SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A KELOLAND man is celebrating something he’s worked nearly his entire life for– his U.S. citizenship.
26-year-old Anshu Chandra’s family moved to America in 2001 from India. It’s also when a lifelong goal began.
“My dad came here on a work visa. And then when he was able to bring his family over, we came over. And that was just about the time when he was finishing his residency up in Brooklyn, and that’s when he was tapped to come to be a doctor here at Avera,” Chandra said.
The family started the process of becoming legal U.S. citizens as soon as they could. The first step was living in America long enough to apply to be a permanent resident or a green cardholder.
“And then after that, and you have to hold on to that long enough before you become eligible, apply for citizenship. The application process is complicated and it’s lengthy,” Chandra said.
Regardless of the time it took or the challenges, it’s a goal he was excited to achieve.
“I mean, why, why does anyone, you know, immigrate here outside of there’s a promise for a better tomorrow? And I mean, it’s true to that, I mean, highest degree in that,” Chandra said.
While grateful for the opportunity, the lifelong pursuit at times felt like a moving target, and he credits his parents for each and every sacrifice.
“If there were new regulations that we were following them, if there was, if there was a new process that we’re staying on top of it, timelining, you know, and not to mention the monetary support that has to go behind it because all these application fees and the travel and then so forth,” Chandra said.
And on February 26th of this year, more than a decade of hard work led to a huge payoff.
“I’m just relishing this moment. Because it’s a huge milestone and you know, this is a testament to all my immigrant families that come here and go through that process. I mean, I get it. It’s a huge feeling of relief and, I’m grateful to be given that opportunity,” Chandra said.
Calling KELOLAND home and a place of opportunity, and himself, a proud U.S. citizen.
“I’ve been here for so long that this is home, especially, especially Sioux Falls. I have my parents here and my siblings are here. We’ve all started our established our lives here. And so my roots are here,” Chandra said.
Chandra plans to continue building his life in Sioux Falls as he moves forward with his newly received citizenship.