Truckee trio gain U.S. citizenship
February 21, 2008
Guillermina “Gia” Jimenez smiled from ear to ear with pride after being sworn in as a naturalized citizen of the United States on Wednesday.
Jimenez was among three Truckee residents who successfully completed the United States citizenship exams, and swore the Oath of Allegiance during a ceremony boasting nearly 2,000 people in Sacramento.
Jimenez said she and her relatives, Rosario Contreras and Julio Jimenez, have been preparing for the exam for years, and she said she was proud to have them by her side during the citizenship ceremony.
“I now feel safe and secure in this country,” Jimenez said Thursday during an interview at her Truckee residence. “There are beautiful opportunities here for my family and for me.”
In order to gain citizenship, foreigners must enter the country lawfully, demonstrate good moral character and possess the ability to read, write and speak English. They also need to gain knowledge of United States history and the U.S. Constitution, establish permanent resident status and pass a citizenship test, according to United States Immigration Web site.
Jimenez said it took 10 years to acquire residency, or a green card, and an additional five years to save for the exam while practicing her English.
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“It was a long process,” she said. “But when I received from the government my appointment to citizenship, I was nervous yet so excited and so proud.”
Cruz Novak, a Truckee-based retired English tutor, said she helped Jimenez prepare for the exam, and also attended the ceremony in support of Jimenez and her family.
“My parents never became citizens, so I know it’s quite an accomplishment,” Novak said. “It was a really exciting ceremony and I think everybody should attend once in their lifetime.”
Jimenez said she was initially drawn to Truckee because the Sierra Nevada mountains reminded her of her home in Guadalajara, Mexico.
She now works three jobs in Truckee to support her two sons who are students at Sierra Nevada College. Jimenez also attends psychology classes at the college to pursue a career as a family counselor.
“I’m so proud of myself,” she said. “My next step is to save my money for my sons to become citizens.”
Information provided by immigration.findlaw.com:
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