TWIN FALLS — Diego Rodrigues officially became a U.S. citizen on September 17 during a ceremony on Citizen's Day, but his journey was not a short one. He applied for a visa in 2011 after marrying his wife, a U.S. citizen, in his home country of Brazil. Shortly after, he was making the move to California as a permanent resident.
Five years later, he was able to start the process to become a U.S. citizen but encountered some bumps in the road.
"It's just at the time I didn't have the money or the time because it's a little complicated there's a lot of documents that you need to fill out," Rodrigues said.
But Diego didn't give up; he spent years enhancing his English to make sure he was well prepared not only for the citizen's test but also to be able to continue working as an architect, something he was already doing in Brazil.
"I'm an educated man in Brazil, and then I get here, and my English is very broken. It's still very broken, but it was worse nine years ago. So then people look at you and assume that you're dumb or uneducated, but people that are coming to the U.S., they are looking for something better, they are not looking to change the U.S. or anything like that," Rodrigues said.
Diego has been working as an architectural designer during his time in Idaho. Becoming a citizen means he will be able to finish the classes he needs to continue working as an architect.
"Pretty much I could build my future with society here. I'm not more oh you're just a weird guy with a weird accent. I'm part of America now," Rodrigues said.
Diego says he is excited to enter this new chapter of his life and never have to worry about being separated from his family.
"I am relieved I can be with my family. It is calmer now, even though you are not afraid of anything when you are a permanent resident, but it's still in the back of your head, what if?" Rodrigues said.