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A Brazilian with the heart of an American

September 29, 2009 -- Patricia Covolo knew she wanted to be a U.S. Citizen from the moment she moved to the United States. Covolo, her husband, and her daughter moved from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to New England. Living in New England was a drastic change from the lifestyle they were all used to. Still, Covolo had no doubt she had used her Brazilian passport for the last time. Covolo was determined the next time she would travel she would do so as an American. 

Achieving citizenship is a lengthy process. Anyone wishing to become a U.S. Citizen must live in the United States for five years prior to applying to become a citizen. Any trips Covolo and her family would take to Brazil would have to be limited. The Immigration Department keeps track of how many times immigrants leave the country and the amount of time they are abroad. INS could re-start the five year clock on an immigrant if they feel that person is spending too much time out of the country. 

An immigrant seeking citizenship must prove they are a person of good moral character and, according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website, an immigrant must articulate how they would benefit society. 

There was never any question how New Hampshire benefited from Covolo becoming an American. Shortly after she moved from Brazil, Covolo enlisted in the NH Air National Guard. Covolo swore to defend the Constitution of New Hampshire and to defend its citizens, even though they were not her countrymen. Covolo vowed to obey the orders of George W. Bush, a man who was not her President. After Sept. 11th, Covolo stood up to answer the call...even though technically, it was not her country that had been attacked. 

Covolo could not call herself a US Citizen on paper, but there was no doubt in her heart she was an American. Her quest for citizenship was long and very difficult. There were many obstacles Covolo had to overcome. Despite the hardships she faced, Covolo's American spirit only grew stronger. She never tired, she never faltered, and she did not fail. 

On August 21st, 2009, Covolo officially became a United States Citizen. Accompanied by members of the Logistics Readiness Squadron of the 157th Air Refueling Wing, she swore allegiance to the flag at the Immigration Department in Manchester. Her dream had finally come true.
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