Lafayette business owner talks about process of becoming a citizen

A recent tweet from President Donald Trump has people nervous about the future of their undocumented friends in the area. We talked to a Lafayette man who became a citizen in 2012.

Posted: Jun 20, 2019 4:25 PM
Updated: Jun 20, 2019 6:35 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — When Jose Garcia's youngest son was two days old, he had to return to Mexico to continue the process of becoming a U.S citizen. He left behind his wife and three children in the states as he waited an entire year for citizenship in the United States. 

"It was one of the worst things I've done," said Garcia. 

However, life is a lot better now. He's a legal U.S. citizen and owns Senor Tacos in Lafayette.

"You just have to play the game," said Garcia. "I mean you just have to do what they tell you to do."

He wishes the process was more fair. 

"Other people, they went there (Mexico) and they only stayed two weeks," said Garcia. "And they came back and they just got married and they don't have any kids so the process is different for everybody."

He understands why his undocumented friends don't want to or just simply can't risk leaving. He wishes they didn't have to worry about it.

"If you come to this country and you don't do the right things, you deserve to go back to your country," said Garcia. "But again, all of the people I know, they have families they are here working for many years."

President Donald Trump's recent tweet announcing the process of removing millions of illegal aliens next week have his friends terrified.

"They worry every day," said Garcia. 

"I would not read a lot into this," said Purdue political expert Jay McCann. He believes this tweet was more of a political strategy than an actual plan of action for next week.

"The infrastructure is not there for that," said McCann. "Congress has not authorized any money to make that happen, if it did happen there would be let's imagine enormous push back."

Isabel Garcia is so thankful her dad made the sacrifice to become a citizen when she was just three years old.

"I don't remember anything and I don't think I could have understood anything when I was that young," said Isabel. 

But she understands now and recommends citizenship to other families living in fear of deportation.

"It will help you and your family grow too, not just you," said Isabel. 

Immigration was a theme of President Donald Trump's campaign in 2016.

McCann said he most certainly is expected to ramp it up again heading into the 2020 election.

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