April 9, 2015 | Participant Stories

Emma’s Experience in Her Own Words


Photo: NY Daily News

“(…) It is thanks to [the CUNY/Daily News Citizenship NOW! Call-in volunteers and staff] that I am here today, proud of being a United States citizen.

Soon it will be my 10th anniversary of living in the United States and I have been around for two presidential campaigns (2004 and 2008), but it will be in this third campaign (2012) that I am going to participate by voting. This is important for me because I know that if I don’t vote I don’t count.

Last April, as usual, I was watching Univision and I saw an interview with [the CUNY/Daily News Citizenship NOW! call-in Call-In] volunteers that could answer my questions. So I wrote the number and called. I thought this was a great opportunity for me to become a citizen. I didn’t have a job, but I had some money. So I said, this is the moment. I called and asked how to have my N-400 checked by a professional for free. They told me to go to Jackson Heights to participate in a citizenship application assistance event organized by CUNY.

Later I went to York College to finish my application. I wanted to be a citizen to have more job opportunities. I met paralegal Yolanda Bastidas there. She reviewed the form and took my pictures for free. She also told me about the classes to prepare for the citizenship test. The CUNY teachers and volunteers gave me the materials to study and in just a few Saturdays I was ready to take the test. I became a citizen in October 19, 2011.

In less than six months CUNY gave me the tools to become a citizen.”