At 16 years old, Sara came to the United States with her sister, in search of a more promising future.

She enrolled in high school in Dallas, and quickly set about tackling the challenges of acclimating to a new country and language.

Yet, those weren’t the only challenges she would face in her new home – she found herself in an abusive relationship, pregnant and, in a few years, the mother of three children.

Though her journey was long and arduous, she beat the odds and, in 2005, became a permanent resident. She recently became eligible to apply for citizenship.

For a single working mother with three children, becoming a citizen presented a real challenge –after all, naturalization requires time and money. Her family and friends began encouraging her to take that step and, when faced with the choice of replacing her green card or applying for citizenship, Sara chose citizenship.

She visited our partners at Catholic Charities of Dallas as a woman no longer defined by her past, but confident and eager to begin the process of naturalization, and ready to tackle her future. The New Americans Campaign and Catholic Charities of Dallas helped her navigate the citizenship process and save money in the process.

When asked if she believes someone should apply for citizenship or not, Sara offers this simple yet sound advice: “If you can buy material things, you can spend the money on becoming a citizen.”

For Sara, this final achievement is worth more than she ever imagined. On the day of her oath ceremony, Sara was filled with an array of emotions. She reminisced of the day she crossed the border with her sister and somberly wished that she was there, too. 

Then, with a smile, she talked about the stability and promise that citizenship will help her family attain in the country she calls home.