My Family and One American Spirit, at US CIS in Santa Ana!

Logo for UMAVA - the United Mexican American Veterans AssociationIn celebration of “National Hispanic Heritage Month” which is observed from September 15 through October 15, I had the pleasure and privilege to speak at the DHS US CIS office (Department of Homeland Security – US Citizenship and Immigration Services), in Santa Ana, CA, on Thursday September 29, 2011.

Several federal employees from other agencies were also present.


By an Act of Congress, the US President is required to issue a proclamation annually.  President Obama’s National Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation for 2011 was read by Mr. David Lester, Field Director for US CIS at Santa Ana.  The US CIS office closed early on Thursday and this celebration was observed.

I was introduced to US CIS by Mimi Lozano, Somos Primos publisherMr. Cesar X. V. Baldemor, Immigration Services and Outreach Lead Officer, was instrumental in ensuring things went smoothly.

As the Commander of UMAVA, it was also my honor to represent our military veterans community, in particular UMAVA (United Mexican-American Veterans Association) and to share a Powerpoint presentation for 30-minutes about my family, and how my family is like our military, which is like America.

The theme was “Many Backgrounds, Many Stories – One American Spirit!”

I presented how my family consists of several races, several religions, several ethnicities/nationalities, and several languages.  And although we are very different, we are joined as one, by:

  • our US Flag and our US Constitution, and
  • our shared values (Respect for the Flag; Fidelity to Country and our American Values & Principles; Faith and our own moral compass; Family; and Friendship).

I also shared how the greatness of America comes about because no matter the challenge (of which we have many), we always come together as one, and because we share the sacrifice.  Also I believe that we can all find inspiration from the resilience of average Americans.


CLICK HERE FOR US-CIS Certificate awarded to Commander Barragan

Mr David Lester, US-CIS Field Director; My wife Valeria-Associate Professor at Saddleback College, and Me

Opportunities Created by Sacrifices of our USA Veterans

It is incredible, and fortunate for me that in America, I went from being an immigrant child (with language challenges – I spent one year in an intensive bilingual program; and economic challenges working in the agricultural fields from 12-19 years of age in Merced County), attending night school for about 5 years, paying my way through college, serving in the US Marines (graduating as the Top Honor Graduate & receiving a Meritorious Promotion) and CA Army National Guard, being the first in my family to graduate from college, working for one of the top accounting and consulting firms in the world (a “Big 4” company), to then becoming a Chief Audit Executive with some top multinational companies, and traveling to about 28 countries and 22 states.

And I know I had these opportunities because this was made possible by the sacrifices and contributions by our USA military veterans who ensure our freedoms and our economic prosperity; and because our Nation’s success is greater, the greater our inclusiveness of our diverse communities!

And because my fourth-grade Bilingual Teacher Ms. Linda Giles took special interest in my education and would take me to the museums, the Ballet, and other places in San Diego, and as a way of saying “thank you!” to her and my adopted country, I am contributing to the improvement of our community, by serving, leading, volunteering, and consulting pro-bono for several not-for-profit organizations in Orange County.

(I wish I could personally thank Ms. Linda Giles for the great impact she had in my education.  She was a beautiful blond, blue-eyed teacher, about 25-30 years “young’, in 1973-74,  at Willow Elementary in San Ysidro, CA; and then she became a Principal at Beyer Middle School.)

My wife Valeria-Assoc Professor at Saddleback College, Me and DHS US CIS employees


Separately, The City of Santa awarded “Certificates of Recognition” to several members in appreciation for being part of the Independence Day Celebration Planning Committee, for the Independence Day event held on July 3, 2011 at Centennial Park for about 6,000 people.  This was awarded at the City Council meeting of Monday October 3, 2011 at City Council Chamber of Santa Ana, CA.

CLICK HERE for Certificate Issued by City of Santa Ana to Francisco J. Barragan

It is reassuring and great that when we celebrate the American Spirit on our Fourth of July, we are all able to put our differences aside and focus our energies on Celebrating America, and honoring the sacrifices and contributions of our active duty troops, our veterans and their families.

Picture:  Members of UMAVA Mexican American Veterans with Mayor Miguel Pulido

From L: Pastor Francisco Parras Jr.-USMC; Mayor Miguel Pulido; Antonio Mendez-WWII Silver Star Recipient; Francisco Barragan, Commander; Nelida Yanez, Color Guard Leader; Sgt Sal Lujan, Korea combat veteran

Members of UMAVA Mexican American veterans organization; from left Commander Francisco J Barragan; Mayor Miguel Pulido; Mayor Pro-tem Claudia Alvarez; Pastor Francisco Parras Jr.

Francisco Barragan, Commander UMAVA; Mayor Miguel Pulido; Mayor Pro-tem Claudia Alvarez; Pastor Francisco Parras Jr.


Francisco “Paco” Barragan, Commander-UMAVA, and Business Leader and Community volunteer

About Francisco Barragan