My name is Fred Mariscal. I am the first in my family to become a U.S. citizen and also the first in my family to run for office.
I’m an immigrant from Mexico City. In 1992, I moved to Los Angeles on a student visa to study at the University of Southern California and decided to become an American. I “got in line,” but it took 22 years to finally take the Citizenship Oath. We need immigration reform. It shouldn’t take 22 years to naturalize when you follow the rules.
I grew up in a family committed to giving back and serving others. I believe that if Latinos want to improve their quality of life and their political clout, we must get involved in our communities, give back and do all we can to change things for the better.
That’s why in 2014 I decided to run for public office – the Los Angeles City Council. I didn’t win, but it was a great opportunity to let our fellow citizens know that Latinos come to this country to work hard, play by the rules, give back to our new communities and do what we can to make the United States a more perfect Union. I hope my story inspires other Latinos to get involved in the democratic process.
It was easy to get discouraged during the 21 years it took to become a citizen, and I know there are still countless immigrants who are waiting to even get a response from the government on their application. I tell you hang on, be patient, persevere and it will happen. It is worth the wait.