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Process of Becoming a Citizen!

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Hello everyone! My name is Joey Garcia Colin. I’m a 27 year old with a disability called arthrogryposis, which is a condition that affects the motion of a joint. Because of arthrogryposis, my body wasn’t able to develop properly, resulting in both my hands and feet having limited motion. Worried about my deteriorating health, my mom and dad brought me to the United States at a very young age to seek treatment. Thanks to their hard work and sacrifice, I was able to get multiple surgeries to have a better life.

Growing up, my family was constantly living paycheck to paycheck. Obtaining food and acquiring rent for the month was difficult, and it didn’t help that my disability had a strong grip on the reins controlling my life. Furthermore, my status as an immigrant hindered my ability to find and hold a job. Therefore, I was elated when the Obama administration approved DACA, allowing me to become one of the very first candidates to get their work permit and social security. From this auspicious event, I was able to work at the UC San Diego Medical Center as a medical assistant to a nuclear medicine technologist. While following my mentor around and listening to the discussions they shared with others, I became fascinated by the field they worked in, specifically the part involving the study of the human brain. It was always so captivating, watching the PET/MRI scan the patients’ brains, hearing the doctors discuss the scans and identify the area of the brain where partial seizures arise, and evaluating the type of medications/treatments still needed for the patient. I was very fortunate to have been given this opportunity, but unfortunately, it hasn’t been easy since the end of the internship.

After living in the US as an immigrant for 24 years of my life, I have witnessed and experienced the difficulties of not holding citizenship. By becoming a citizen, I will have an easier time searching for opportunities to pursue my dreams of entering the medical field. This way, I can repay the community that helped me up when I fell down. Not only has it taught me the kindness of people, but also provided me with a place of belonging. And now, I wish to return the gesture. However, I have reached a high hurdle in my journey; I’m currently in the process of becoming a citizen, but the last step of the process is to run a background check on me in all 50 states. Unfortunately, that will cost $5,000, an exorbitant fee that my family and I can’t afford. Once I can get this background check, however, I’ll be one step closer to fulfilling my dream of becoming a medical professional and helping those in need. Any amount will help, and I would be eternally grateful. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and thank you for supporting me.


Joseph G. Colin
San Diego, CA

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