Chicago — Jose Iglesias, U.S. citizen.
“My name is Joe Church,” he said, laughing at the English translation of his name.
Iglesias, who defected from his native Cuba in 2008, passed his naturalization test on Friday in Detroit. He is, a decade later, a citizen of the United States of America.
“It was huge,” Iglesias said Saturday morning. “I am so excited. I came to this country literally how I am dressed right now – with a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, and a dream to be an MLB player. I made it through and now I’ve become a citizen of this great country.
“It’s something that is very special.”
Some 24 hours after passing the 100-question citizenship exam in Detroit, flying to meet the team in Chicago and arriving about 90 minutes before game time — and contributing to the Tigers’ 4-3 win — Iglesias was still stoked.
“This is one of the greatest things that’s happened to me as a person,” he said. “To become a U.S. citizen was one of my dreams. I am extremely happy.”
His motivation for pushing through the process? Family.
“My kids were born in this country,” he said. “My fiancé is an American citizen. I was probably the only one left in the family and now I made it…We saved the best for last, right? Just to be part of this great country is huge for me.”
Iglesias and fellow Cuban native Leonys Martin, who passed the test in the off-season, will take part in a naturalization ceremony at Comerica Park on June 25.
“We’re going to be in full uniform,” Iglesias said. “My family will all be there. It’s going to be a beautiful experience.”