News

‘My vote will count’: Migrants become U.S. citizens, just in time to register to vote

The deadline to register to vote in the November election is Oct. 11.

Fort Worth resident Joel Vindel got two gifts Wednesday: He was sworn in as a U.S. citizen after 15 years of living in the country on different types of visas, and — thanks to his new status — he became eligible to vote in the November election.

He and the 29 other immigrants who took the citizenship oath Wednesday at the Grapevine Botanical Gardens at Heritage Park were naturalized with less than two weeks left to register to vote in Texas.

“Now I feel empowered to speak out about politics,” said Vindel, 34, a native of Honduras. “I feel that my voice and vote will count — that I can contribute to the community by voting.”

The last day to register to vote in the November election is Oct. 11.

At Wednesday’s ceremony, people from more than 20 countries including Mexico, Honduras, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sudan, Jordan, Cambodia, El Salvador and Uganda were not only minted as new citizens but also urged to embrace one of the rights they just obtained.

“As American citizens, you must study and get informed in order to exercise your voting rights and make your representatives accountable,” said Barbara M.G. Lynn, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas.

“I hope once you leave this ceremony, you go ahead and register to vote in this and every future election.”

Mia Le Train, 36, a resident of Allen, said she was planning to register to vote Thursday.

“I know it is our obligation and also a right,” she said. “This is a very special and long-awaited day. I’m happy of being a citizen and knowing that things from now on will be easier,” said Le Train, who was born in Vietnam.

Mia Le Train took a photo with Major K.M. Van Zandt Chapter, Sons of the American...
Mia Le Train took a photo with Major K.M. Van Zandt Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, after the Oath of Allegiance Ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, at the Grapevine Botanical Gardens at Heritage Park. Thirty people representing 20 different countries received citizenship.(Rebecca Slezak / Staff Photographer)

For Haltom City resident Adiel Carrión, 31, becoming a U.S. citizen is just one more step in his quest to be a better person.

“Now, with the power of being a citizen of this great nation, we must do our best. … As it was said here, keeping ourselves informed and exercising our voting rights, something that in our countries is ignored,” said Carrión, originally from Honduras.

Joel Vindel, 34, raised his right hand while reciting the Oath of Allegiance led by Chief...
Joel Vindel, 34, raised his right hand while reciting the Oath of Allegiance led by Chief Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, at the Grapevine Botanical Gardens at Heritage Park. (Rebecca Slezak / Staff Photographer)

The ceremony was hosted by the Daughters of the American Revolution, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting patriotism and American history, in partnership with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

In March, the immigration agency unveiled actions to reduce the backlog on several immigration processes, including applying for U.S. citizenship. According to the USCIS, about 80% of all naturalization applications are resolved within 20.5 months in the Dallas office.

The next naturalization ceremony in North Texas is scheduled for Oct. 17.

Breaking News

Get the breaking news

Get email alerts on breaking news stories as soon as they happen.

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy