Vietnam veterans acquire US citizenship 53 years after returning from the war – Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio 2020-10-17 20:38:47 –

Elsa, Texas (KVEO) – RGV For one of Vietnam’s veterans, the road to citizenship has been a long journey of 53 years.

When Ruben Sanchez was called to serve, he responded. From John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address, he said, “Rather than asking what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Is quoted as.

“LB Johnson took over and he started drafting people, young men like me. At that time I was just 20 years old,” Sanchez said.

His sense of humor hides what it was like to be in Vietnam, joking that he went on a picnic.
“Don’t have a picnic, do a picnic,” he laughs. But the Purple Heart he received will give you an idea of ​​the horror he faced in Vietnam.

But one of the things he didn’t receive when he returned home was his US citizenship.

He recalls the Vietnam War era agreement that US citizenship was promised to him and many others.

Sanchez explained that he had heard of veterans from Mexico who had been deported after returning from the war, saying, “They promised to obtain citizenship if they fought and lied to them.” It was.

Mario Ibarra, a local military supporter and veteran advocate, said veterans like Sanchez may not have had enough support to proceed with the process.

“The process can be very scary, probably because many people see it that way, but it’s basically just following the right instructions, paying attention to the details, and getting the necessary documentation, so it’s itself. It doesn’t get in the way. It’s a process, “says Ybarra.

Fifty-three years after returning from Vietnam, Sanchez can finally call himself an American citizen.
Sanchez has pledged allegiance and again pledged support and advocacy at the US Citizenship and Immigration Field Office in Harlingen.

His plans for the rest of his days as an American citizen are simpler. “Just behave, get better, and keep doing good,” he said.

Patrick Roberts, Veterans Outreach Director of Vicente Gonzalez, was there to present Sanchez with a special award certificate for his service, the American flag flying over the national capital, and Vietnam War Memorial Company Emblem.

“I would like to congratulate you on your citizenship today. It has been postponed for a long time and you should receive it, and you must have been a citizen long before this,” Roberts said. Told.

Ybarra states that the citizenship application process can begin on the USCIS website.

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