a master’s in the design field. Now I work in the wellness field where I’m applying strategic design to help people live healthier lives.
I want to become a citizen for many reasons. I’ve spent most of my life in the United States and Puerto Rico and now I have a child who is a citizen. My daughter is a 16-year-old who became the first Latina to graduate from her private middle school, which is a big deal. She’s now studying at a boarding school in New Hampshire and she has good prospects of going on to college and being the third generation in my family to go to college. I feel like a member of the American tapestry, so why not become a citizen?
The pathway to citizenship is a journey worth taking. Latinos that have been in this country for a long time can contribute in more meaningful ways as United States citizens. The immigrant families that we know are hard working, family-oriented, and very respectful of the laws in this country; they’re not here to create any kind of mishap. More importantly, they have a good idea of what the United States stands for—the idea that the United States provides a pathway to betterment. We’re here to make a better life for ourselves and for our families—not just financially—we also want to contribute to the United States and internationally in other ways; all of which bring prosperity to all.