Tomas Escotto: March 2013
Tomas Escotto has been a Volunteer Corps Member since February 2012:
Q. Tell us about yourself--do either you or a family member have a personal immigration story?
A. "I was a permanent resident since 2006 and became a U.S. citizen on July 2011. Although it was an interesting process which I handled by myself, there was something I didn't do correctly. While I filed the I-130 correctly, one per family, I misunderstood the instructions and didn't file an I-485 for each family member, thus my son could not acquire his green card at the same time I did. This is because for USCIS purposes you can file an I-130 per family, but you must also file an I-485 per each person who is expecting to be processed."
Q. Why do you volunteer with the NYC/CUNY Citizenship Now! Volunteer Corps?
A. "It provides a channel to learn, expand your network and keep in contact with interesting people from different backgrounds."
Q. What is your favorite borough to volunteer at? And why?
A. "My favorite borough is Manhattan, because in Manhattan you can interact with people from all around the world. It helps you enrich your cultural awareness."
Q. What are you looking forward to at the next event?
A. "To be available as a team member to help as many participants as possible to complete their process. As well as seeing the participants smile when they finish the process."
Q. How many times have you volunteered at our events and what makes you keep coming?
A. "Since I am a volunteer I have participated in about 15 events and trainings. What makes me keep coming to the Citizenship Now! events is my desire to help others complete their process as quickly as possible and help families to be together."
Q. Outside of work and volunteering, tell us about some special hobbies or interests that you have?
A. "What I most enjoy is reading, learning and meeting new people."
Q. When volunteering, which is your favorite borough? And why?
A. "Manhattan and Queens, because the leaders of these communities are deeply involved in the work of helping immigrants."
Q. What do you enjoy most at our events?
A. "Hearing about how CUNY Citizenship Now! is helping people with many years of permanent residence apply to become American citizens!"
Q. Has your knowledge of immigration law improved because of the time you have spent volunteering with us? What have you learned?
A. "Yes, it has. I learned a lot, particularly that as a team you get better results than working individually."
Q. What is your favorite section of the volunteer newsletter “Citizenship Now! Monthly” and/or volunteer website?
A. "Immigration news sources and practice advisories"
Q. What does community mean for you?
A. "Being ready and willing to participate and being involved in a community to improve and impact it in the most positive way that you can."
Q. What’s one of your most memorable moments as a volunteer with Citizenship Now?
A. "When in an event that took place at John Jay College in 2012 we processed more than three hundred participants."
Q. In what way(s) has volunteering with Citizenship Now! impacted you personally?
A. "It is one of the most satisfying activities I have participated in since I became a U.S. citizen."