By KATIE BORKOWSKI
CARROLL – After being in the United States for almost seven years, Jorge Ceballos, a native of Cuba, became a United States citizen on April 17.
His son, Victor Ceballos, a senior at Kuemper Catholic High School, became a citizen this fall after filing an application and paying a fee. Victor has been a student at Kuemper since he was a sophomore.
Since Jorge became a citizen and Victor is under 18, it was automatic that Victor could be a citizen without having to take any tests.
“I am his son and I am a minor, so it was automatic,” said Victor.
Becoming a citizen
When Jorge entered the United States with a green card, he traveled to Carroll and he now has a construction, remodeling business – Jorge’s Home Improvement.
“I started my business last year in July,” said Jorge. “A lot of people asked about my (citizenship) status in the United States. Becoming a citizen helped me.”
As a Cuba native, after being in the United States for five years, Jorge was able to apply for citizenship. To become a citizen Jorge studied and was on his best behavior.
“If you have problems in the United States before you get this (certificate of citizenship), they won’t give it to you,” said Jorge. “For the immigrant people, it (becoming a citizen) is the last step. This is very important for me and my family because we are now in the United States like American people. We have the same rights. It is really important for us. It is hard to get, especially right now.”
Victor and his brother Jorge (19) came to the United States about two and half years ago. Their parents Jorge and Yuselys Chavez went to Cuba to bring them to Carroll.
“In the United States, when you get married the woman’s last name changes,” said Jorge. “In Cuba, it doesn’t change.”
Victor reiterated that being an American citizen is important.
“It feels good,” he said. “It opens doors for applying for a job or a passport. You can travel anywhere.”
The family celebrated becoming citizens by going out to eat on the day it happened. They also celebrated with family and friends the weekend afterward – food, drink and conversation.
Victor also celebrated with his classmates at Kuemper on Oct. 17.
“That was the best part,” he said. “They were impressed and happy for me.”
The family enjoys living, working and going to school in Carroll. They attend church at St. Rose of Lima in Denison.
“I like it (in Carroll) because I have met really good people,” said Jorge. “Everyone opened the door for us. I am really busy (with my business) in Carroll. There are really nice people around here.”