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Archived from our former blog, The Beacon.

Despite Distance, Soldier Celebrates Naturalization with His Family

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When Laura Fregoso became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 22, 2015, she knew that it was very unlikely her husband, Army Maj. Ricardo Fregoso, who is stationed 8,000 miles away in Kuwait, would be able to join the family for her naturalization ceremony. So she had an idea. What if he was able to join them using the technology on her smartphone?

With special permission from the Los Angeles District Office, Laura was able to share her experience of reciting the Oath of Allegiance through her phone's live video app.

Laura Fregoso takes the Oath of Allegiance with husband, Maj. Ricardo Fregoso, looking on from Kuwait via videoconference.

Laura met her husband in high school in Los Angeles, although at first, they were just friends.  After high school, Ricardo began Basic Training with the Army, and they wrote letters to each other. They were soon married, and Laura's life as a military spouse began. Laura and Ricardo have been married for 16 years and have two children, Brizna, 14 and Ricky, 11.  

Laura said her husband has waited a long time for her to become a citizen.

"My husband was emotional during the ceremony because he has wanted this for me for so long," she said. "I asked for him to be included because I was pledging to honor the country he is fighting for."

The Los Angeles Field Office was instrumental in Laura's path to citizenship and Major Fregoso's ability to be present for his wife’s naturalization.  USCIS Los Angeles Field Office District Director Susan M. Curda shared:

"I have a very special place in my heart for these men and women who put themselves in harm's way to ensure our continued safety and freedom. I'm very happy we were able to afford Maj. Fregoso the opportunity to be present for his wife's momentous occasion of becoming a U.S. citizen."

Laura's immigration services officer, Emmanuel "Manny" Salomon, himself a retired Army veteran of 20 years, said "we serve our service members."

When asked how she felt about becoming an American citizen, Laura said she always gets emotional when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and this time was no exception. She said she felt honored, grateful, and privileged. She went on to say, "Now my family is complete."

Laura Fregoso with her family, including her husband, Maj. Ricardo Fregoso via videoconference.