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Felix Taborda: 88-year-old man from Venezuela gains long-desired citizenship thanks to help from Treasure Coast Hospice social worker

Stuart resident battling stage 4 colon cancer
Posted at 11:43 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 23:43:27-05

STUART, Fla. — A Treasure Coast man is proving it's never too late to chase a dream.

At 88 years old, Felix Taborda became a U.S. citizen in a private swearing-in ceremony Monday, after years of wanting to officially, and proudly, call himself an American.

"Thank you for your patience," an immigration official told Taborda before having him repeat the oath of allegiance to become a U.S citizen in the comfort of Taborda's home.

Taborda and his wife, Laura, waited for eight years to become citizens, fleeing from Venezuela in 2013 at the urging of their children in the U.S. because of the political climate.

"Our country is very, very hard to live in the condition the government has right now," Laura Taborda said.

They were both well educated in Venezuela. Laura Taborda obtained a master's degree. Felix Taborda has his doctorate and was a professor at the University of Zulia in Venezuela.

"It's very hard in our country right now," Laura Taborda said. "The salary is $6 per month."

The U.S. better represented their values.

"I like the most democracy, freedom and to vote, and I don't like communism," Felix Taborda said.

He is being cared for at home by Treasure Coast Hospice, battling stage 4 colon cancer.

In caring for him, Treasure Coast Hospice social worker Kelley Thompson learned of his wish to become a citizen.

She helped write letters, make calls and submit documents to immigration officials to help him get permission to take his citizenship test at his home. After passing with flying colors last week, according to hospice, the swearing-in ceremony was arranged at his home.

"Now you are a citizen, at 88 years old," Laura Taborda laughed.

She became a citizen in 2020.

For Felix Taborda, it gives him comfort that he will spend the rest of his years with family.

"No more worries about Visas and immigration and deportation. We're all together," he said.