Photo: Flavio at Flickr
In Chicago, Ignacia Moya took the oath of citizenship this week. What is unique is that Maya is 106 years old having immigrated here from Mexico in the 1960’s. With her ability to learn English well enough to pass the test being hampered by hearing and eyesight problems, Moya persevered. She enlisted the help of Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to help make her dream come true. Moya was issued a special waver for the test from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
“The paper work, the fees, the unresponsive bureaucracy, these all discourage immigrants from applying,” Gutierrez commented, “but their determination to become Americans wins out in the end.” No matter how old they are, people usually want to be recognized as a real member of the place they call home. You might be surprised to learn that Moya is not the oldest person to take the U.S. oath of citizenship: that record goes to a woman from Turkey who was 117 years old when she was finally granted citizenship.
Moya lived long enough to see her dream come true. The truth of the matter is that at the current rate, Mexicans who immigrate and become permanent residents or citizens must wait 131 years to be joined by a brother or sister and 112 years for a child over 21 and unmarried to gain a family visa.