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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

A couple’s love transcends borders

Joe and Rita Rollins took part in the Naturalization Celebration: Ceremony of Citizenship organized by the Hispanic Policy Network.
Photo by Lucero Ibarra.
Joe and Rita Rollins took part in the Naturalization Celebration: Ceremony of Citizenship organized by the Hispanic Policy Network. Photo by Lucero Ibarra.

One application, an interview, a test and $725 later, Rita Rollins was one of over 100 people to pledge allegiance to the United States of America on Valentine’s Day in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom.
Rita Rollins was born in Costa Rica, but her path to citizenship sounds like the script of a romantic comedy.
Her husband, Joe Rollins, lived in Costa Rica for two years where he made many close friends. A mutual friend suggested the two meet because he thought they would make a good couple.
When Joe Rollins returned to the United States, Rita Rollins sent him a Facebook friend request, which at first he thought was spam.
“I used one of those online dating things and I kept getting all of this spam from Uganda and Nigeria and I said, ‘No. No more of this,’ so when I saw her friend request, I go, ‘No. This is spam,’” Joe Rollins said.
When he learned that his new friend was the real deal, they began to email each other over the course of two-to-three months. Joe Rollins planned to return to Costa Rica to celebrate their mutual friend’s birthday and in one of his emails, he offered to take Rita out for dinner.
“We decided to go to the beach,” Rollins said. “She was showing me around a place I’ve never been. My four days turned into a week and then right before I left, it was like, ‘I’m not leaving her behind.’”
Joe Rollins moved to Minnesota after his trip and Rita Rollins visited him on vacation. After a two-week stay, they decided to fly to Las Vegas and get married.
“It’s one of those risks that not too many people would take,” Rita Rollin said. “You never think about it.”
Despite being a United States permanent resident, Rita Rollins was not quite a citizen. After six years, she said the tense political climate and the new president prompted her to finish the process. Luckily for Rita Rollins, she already met some of the requirements to become a citizen because of her time living in the United States.
Rita Rollins said after she filed the application, she got her interview within a month and the whole process was five months.
“I’m very grateful,” Rollins said. “This is a great country.”
Contribution by Lucero Ibarra.

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