June 28, 2016
By Elsa Valdiviezo, translation manager for the Sisters of Mercy
Elsa proudly displays her citizenship papers.
What a joy to give thanks for so many blessings received! I have so much to be thankful for and celebrate, especially in this Jubilee Year of Mercy!
Starting the year, at the end of January, right after the biggest snowstorm in Washington, D.C., of 2016, I was shoveling my way out to attend the Oath Ceremony to finally become a U.S. citizen!
My friend and I set out to Baltimore, Maryland, to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office for the Naturalization Oath Ceremony. Suddenly, in the middle of the trip, I felt like I was in a dream. I started to ask: “Is this real? Are we truly going there? Is this actually happening?” My friend just smiled back gently and kept on driving and talking. It was a very long-treasured and awaited dream indeed—almost 25 years, following a series of long processes which revealed the broken and ineffective immigration system in need of so much reform in this country. But, I never gave up. I kept on trying, persevering in spite of the odds, in the midst of fears and doubts, uncertain of what might work or not, and when. I learned what living with the unknown means, waiting for so long. It was painful when hearing about raids. It hurt deeply when listening about people deported, the broken dreams of families. It was difficult living in this country without the chance to leave because the processes may not permit. Having an “alien number” was also very uncomfortable. I understand why people keep coming to this country and risk all to come to look for a better future and life. Read More