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Q&A: Claudio Rodrigues

Claudio with Governor Maggie Hassan and Annie Custer on the day of his ceremony. Photo courtesy of Claudio Rodrigues

By Courtney Couillard

 On February 1, beloved DHS custodian Claudio Rodrigues became an American citizen. The Tide sat down with Claudio to discuss his journey and why becoming an American is so important to him.

Q: What made you want to become an American citizen?

A: Citizenship gives you the chance to vote, an American passport, and you have all the rights of an American. With a green card, you can only stay overseas for six months; after that, they can take your green card away. The big reason I want to apply for citizenship is to be able to apply for government jobs, be able to vote, but also to be an American. A lot of people want to be an American, including myself.

 

Q: Are you finished with the process of becoming a US citizen? If so, when were you sworn in?

A: Yes, this past Friday, February 1, I was in Concord swearing in for my citizenship. They gave me my certificate and a small flag, and the governor Maggie Hassan was there. I took a picture with her! There were also 24 other people along with a judge and they all swore in to become citizens.

 

Q: How long did the process take for you from the time you decided to apply to when you became an official citizen?

A: It took awhile. Each case is different; some cases you are married and you can go to see an immigration officer and they say you’re good and you can get a green card. But sometimes they don’t believe it is a real marriage and they question you. In my case, it took me a few years.

 

Q: Did you ever get to a point where you were frustrated with the system and wanted to give up?

A: I was consistent because I have a family here and I wanted it for myself and for my family. I know it’s a step to where I want to go and I had to obey the law by having a lawyer [and following through with the system].

 

Q: Thinking back to last Friday, how did you feel standing with those 24 other people and being sworn in as an American citizen? Are there words to describe how you felt?

A: I’m from Brazil, but I’m now here in America and I’m proud to be a part of America. And I get emotional because my family is here, and I love America and New Hampshire. It’s good to escape sometimes to Florida, but NH is an amazing place to live. I’m very thankful for America having me. If you think about America, maybe your grandparents came from somewhere, and I came from Brazil. My next generation maybe will think, “OK, Claudio is from Brazil but he is an American.” And I also want to be a mirror for my kids. Even living in America, I have my culture with me while being a part of [the DHS community].

 

Q: Do you think that the students of DHS should know what it takes to become an American citizen?

A: They should know that it’s not easy. Right now with the laws changing, the current President is thinking about whether to change immigration laws but it can be difficult. It’s a lot of stress and a lot of money. Some people think it’s easy—you go and you get a green card. But it doesn’t work like that. You have to abide to the law and see how the law helps you. Some think it’s easy to just get married to become a citizen, but you have to find love first [chuckle]. It’s a process. For some cases it can be harder than mine; America wants to make sure it’s the good guys staying here. We definitely have people who are here, pay taxes, have a family. They should definitely have the right to be a citizen. Everybody has to be given a chance in life.

 

Q: Do you think that your life will be any different from before now that you have officially become a citizen?

A: I will never forget where I come from. And I’m glad that America has given me the right to stay here. I want to be a good citizen; I want to vote, pay my tax, work, and obey the law. The law should be obeyed by everyone, no matter if they’re from the bottom or the top. And I want to continue learning from [DHS students] about American culture. I want you guys to open your minds and think that many people who come to America are good people and they should have a chance like me.

 

By Courtney Couillard

 

On February 1, beloved DHS custodian Claudio Rodrigues became an American citizen. The Tide sat down with Claudio to discuss his journey and why becoming an American is so important to him.

 

Q: What made you want to become an American citizen?

A: Citizenship gives you the chance to vote, an American passport, and you have all the rights of an American. With a green card, you can only stay overseas for six months; after that, they can take your green card away. The big reason I want to apply for citizenship is to be able to apply for government jobs, be able to vote, but also to be an American. A lot of people want to be an American, including myself.

 

Q: Are you finished with the process of becoming a US citizen? If so, when were you sworn in?

A: Yes, this past Friday, February 1, I was in Concord swearing in for my citizenship. They gave me my certificate and a small flag, and the governor Maggie Hassan was there. I took a picture with her! There were also 24 other people along with a judge and they all swore in to become citizens.

 

Q: How long did the process take for you from the time you decided to apply to when you became an official citizen?

A: It took awhile. Each case is different; some cases you are married and you can go to see an immigration officer and they say you’re good and you can get a green card. But sometimes they don’t believe it is a real marriage and they question you. In my case, it took me a few years.

 

Q: Did you ever get to a point where you were frustrated with the system and wanted to give up?

A: I was consistent because I have a family here and I wanted it for myself and for my family. I know it’s a step to where I want to go and I had to obey the law by having a lawyer [and following through with the system].

 

Q: Thinking back to last Friday, how did you feel standing with those 24 other people and being sworn in as an American citizen? Are there words to describe how you felt?

A: I’m from Brazil, but I’m now here in America and I’m proud to be a part of America. And I get emotional because my family is here, and I love America and New Hampshire. It’s good to escape sometimes to Florida, but NH is an amazing place to live. I’m very thankful for America having me. If you think about America, maybe your grandparents came from somewhere, and I came from Brazil. My next generation maybe will think, “OK, Claudio is from Brazil but he is an American.” And I also want to be a mirror for my kids. Even living in America, I have my culture with me while being a part of [the DHS community].

 

Q: Do you think that the students of DHS should know what it takes to become an American citizen?

A: They should know that it’s not easy. Right now with the laws changing, the current President is thinking about whether to change immigration laws but it can be difficult. It’s a lot of stress and a lot of money. Some people think it’s easy—you go and you get a green card. But it doesn’t work like that. You have to abide to the law and see how the law helps you. Some think it’s easy to just get married to become a citizen, but you have to find love first [chuckle]. It’s a process. For some cases it can be harder than mine; America wants to make sure it’s the good guys staying here. We definitely have people who are here, pay taxes, have a family. They should definitely have the right to be a citizen. Everybody has to be given a chance in life.

 

Q: Do you think that your life will be any different from before now that you have officially become a citizen?

A: I will never forget where I come from. And I’m glad that America has given me the right to stay here. I want to be a good citizen; I want to vote, pay my tax, work, and obey the law. The law should be obeyed by everyone, no matter if they’re from the bottom or the top. And I want to continue learning from [DHS students] about American culture. I want you guys to open your minds and think that many people who come to America are good people and they should have a chance like me.

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One Response to "Q&A: Claudio Rodrigues"

  1. Patricia Breslin, Gary James Zirpolo says:

    Congratulations to Claudio. Very nicely written. Thank you for sharing

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