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Luis Lopez lived in Cuba for thirty years before seeking a better life and more hopeful future in the United States. “In Cuba, there was no future. Life was very tense. You had to be careful at all times. If you didn’t work, they took you to jail. There was no freedom. So I left in search of liberty and prosperity.”

Lopez arrived firstly in Miami and moved later to Philadelphia. He initially did not have interest in obtaining citizenship, preferring his status as a permanent lawful resident, as his green card had no expiration date. As a working man usually living paycheck to paycheck, he “wasn’t interested in doing anything but working. I needed the money. I had to first take care of the home.”

But last year, Lopez began to realize a major shortcoming of his residency status: he couldn’t vote. That’s when he began the journey of becoming a US citizen. “The ultimate dream was to become a citizen and vote.” Lopez sought out the Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) after seeing an advertisement on a flyer. Earlier this year, Lopez finally fulfilled his dream and became a citizen of the United States.

“Mary and the Esperanza team took care of me. They treated me well and spoke to me with patience. Mary told me: ‘We’re going to do everything right for you.’ And so they did. They helped me get my citizenship, and I was very happy. I now finally feel a part of this country and now I can vote. Other people should become citizens as well. Esperanza will treat you well. I even referred my brother!”

At Esperanza, we are committed to supporting the needs of immigrants. Find out more about all that EILS has to offer and how we can help you fulfill your dream!

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