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.