Good feature story from the Las Vegas Sun
Nothing particularly new here, but there was a good story on the ups and downs of naturalization at the Las Vegas Sun this Sunday: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/sep/01/immigrants/
For these immigrants, benefits of US citizenship worth any struggle
- “It’s like being born again,” Monterroso said. “The ceremony was very emotional. You finally feel like you are part of the country and can exercise your full rights. We had the realization that without us participating, this was not going to be the country that we wanted.”
- “I had the same issues that a lot of people today have,” Monterroso said. “I was afraid of the process. I was afraid of trusting people with my documents. I was afraid of the test. "I was intimidated by the process, but when I went, it turned out to not be so hard.”
- Some naturalize because they see it as the culmination of a lifelong love affair with an adopted country. Many people, like Monterroso, want to vote and fully participate in U.S. politics and society. Still others are motivated by different opportunities only open to citizens.
- “When I get sworn in, it will be for my family and my country,” she said. “The (United) States have given me so much. It’s given me a great education, it has provided opportunities to develop as a professional and work toward who I want to become. Becoming a citizen is all about who I can become now and the things I can do for my family and community.” Franco reminds the permanent residents she knows that they cannot truly participate in their communities until they earn citizenship.“ Come 2016, I’m so ready to get my sticker and be able to say I voted in a presidential election. I can’t wait to tell my kids one day,” she said.
- “When I became a citizen, I felt like my world changed 100 percent. It was euphoria,” she said with a broad smile on her face, hands raised to the sky. “I wanted to scream from happiness and kiss the ground.” Montalvo, 63, had been eligible to apply for citizenship for years, but was intimidated by the process. She worried her English was not quite good enough and her knowledge of U.S. history and government procedure was not strong enough. “My husband encouraged me and always said it’s not as hard as you think,” Montalvo said. Finally, partly motivated by watching the 2012 election cycle pass by without being able to participate, Montalvo paid the fee and hit the books.
- “The most important thing for me is I wanted to vote,” she said. “I wanted to participate in the U.S. democracy because I love this country.” Older immigrants like Montalvo are particularly intimidated by the process, since they are less likely to speak English fluently and did not go through U.S. schools. She has three children who did, though, and her son Chris helped Montalvo prep. “I hadn’t done it before, because I was always afraid I wouldn’t pass,” she said. “Afterward, I thought to myself: ‘Why didn’t I do this a long time ago?’”