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Immigrant Unaware of Legal Status

Wilfredo Garza lived the life of an illegal immigrant for more than 35 years. Year after year, he eked out a living crossing the border from Mexico into the United States—some days finding work, some days not. Regardless, he was constantly looking over his shoulder. He was caught by the Border Patrol four times during that period and bused back to Mexico every time. Undeterred by each apprehension, he swam back across the Rio Grande to try again.

The cycle would likely have continued for several more years if not for an amazing discovery. One day, Wilfredo worked up the courage to walk into an immigration lawyer's office. There, incredibly, he found out that his father was born in Texas and spent time working there, which meant that Wilfredo was actually a U.S. citizen!

All these years he possessed the very papers—his father's birth certificate and work records—that proved his citizenship, and yet he lived in guilt and fear. Now he has a certificate of citizenship. Now he doesn't have to sneak across the border; he can walk through the main gate.

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