New citizen says he found opportunity in America

20 years ago he left Mexico, his family

2/7/2013
BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Kevin Yu, center, formerly of the United Kingdom, is among 30 immigrants who became American citizens in a ceremony in U.S. District Court in Toledo.  Another was Guillermo Vidales Gutierrez, who told about his 20-year path to citizenship on Tuesday.
Kevin Yu, center, formerly of the United Kingdom, is among 30 immigrants who became American citizens in a ceremony in U.S. District Court in Toledo. Another was Guillermo Vidales Gutierrez, who told about his 20-year path to citizenship on Tuesday.

It’s been more than 20 years since Guillermo Vidales Gutierrez left his family behind in Mexico.

He couldn’t be there to celebrate his children’s birthdays, or to comfort them when they hurt.

He couldn’t hold his wife close at night or shower her with kisses in the morning.

But every week for 20 years he showed his love by sending his family money that he had earned from the odd jobs he worked in the Toledo area.

On Tuesday, all those sacrifices finally paid off when Mr. Gutierrez, 50, of Norwalk took the oath of U.S. citizenship during a naturalization ceremony in U.S. District Court in Toledo.

PHOTO GALLERY: Toledo Naturalization Ceremony: 2-05

He was among 30 people who were sworn in as new citizens.

“It’s been a hard life,” Mr. Gutierrez said after the ceremony. “But I came here looking for a better life and more opportunities. And I found them.”

In about four months his wife will be able to join him as a new U.S. citizen.

They hope their children, whose ages range from 22 to 26, will do the same.

U.S. District Judge Richard L. Speer called Tuesday’s event a “celebration of citizenship.”

“We should be flattered that these people want to join us,” Mr. Speer said during the citizenship ceremony. “There are approximately 250 countries in the world, and they chose us.”

Mr. Gutierrez, who currently works at a hotel in Sandusky, initially came to the United States on a work visa.

His goal was to find work so that he could support his family.

Cesar Angel, 22, of Jalisco, Mexico, had similar motives five years ago when he was smuggled illegally into the United States.

His goal was to find work to help support his parents and four siblings who are still living in Mexico.

That’s when his life began to take many unexpected turns: He found his first job at a Toledo restaurant.

It was there he met, and soon married, Marisela Angel, who was 19 at the time.

Ehab Nazem Abouadi smiles as he takes a look at his papers after being sworn in as an American in Tues-day's naturalization ceremony. He’s from Lebanon.
Ehab Nazem Abouadi smiles as he takes a look at his papers after being sworn in as an American in Tues-day's naturalization ceremony. He’s from Lebanon.

The newlyweds did not have much time to celebrate though. Mr. Angel was caught and deported to Mexico.

Mrs. Angel, who was then six months pregnant, joined her husband for a short period before returning to Ohio.

“I was able to get back to Ohio one month before our daughter was born,” said Mr. Angel, who currently works for an auto-parts manufacturer.

His long, tumultuous path to citizenship finally came to an end on Tuesday. Now his biggest dream is for the future of their 4-year-old daughter, Nadia.

“I want her to go to college and do everything she wants to do.”

The new Americans and their native countries are:

Belgium: Stephanie Anita Mol

Belize: Candelaria Roberts

Canada: Victoria Ann Bober, Niravkumar Dipaklal Parikh

Colombia: Jany Esther Paulett

Dominican Republic: Carlos Antonio Hernandez, Nilka Mateo

Ethiopia: Metsehet Eden Tamirat

Greece: Eftychia Papanikolaou

Guatemala: Karen Ivonne Susko

India: Rohit Kumar Gupta, Sandeep Kaur, Mital Mayankkumar Patel

Italy: Marco Riccardo Capelli

Jordan: Maysoun Ahmed Badawi

Kenya: Ann Wanjiru Njuguna, Stephen Richu Wambui, Charles Theuri Thuita

Lebanon: Ehab Nazem Abouadi

Mexico: Cesar Angel, Guillermo Vidales Gutierrez

Pakistan: Muhammad Iftikhar, Muhammad Ijaz, Muhammad Khalid

Syria: Bana Traboulssi

United Kingdom: Colin Yu, Kevin Xin Yu, Min Zhang

Venezuela: Jean Carlos Valderrama

Vietnam: Dantam Swan

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.