A 61-year-old Seattle man who hails from Vietnam has gained his citizenship after a long, hard-fought game of diligence. The man’s problems began approximately 22 years ago when he was working as a tour guide in Vietnam. Unbeknownst to him, a group of former United States Navy Seals asked the man to take them to a restricted area. He took them, and this resulted in him being detained by Vietnamese officials.

He eventually made his way to the United States in 1996 to escape unfair prosecution. He was initially denied asylum in 1997; however, over the years he engaged in more than a decade of community service. By 2009, he had completed over 9,000 hours of community service for different organizations in the Seattle area. He has truly made an incredible contribution to the United States and his community.

Not only did his incredible record of service help him win his much-deserved citizenship, but military personnel remembered his actions in Vietnam that led to his arrest and self-imposed exile. These military personnel came forward to help him win his case. According to a friend of the man, “He glowed with such peace and joy,” when he received his citizenship during the naturalization ceremony. Approximately two dozen people attended the ceremony to support the man and his family members who were also present.

If you would like to seek asylum or if you would like to pursue U.S. citizenship in some other fashion, legal options may be available to you. Make sure you review your situation to determine the best course of action that suits your situation and needs.

Source: Northwest Asian Weekly, “Asylum seeker wins marathon fight for US citizenship,” James Tabafunda, April 26, 2018