Infinera, a San Jose area-based company, is redefining the way people communicate though high speed digital transport networks that promise greater bandwidth and unbridled creativity for its users. A key to their success as a company is a deep commitment to their workforce, demonstrated through an ongoing partnership with New American Workforce. Infinera understands that citizenship enables their legal permanent resident employees to become more valuable workers and full participants in the workplace, community and economy.
After participating in a free citizenship workshop held onsite at Infinera through New American Workforce, Vikrant Lal found the guidance he needed to finally become an American citizen. An engineer from India, Vikrant came to the United States to pursue a graduate-level degree. After completing his studies, he accepted a research position with Infinera and began making significant contributions to the company. Vikrant often dreamed of becoming an American citizen, but with a busy career and personal life, that dream was put on hold for quite some time. In 2009, he took the first step on his journey towards citizenship by attaining legal permanent residency. For eight years, Vikrant mulled over submitting an application for naturalization. The decision he needed to make was bittersweet; as he puts it:
“Citizenship in the United States offers many benefits, and ever since I received my green card I knew I wanted to eventually become a full member of society. However, my wife and I faced a tough decision to pursue naturalization since it meant we would have to give up our Indian citizenship; such a decision can never be taken lightly as it would mean leaving behind an integral part of our identities.”
The reservations Vikrant had were soon put to rest when he and his wife welcomed a child into the world. Naturalization became the obvious choice as a means of establishing roots as an American family and receiving the same benefits their child would grow up to enjoy. In Vikrant’s eleven years with Infinera, he has worked his way towards a more senior role where his expertise helps drive new innovation for a more connected world. His commitment to a strong work ethic, along with the love and encouragement of his family, helped reaffirm his citizenship aspirations.
With the help of New American Workforce, Vikrant was able to attend a citizenship workshop at his worksite where legal experts from the International Rescue Committee helped guide him through the N-400 application. The hard work paid off as he and his wife were able to successfully submit their applications for naturalization this year. They are currently awaiting news on their acceptance and hope to soon call themselves part of a larger, more extended family: America.