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“Don’t Fear, Apply for Citizenship”

September 22, 2016
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Adiela Vargas has had an exciting week. Last Monday she became a U.S. citizen.

Adiela, her husband and their two sons came to the U.S. from Colombia in search of a better life.

“We came in search of better opportunities,” says Adiela. “There was no work, no opportunity in Colombia.”

Adiela received her green card in 2008. She worked in a factory while her husband repaired vehicles in an auto-collision center. Her husband naturalized some time ago, realizing that becoming a citizen would present him with more benefits and opportunities, and he could be more civically engaged.

He inspired Adiela to do the same.

Last April, Adiela attended a citizenship fair organized by New Americans Campaign partner Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD). She received information about the naturalization process, including the material for the civics test and practice flashcards.

Luis Vega, the citizenship program coordinator at OCCORD, helped Adiela complete her application and connected her to free evening civics classes. Adiela attended these classes every Monday throughout the summer.

Adiela passed her citizenship exam in English on her first try. She’s already looking forward to new opportunities that citizenship presents.

“I’m studying and building skills to start working in the finance sector,” says Adiela. “Citizenship gives you so many possibilities. I really wanted to be civically engaged, and be able to vote. I look forward to voting in November for the first time.”

Her advice for green card holders?

“Citizenship is a great necessity, and a great, great, opportunity,” Adiela says. “If you need help, you can find organizations like the partners of the New Americans Campaign, just as I did. You can get help and support. Don’t fear, and definitely apply for citizenship.”