It is one of the greatest dreams for immigrants in the United States: the coveted green card or permanent residence card, which most foreigners who have come to these shores yearn to treasure someday.
For some, the path to get it may be shorter, but for others, the wait time can be long. No matter the time it takes, when it is approved by the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and finally arrives by mail, the joy is intense, perhaps only understood by those who have walked the same path.
For Adrian Carrillo and his wife Veronica, the wait was indeed long: They came to the U.S. from Durango, Mexico, 25 years ago and received their green cards on Wednesday, according to their son Alex, 19, who was with them at their home in Chandler, Arizona, when they opened their USCIS envelopes.
As a teenager obsessed with social media and instant messaging, he spontaneously recorded video of his parents with his phone.
He captured the revealing moment when his parents opened the immigration envelopes and celebrated jubilantly their new immigration status: permanent residents. Dancing and crying ensued.
Alex then posted the video on his Twitter account, where he has fewer than 2,000 followers. He addressed it to “ignorant Trump supporters,” and in the blink of an eye, people began to share it.
“I posted it to inform and motivate people who are in the [immigration] process to not give up, and for other people to see that the process takes long,” said Alex Carrillo, a U.S.-born citizen, to el Nuevo Herald by phone.
“For those ignorant trump supporters who say “why don’t they just come here legally” it took my parents 25 YEARS and THOUSANDS of dollars to finally become residents. Blessed to say my parents dreams finally became true,” he wrote under his Twitter handle @its_alex_53.
Since then, the video has accumulated more than 7 million views, and has been retweeted more than 167,000 times.
Despite anti-immigrant rhetoric in some sectors of American society, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, he said.
Many immigrants have shared their green card experiences in response to his video. Many others, sons and daughters of immigrants, have shared how long it took their relatives to get the precious document: 20 years, 27 years, etc.
Green cards provide three important rights to immigrants: to live permanently in the United States, to work at any legal workplace, and enjoy the protection of all local, state and federal U.S. laws.
Carrillo declined to provide specifics about the legal case of his parents and why it took them so long to become permanent residents. He said that his sister, a 21 year-old U.S. citizen, “sponsored them.”
Now, in five years, they can make an even bigger dream come true: becoming U.S. citizens through naturalization.