An employee at a Bruce automotive business recently attained a variation of the American dream, gaining his U.S. citizenship.
Owner Bob Lorkowski and the entire Crew of L’cars Automotive Specialties, which has locations in Bruce and Cameron, congratulated Luis Leyva Guzman on successfully completing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Naturalization Test.
Guzman has been a craftsman at L’cars for six years and has been navigating through the legal process leading up to his swearing in ceremony. That big day happened on April 23 in Minneapolis, Minn.
Guzman is originally from Veracruz, a Mexican port city on the Gulf of Mexico. He received a green card after marrying about seven years ago. At about the same time he enrolled at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College to study in the auto body collision program. Soon after he went to work for Lorkowski at the L’Cars location in Cameron.
This November, he will have worked six years at the business.
As a long-time member of the school’s advisory committee, Lorkowski likes to hire WITC graduates. He was looking for a reliable worker who is capable of doing the job. Guzman fit the bill.
“The main thing is he is here legally now,” Lorkowski said. “Congratulations. He did it the right way.”
For people not born in the United States, naturalization is the way to voluntarily become a U.S. citizen. To become a naturalized U.S. citizen, a person must pass the naturalization test. Before applying for naturalization, a person must meet a few requirements. Depending on the situation, different requirements may apply including the applicant must:
n Be at least 18 years old at the time of submitting an Application for Naturalization.
n Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least five years.
n Show that you have lived for at least three months in the state or USCIS district where you apply.
n Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding the date of filing an Application for Naturalization.
n Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the five years immediately preceding the date of filing an Application for Naturalization.
n Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
n Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
n Be a person of good moral character.
n Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
Citizenship offers many benefits and equally important responsibilities. When you naturalize, you agree to accept all of the responsibilities of becoming a U.S. citizen. You agree to support the United States, its Constitution, and its laws. In return, you gain all the rights and privileges of citizenship such as the right to vote and travel with a U.S. passport.
When Trump was elected Guzman had been concerned about being deported before completing the naturalization process.
Once citizenship forms are filled out and submitted comes the wait to find out if they are accepted.
During the naturalization interview, a USCIS officer will ask questions about the application and background. The applicant will also take an English and civics test unless qualifying for an exemption or waiver.
The civics test is an oral test and the USCIS officer will ask up to 10 of the 100 civics questions. The applicant must answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test. A few of the questions are below.
What is the supreme law of the land? The Constitution.
What does the Constitution do? Sets up the government, defines the government and protects basic rights of Americans.
What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? The Bill of Rights.
What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment? Speech, religion, assembly, press or petition the government.
When do we celebrate Independence Day? July 4.
The English test has three components: reading, writing and speaking. For the reading test, you must read one out of three sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to read in English. For the writing test, you must write one out of three sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to write in English. Ability to speak English is determined by the USCIS officer based on your answers to questions normally asked during the naturalization interview.
This means an applicant must be able to read, write, and speak basic English in order to be eligible for naturalization. All three components of the English test must be passed.
Now officially a U.S. citizen, Guzman is looking forward to voting in an election.
“The reason I applied is I want to contribute to my country more by voting,” Guzman said.
The Guzmans recently bought a home, another American dream.
Guzman is completing his latest project, restoring a bright silver metallic 1954 Jaguar XK120 coupe. He encourages others to seek citizenship through legal channels, an expensive process with fees to the government and expenses for attorneys.
“It gave me satisfaction to see what I accomplished. It is hard to get your citizenship,” Guzman said. “It is not like applying for a job. It is strict what they want you to do.”
“I found a way to do the right things. I went to get my papers and learned the language, otherwise I would not be able to vote,” Guzman said. I was having goals in life. I didn’t want to live and work on a farm my whole life. I wanted to learn and communicate to have better opportunities.”