Vivian Villar Buitron, originally from Peru, joined Catholic Charities’ Office of New Americans English and Citizenship class in the fall of 2020. On March 2, 2021, a year and a half after submitting her application, Vivian was granted U.S. citizenship.
Vivian shares her experience with the naturalization process during the pandemic:
I applied for citizenship on Sept. 10, 2019 and my fingerprints date was on Nov. 22, 2019. Then, I waited for the interview. I had an experience with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) because the first date for my interview was on Dec. 17, 2020, but two days before, they sent me an email to cancel because of a storm. They rescheduled for Jan. 19, 2021, but this appointment was also canceled because of an issue at the USCIS office. Finally, they rescheduled for Tuesday, March 2, 2021, and that was the big day for me.
I would like to say that the support from Barbara Greenberg, my Citizenship Partner, was so important. I think without her support it would have been too difficult.
Because of the help from teachers, volunteers, and administrative team, we feel more confident and never alone. Their support means a lot.
For everyone, the pandemic affects our lives. I lost my beloved friend, so I was having a bad time, but on July 31, 2020 at 6:40 p.m. I received an email about English and Citizenship classes at the International Center, so I decided to participate. This day my life changed, because all of you are like angels that God put in my life to make my dreams easier. All of you are the best support and inspiration to us all, with your love and immeasurably valuable work you have done for every immigrant, my words and my thanks can’t thank you enough.
Naturalization marks a very special milestone in my life. Now I’m a citizen of the United States of America, and that is an honor for me. In the ceremony, the presenter inspired me by the words she shared from the poem “The Hill We Climb,” composed by Amanda Gorman for the inauguration of President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. That moment was so important for me.
Now I can vote and I would like to say that I hope my aspirations and actions enrich our amazing country, society, and strengthen our democracy. I hope and I pray every day to ask dear God to give me the health and blessing to continue in this world, to serve and make efforts to help my community and adopted country.
And finally, what can I tell you about this amazing song (written by Woody Guthrie). It makes me cry with emotion in my heart and has kind of mixed feelings, especially today in this pandemic time:
“This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island,
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters;
This land was made for you and me…”