Efforts to help immigrants become U.S. citizens are underway


AUSTIN, Minn.- Efforts are underway in southern Minnesota to help immigrants become American citizens.

“I just started with the workshop today. I have tried in the past, but due to different circumstances I haven’t been able to go through the entire process,” said Elia Bocanegra of Austin.

Bocanegra is originally from Mexico and 25 years ago she came to the United States. She’s been living in Austin for two decades now and she wants to become a U.S. Citizen for her 6 children

“I’m just looking to make a better life for them and open up more opportunities for them and myself and to have a right to vote,” said Bocanegra.

Even thought she was born in Mexico she considers America home.

“My parents brought me here when I was very young,” said Bocanegra. “So I haven’t had the opportunity to go back to Mexico in 15 years. To live in a different country at this point would be to start all over. This is home.”

During the workshop, immigrants got to learn more about the process of becoming a citizen and free legal screens were also available.

“Naturalization is kind of the end of the journey for many people,” said Sara Karki, Attorney for Immigration Law center of Minnesota. “I know today we’re going to have a lot of refugees who came to the United States several years ago.”

The ultimate goal is to give them a place to call home.

“They’ve never really had a country to call their own and hopefully by the end of the process after they become American citizens,” said Karki.

If you want to become an American citizen you can contact Sara at 507-460-8948

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