Maria Estrada and Jose Vazquez have been happily married for 43 years and have 8 children. They are always together and do everything as a team. After their adult son became seriously ill in the United States, they immigrated and became permanent residents in order to care for him. In 2013, they came to La Raza Centro Legal, seeking help with their applications to become U.S. citizens. Maria and Jose knew that knowledge of English and U.S. Civics is a requirement in order to become citizens, and they were worried. Jose has senile dementia which means that he has difficulty remembering things – even his address and telephone number. Maria has developed depression as a result of Jose’s dementia and their son’s illness. This condition hinders her ability to learn new information.
La Raza’s immigration attorney, Cecilia Candia, assisted Maria and Jose in obtaining medical certifications documenting their medical disabilities in order to obtain a waiver the English and Civics requirements. She also helped Maria and Jose apply for a fee waiver with the Immigration Service – without the waivers, this senior couple would have had to pay a total of $1,360 for their applications. Cecilia Candia helped Maria and Jose lower their anxiety by doing practice interviews with them. She also accompanied Maria and Jose to their interviews to make sure that there were no problems, and most of all, to provide emotional support.
We are very happy to report that Maria took her Oath of Citizenship on February 12, 2014 and Jose took his on October 22, 2014. With the security of citizenship, Maria and Jose feel more at ease knowing that they will be able to remain in the U.S. together for the rest of their lives, and most importantly, continue taking care of their son. The happy couple is very proud of their accomplishments and thankful for the services La Raza was able to provide for them.