Feb 22, 2017
The morning we arrived at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Newark, New Jersey, the line stretched around the block. I was 11 years old, the son of Cuban immigrants and the grandson of a former political prisoner who had sought refuge in the United States—part of the first generation of my family born in this country. Despite my young age, out of a sense of duty motivated by my passion for American history and civics, I had made it my mission to help my elderly grandparents prepare for their citizenship exam. That morning, I accompanied my grandparents to their exam and remember anxiously awaiting the results. After what seemed like an eternity, my grandparents emerged triumphantly; big smiles across their faces. Later that afternoon, as I watched my grandparents sworn in as American citizens, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment.