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Overcoming Fear: Mateo’s New Citizen Story

For many immigrants, fear is like an anchor weighing down hope and forward movement. Applying for citizenship can feel daunting, and research shows that lack of knowledge about government laws and legal services prevents many from applying each year.

When Mateo saw an Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) commercial, he was excited. He had been hesitant to start his application because he was worried about legal issues from his past. The political climate made these feel larger than life and he worried about his safety. Mateo immediately knew where he could take his doubts to receive the support and legal expertise he needed to apply for citizenship. He felt doubtful of his chance of becoming a naturalized citizen but had to try for the sake of his future.

Mateo felt comfortable opening up with the legal team about topics that were sensitive to him because of EILS’ bilingual staff. They were able to understand his situation in his native language and offered him a safe space to communicate and navigate his story. Today, he is a proud U.S. citizen who can face each new morning without fear.

EILS’s staff researched and clarified all legal issues to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. EILS assured him that being honest and clear about past information would make for a strong application.

“Not all people are willing to help, and I am grateful to God because of the help I received from EILS. I think that if I didn’t have the proper support, I wouldn’t have my citizenship certificate today.”

It’s not enough to see a problem – we are compelled in dark times to take action.  Generosity inspires us.  Community and connection move us forward.  

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