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Rosalia’s Journey to Citizenship During COVID-19  

The world has rapidly shifted in many ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One transition millions have had to adjust to is virtual learning and services. In 2014, Rosalia traveled to the United States to be reunited with her children and grandchildren after her son filed a petition on her behalf. After spending five years in the U.S. as a green card holder, she began the naturalization process to ensure a future with her loved ones in her new home. 

As part of the naturalization process, applicants must taka civics test in English. Rosalia does not have strong English-speaking skills and did not qualify for a language waiver, which is available to applicants over the age of 55 who have held a U.S. green card for at least 15 years.  Rosalia and Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) staff were determined to work together to overcome this barrier. 

Around the time Rosalia began her application, COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. EILS closed its physical doors for the health and safety of our clients and transitioned much of its programming to an online format. EILS offered Rosalia free, online citizenship classes with our bilingual staff and she bravely signed up to attend.  Despite the sudden change to virtual classes, Rosalia remained committed with the help of her son to help guide her through. EILS sent the citizenship application to her house and helped her to fill out the paperwork correctly. 

With the help of her son and EILS’s bilingual team, Rosalia received the customized support she needed to continue moving forward – even in a time of great transition. Rosalia has attended each citizenship class thus far and showed great progress through her most recent English assessment test. EILS will continue to work with Rosalia while she waits for her application to be processed and courageously pursues her dream of a rich life with family here. 

It’s not enough to see a problem – we are compelled in dark times to take action.  Generosity inspires us.  Community and connection move us forward.  

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