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Citizenship At Last for District Taco Founder

by ARLnow.com — December 5, 2012 at 9:45 am 5,158 79 Comments

On Monday, District Taco founder Osiris Hoil officially became an American citizen.

“Today America has accepted me to be part of this beautiful country,” Hoil tweeted at the time. “Today I became an American!! Thank you USA!!”

The naturalization ceremony was yet another high point of a whirlwind three and a half years for Hoil, a native of Mexico. In that time Hoil went from laid-off construction worker to food cart operator to a partner in an expanding local restaurant chain. (District Taco is planning to open a third location, on Capitol Hill, early next year.)

We asked Hoil about his path to citizenship and business success.

ARLnow: Tell us a bit about your personal history before District Taco.

I am from Yucatán, Mexico, born and raised in small town call Tekax. Due of a lack of opportunities, my family (dad and mom) thought that I could have better opportunities in the USA. So I came here in 1999. My first job was as a dishwasher at a restaurant. I then worked my way up to become a kitchen manager (that took few years).

ARLnow: How did District Taco come to be?

It was founded by Marc [Wallace] and I. He was my neighbor and I used to go to his  house to have picnics with my family and his family. He loves my food and we came up with an idea when I lost my job.

In 2008, when I lost my job in the construction industry, I told Marc that I couldn’t find a job in the same industry and he suggested  that I open my restaurant. I told him I didn’t have money for a restaurant. So we came with the idea to open the cart.

ARLnow: When did you first apply for citizenship?

I applied in 2004, right after I got married. The process was hard, because it takes a lot of paper work and patience.

ARLnow: What was your reaction upon first learning that your citizenship had gone through?

It was great. When they told me that my papers were good, it was time to study the history of U.S. and civil rights, because they do an oral test in the interview. I didn’t have any problem answering the questions, so I passed the test. One of the questions I was asked was, “Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?” I simply answered: “Thomas Jefferson.”

ARLnow: Was there a citizenship ceremony?

Yes, there were about 30 people that received their citizenship. We went through our rights as Americans and they showed us a video about what America is about. While the video was being shown, I was little bit emotional, because this is a dream that any foreign could have, and I was making it happen.

The final step to become a U.S. citizen is the Oath of Allegiance. We took the Oath of Allegiance and we also took the Pledge of Allegiance.

My wife and kids (Americans) were there with me during the ceremony. They hugged me and congratulated me after I got my certification and I broke on tears. We then went for dinner with some friends, and they asked me what I wanted to eat. I said “Hamburgers!”

ARLnow: What’s next for you and District Taco?

District Taco is one of my dreams. We will keep working hard and we will keep opening and improving stores.

ARLnow: What advice do you have for other immigrants who dream of moving here, living the American dream and earning citizenship, like you?

Never give up, because everything is possible in USA!!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Photos via Twitter.

  • MC 703

    Great story! Congrats, Mr. Hoil – keep up the delicious work!

  • craig

    congrats Osiris! I’m very happy for you.

  • Michelle

    Awesome news!!! Congratulations Osiris!

  • myhood

    Now that Santa Fe Cafe is gone (sob) I would kill for a District Taco in Rosslyn.

    • WestoverNative

      +1

    • eli

      The taco cart is at Courthouse Tues, Thurs, and Sat (during good weather)!

      Just one metro stop away!

  • Ahhlington

    Even from their truck, District Taco’s burritos are still huge and delicious. Congrats Osiris! Truly the American dream!

  • http://www.shredpics.com Dave

    Awesome story underscored by how awesome District Taco is. Congrats Osiris and thank you for DT! By the way, there is a new building popping up in Courthouse across from Sushi Rock that would be a prime location for a brick and mortar District Taco store :D) Pleeeeasssee????

  • MrMeow

    Sucker! he followed the rules.

    • drax

      Yeah, look at all the illegals who own restaurant chains.

      • MrMeow

        “I applied in 2004, right after I got married. The process was hard, because it takes a lot of paper work and patience.”

        Let’s reward people who won’t play by the rules then, eh drax?

        • drax

          How on earth did you conclude that from my post? Smoke too much catnip?

    • iiandyiiii

      So you disapprove of Mr. Hoil? Seems like a great American success story to me.

    • Say it Ain’t So

      Yup – y’all are right – MrMeow IS NovoSteve…. what an idgit…… A great story and he finds a way to insert a stupid, negative comment…. gads

  • Larchmont

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy! Congrats Osiris. Now find some time to work on your basketball game. ; )

  • Yay!

    Congrats! Love District Taco, so happy for you and your family!

  • Deadite

    El Chilango 4 life!

  • James

    Fantastic! Keep enjoying the American dream, Osiris, best of luck in continuing to expand DT.

  • Gleber

    Amen to all these sentiments. I stood in that same corner and had my photo taken 2 years ago when I was naturalized. Good for you!

  • Dr Seuss

    Way to go! DT is great!

  • CrystalMikey

    Congrats Mr. Hoil!

  • Mongo

    Is one of his parents Egyptian? That’s a great name regardless. Viva Burrito!

  • Quackers

    It may be a cliché, but I think someone who’s done what he has is more American than I.

    Love the tacos…

    • grammar nazi

      …than “me.”

      • Grammar Girl

        …than “I”

      • Louise

        Sorry Grammar Nazi, you’re wrong. Just add a “have” to the end to check. He has done more than me (have)? Or, he has done more than I (have)?

        • grammar nazi

          But he DIDN’T add the “have.”

          He used “I” as an object, when the correct objective case is “me.”

          Would you say “Please give that muffin to I?”

          • Captain_Obvious

            you need a life, seriously.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Sorry, but you’re just wrong. No one is saying that “me” is always appropriate at the end of a sentence. Far from it. In this case, the right word is “me” for precisely the reason Louise states. It’s a good rule – pretend the word (like “have”) is there, and it helps you determine if it’s “me” or “I”. As in, “who knows grammar better than I?”

          • Quoth the Raven

            Screwed up my own post. Nice work. Too hard to fix. I agree with Louise. And Chris.

          • grammar nazi

            In this case, “I’ is indisputably wrong.

          • Jerry

            In this case, the correct word to add at the end of the sentence is “am”. Therefore, “I” is correct.

          • grammar nazi

            Jerry,

            It would be correct if he had actually added the “am.” But he didn’t. That changes everything.

        • Mike

          Thank you, Lousie, for defeating the Nazi menace once again.

          A grammar Nazi who doesn’t know grammar is like a real Nazi who can’t goosestep.

          • Chris

            Good grammar times. It’s “I” but you don’t add “have,” you add “am” :

            “I think someone who’s done what he has is more American than I [have]”

            –or–

            ” I think someone who’s done what he has is more American than I [am]”

            [I am ] Just sayin’

          • grammar nazi

            I am right about this.

            If you want to add “am” then add it. Without it, it is wrong. It changes the I into a object, and in that case it must be in objective form: “me.”

            Here’s a good resource explaining it:

            http://homeworktips.about.com/od/homeworkhelp/a/iandme.htm

          • drax

            It sure doesn’t sound right to I.

          • Grammar Peacenik

            I always just use the add the “am” shortcut as well…..it is funny how odd the incorrect word sounds .

          • Captain_Obvious

            I wonder if grammar nazi does this in real conversations ? You sound like a good friend.

          • Jame Gumb

            The article cited by Grammar Nazi doesn’t back him (her?) up. In the examples provided “I” is being used incorrectly as an indirect object.

            In the example we’re using, “I” is being used comparatively, NOT as an indirect object, and is thus the proper pronoun.

          • grammar nazi

            “I” is being used as an object in the original sentence, in the same way as in the link.

  • Kendra

    Congratulations Osiris! Wishing you continued success! Thanks for making such tasty and affordable tacos! :)

  • Suburban Not Urban

    To bad Arlington County will price him out of his store space as quickly as they can., by overbuilding and charging exhorbinant builder concessions.

    • Corey

      Yes, Arlington’s dastardly plan to raise prices by creating more commercial space continues apace…

  • Cory

    This really makes me want a taco. But darn I’m stuck here in Rome. Congrats Mr. Hoil. Love District Taco!

    • Deadite

      Sweet humblebrag, bro.

  • Don Leathe (Carrie’s dad)

    Wonderful achievement(s) Osiris !!! It is the American dream come true and writ large as they say….
    It is great to see it happen for such a nice guy and someone that I have met and witnessed your generosity …. You are a great example for others with hopes for citizenship. You cook delicious food too :)

  • The Dope of South Arlington

    So I came here in 1999

    Legally or illegally?

    • Really?

      Obviously legally. He couldn’t have gotten citizenship otherwise.

      • Roger Mexico

        *ahem*

        “The Dope of South Arlington”

      • A friend

        He’s married to a US citizen so it’s possible to get a green card and then citizenship even if you entered illegally but it’s harder because you have to apply for, and get, a waiver. It’s other types of green card (employment and other family relationships) that got shut down completely. Having said that, I don’t know if he came here illegally or not. He’s a friend but I never asked him that rather personal question!

      • Arlgar

        Who cares!

    • Mike

      It sounds like he followed the rules.
      In fact, if more people of my parents’ generation were posting here, someone would have pointed out by now that Mr. Hoil seems to have done everything “according to Hoyle.”

  • Ballston Resident

    Congratulations Osiris Hoil. Your story is what the American dream is all about!

  • JimPB

    Welcome, citizen Osiris Hoil.

    And thanks for District Taco. Tens of thousands have seconded Marc Wallace’s esteem for your food with their dollars at District Taco.

  • Road Diet

    Congratulations!

  • Louise

    Beautiful story. Congrats to Osiris.

  • Roger Mexico

    Awesome!! Congratulations!!!

  • Old Fart

    A Mexican? Well I’d have to hear it from him, but this is probably NOT what Speaker Boehner has in mind when he talks of job creators.

    Just a guess.

    • drax

      He’s not a Mexican now, he’s an American. Duh.

      • Corey

        No, he’s still Mexican (and am sure he’d tell you so). The choice isn’t binary.

      • Corey

        (just in case that wasn’t sarcasm)

        • Karl

          It doesn’t matter. He’s going to contradict you, in an unnecessarily condescending manner, no matter what you say. It’s just what he does.

          • drax

            I don’t contradict people. And I’m not condescending, pinhead.

            Oh, wait….

      • Old Fart

        Yeah, I caught that. Thanks.

  • rites of spring

    He was always american. Canada, USA & Mexico= North America ;) Congrats, I know how hard it is to get citizenship.

  • Jenny Hoil

    Osiris – you are an inspiration to me, our children and our country (now your country!) I am amazed by what you have achieved. I remember the first year of DT (before the restaurant) when you had knee surgery and took the cart out yourself to Rosslyn on a snowy day with just you – on crutches – and pushed it up on the sidewalk. Your spirit and determination are rare qualities and emblematic of the values our country holds most dear. Congratulations and all my love!

    • Osiris Hoil

      Jenny, Gracias mi amor!
      I couldn’t have done without your support!!

      And to all, Thanks for all the responses I really appreciate it!! and let’s never stop dreaming!!!!!!!!

      • A Chilango-Americano in Arlington

        ¡Felicidades Osiris! What a great story. Best wishes to you and your family.

      • Brad Winkelmann

        Congratulations Osiris, We are honored to have such a great citizen, bien venidios, amigo! You and Jenny have a beautiful family and are an excellent example of hard work, determination, and the American Dream! All the best to you and your beautiful family, and for your business.

      • Don Pepito

        Saludos y felicitaciones Osiris y Jenny !!!!

        Don Pepito.

  • Shannon

    Congrats Osiris!

  • http://www.kbconceptspr.com Karen Bate

    Congratulations Osiris! Not only are you a wonderful example of the American dream, but I am also proud to serve with you on the AFAC Board. In addition to achieving great personal and professional success, you give back to those less fortunate in our community too — cheers!

  • Sue

    Beautiful, inspiring story! Sounds like an amazing man and we should all be honored that he opened his first (and amazingly yummy) restaurant in our fair county. Osiris, I am proud and humbled to call you a neighbor.

  • Chris

    Congratulations! You have worked hard to achieve your goals and reach your dreams – including American citizenship! Probably even more than many Americans who are citizens by birth, you know more about American history and civics, and appreciate your citizenship!

  • Michael H.

    Congratulations on becoming a citizen and on developing a successful restaurant!

  • P. Monroe

    Congratulations, Osiris! See you at DT Arlington in the future!
    And thanks for the breakfast tacos!
    ORALE!

  • Enriqueta

    Muchas felicitaciones, para usted y Su familia!!!! Es un Orgullo HispanoAmericano !!! :-)))

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