In a 2016 Current Population Survey it was noted that immigrants and their U.S.-born children account for approximately 84.3 million people, or 27 percent of the overall U.S. population. Although immigration is an ongoing point of controversy for many Americans, there is no denying that immigrants go on to support many vital roles in the workforce including military, social work and labor. For one Elizabethtown resident, Emmanuel “Manny” Vizcaino-Perez, this devotion to country as well as service lead him to receive the President’s Award at the York Technical Institute Lancaster Campus 2017 graduation and also led him to a career in law enforcement.
Vizcaino-Perez came to the United States 20 years ago with his family from Venezuela. His family moved here with aspirations of a better life. He said he had always dreamed of helping people as a career.
“I chose the criminal justice and first response program because I always wanted to be a police officer,” he said. “I love this country and what better way to give back to the country I love so much.”
Vizcaino-Perez completed a 21-month program at YTI before graduating in May. While attending the program he also held a full-time job as an emergency medical technician, this was all while supporting his family of three children and his wife Jessica. It was due in part to his dedication to family as well as learning that he was selected for the President’s Award upon graduation which was awarded by YTI Lancaster Campus President Sherry Erney. The award is given to only one student. The 2017 YTI Lancaster Campus had a total of 225 graduating students from over 17 programs.
“The President’s Award is an award that recognizes superior commitment, enthusiasm and leadership, and it is my honor to present Manny with that this evening,” Erney said.
In addition to Vizcaino-Perez’s career and studies, he went on to achieve citizenship earlier this year.
“It has always been a dream of mine to be a citizen of the United States,” he said. “I want to participate in elections, be active in my community and protect this country that I am so connected to.”
After graduation, Vizcaino-Perez plans to attend the police academy and pass his preliminary tests in the hopes of going full-time as a police officer. He hopes to be a police officer for a local borough.
In Vizcaino-Perez’s acceptance award speech, he gave tribute to his instructors, family and friends.
“Thank you for the friendship and support, you are all my brothers and sisters now,” he said.
Vizcaino-Perez also went on to acknowledge his own journey to success, and wish the best for others.
“The road to freedom begins in the classroom and what we have learned in school,” he said.