In today’s America it almost feels subversive to be proud of becoming — or being — a U.S. citizen.
This article was originally published on USA Today.
I closed out 2020 with one of the best moments in my life. On Dec. 8, I became a citizen of the United States of America. It ranks in significance right behind marrying my wife and the births of my children.
If being born here is like suddenly winning the lottery, becoming a naturalized citizen is like slowly and steadily reaching financial independence. The United States has been such a source of inspiration for immigrants that we hope to create our own lottery by working to become citizens and embodying the appreciation for everything that is good about America — sometimes even more so than locals.
I waited years to become American. I first came to the United States from Uruguay in 2008 for my graduate studies and received my green card in 2014. Five years later, I could apply to become a citizen.