At Alliance San Diego, a big part of our work focuses on immigrant integration. We assist local immigrant communities through our numerous workshops on naturalization, DACA assistance, Know Your Rights events and more. These workshops would not be possible without the volunteers who are at every event. We spoke to one of our volunteers at a recent naturalization workshop, and she had a story that we needed to share. Below is her interview on why she wants to not only help others become a citizen, but why she wants to become a citizen herself.
Tomás: Go ahead and introduce yourself and why you’re volunteering with Alliance San Diego.
Daysi: My name is Daysi Aron and I’ve volunteered with Alliance San Diego since October of 2017. Today, I’m volunteering at this naturalization workshop because I want to give something back to the community, especially because other people have helped me through my own immigration process before. In fact, after 17 years, I just received my residency card yesterday!
Tomás: What? That’s great! High-five! How did that feel?
Daysi: It was awesome! I had so many mixed emotions. Just yesterday I was crying because I got that little card, and now today I’m helping people become citizens. I want to become a naturalized citizen eventually of course. There’s an avenue for me to become a citizen, I just have to wait two years. I mean, I live here. I am a part of the United States. This is my home.
Tomás: So what are your plans now?
Daysi: Right now I don’t have any plans. Everything I had planned was to get my residency and I did! I want to go back to school, but for now I want to get a job like a normal person. I still don’t believe it.
Tomás: What would you do if you became a citizen?
Daysi: If I was to get my citizenship, I’m not sure what I’d do. I haven’t really thought about that honestly since I’m still excited about my residency. I’d go and celebrate with my husband. Members of my family are also trying to become citizens and hopefully we can celebrate together. I also want to get my bachelors and start traveling without fear. I want to feel a part of this country--my country.
Tomás: You mentioned your family members are trying to become naturalized--what is that like for you?
Daysi: My mom and my sister started their naturalization process last year actually. My sister is waiting to see if she is approved, and my mom still has more to go. Being a part of a family with mixed immigration status, before I got my residency, I felt restricted. I couldn’t do a lot of things even though my family could.
Tomás: What would you say to others who are eligible to become citizens, but haven’t started their process?
Daysi: I think we’re in a crisis right now, and applying for protective status is a must. If they’re living here and if they’re eligible, I think they should try to become a citizen. Especially now. We don’t know what our government is going to be like in 6 months, or even after, so that’s why people need to take action now. There’s so many possibilities and so much help. It’s a benefit for them, for their kids and for their future. To those who are in the middle of, or starting their immigration process, don’t be scared. Look out for information! There’s so many organizations that are out there to help you, like Alliance San Diego.