Lubbock Man Speaks About his Transformation from Immigrant to Citizen - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/1/06

Lubbock Man Speaks About his Transformation from Immigrant to Citizen

Father Andres Mendoza first came into the United States in 1987 from Chiuahau, Mexico. He went from washing dishes at a restaurant in California, to hearing confessions of sin.

Father Mendoza wants lawmakers to make immigrants permanent citizens of the U.S. "My second time I came here was in 1993. I came as a seminarian to study in the U.S. at St. Mary University in Houston in order to become priest," said Father Mendoza.

He is a priest at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. He says the transition was not easy. He went from being a boy, raised in a poor family in Chiuahua, Mexico, to fighting for what he wanted out of life. He wanted to be an influence in America. "I feel so happy. I know we can make a difference in this country and give a lot to the United States," said Father Mendoza.

"I'm very proud to participate (Monday) in this rally and this march because I consider myself an immigrant," he said. "These are my people. I have the same feelings because I know the suffering. I know the struggles we go through. Now, I consider the U.S. to be my home," he said.

Father Mendoza says seven of his brothers are now U.S.citizens. Even his parents are living in Lubbock. "I am already a permanent resident. In a few months, I am going to be a citizen of the U.S."

Mendoza was once considered an illegal immigrant. It took at least seven years to become a resident and he's expected to get his citizenship status in a few months. Father Mendoza says there are approximately 150,000 immigrants in the surrounding Lubbock area.

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