En español | Michiel Vos, husband of the Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, was content with resident alien status until he became a dad and felt driven to become a citizen.
That experience provided the impetus for Pelosi's journey to interview people at naturalization ceremonies across the country.
The result: Citizen U.S.A., her HBO documentary airing July 4 and this companion book. Pelosi asked new citizens — including many Latinos — why they chose the United States, and she discovered some surprising answers.
And she heard some surprising and poignant stories, like that of Demetrio Gallardo:
"I'm 92 years old. I worked in construction my whole life; I built some of the most important buildings in the United States …. I was working hard for all of my life. I am retired but I spent 22 years building up Los Angeles. When I was building the Federal Building, I thought, I want to be a citizen of the United States. The most special building I built is this [Los Angeles] Convention Center, where I am becoming a citizen." (born in Mexico)