Waiting for 57 Years….

Zoila waited 57 years to become a citizen, simply because she didn’t have the financial resources to navigate the system. Her family escaped Cuba when she was 7 and although she was eligible to become a citizen as a refugee, it was only when she connected with the Immigration Center pro bono services that she was able to obtain a federal fee waiver.  Zoila, congratulations on your US citizenship! 

Luis from Honduras brought his family of five to the US after retiring from working at a US Embassy there.  They have all become US Citizens. Congratulations to the Garcia family on receiving your US citizenship!

Immigration in our country is a complex issue but many may not realize that there are 36,000 legal permanent residents (with green cards) in Oklahoma who are eligible to apply for citizenship.  The WesTen District is home to the Immigration Center at Western Oaks Church of the Nazarene, one of only two immigration centers in Oklahoma churches that is recognized by the US Department of Justice, with accredited DOJ-recognized representatives on staff.  The Center provides affordable legal immigration assistance, free citizenship classes, assistance in filing naturalization applications for a minimal cost, free basic English as a second language classes and free conversational English classes. 

During the past 18 months, 53 green card holders have become US citizens through the assistance of the Immigration Center.

Husbands and wives, parents and their adult children, and friends come together to study for their naturalization examinations and attend free ESL (English as a Second Language)-Civics classes.  Possibly you are interested in joining them? The Immigration Center hours are Mondays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.; all by appointment 405-787-2042.  Visit here for more info.

More stories:

Gerald*, who came to the US from Mexico,  is a single father raising his daughters and runs his own business in Oklahoma City.  Although he was eligible for a federal fee waiver, without extra money to hire an immigration attorney, he was unable to pursue the option and stabilize his family.  The Immigration Center was able to provide pro bono services to supplement his journey to becoming a citizen.  Gerald, congratulations on your US citizenship! 

Beatrice* from Nigeria wasn’t necessarily planning to fall in love with a US citizen but after meeting her future husband while he was working in her home country, they decided to get married.  As the spouse of a US citizen, she was eligible for citizenship after three years on a green card. Beatrice, congratulations on your US citizenship!

Hassan* came from Iraq came to attend a US college and is now completing his doctorate while teaching.  He and his wife are in the process of apply for their US citizenship.

*Not their real names.