INS Grants Immigrant Dying Wish For Christmas: U.S. Citizenship
Manuel Lara Lopez has lived in the United States for 30 years, and has been a legal resident for 20 years, having immigrated to Texas from Mexico for a better life. He was diagnosed with advanced intestinal cancer, and said his dying wish was to become an American citizen.
Lopez was too weak to leave his house, so Tuesday, an officer from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services came to his home and administered the exam he was originally scheduled to take in January 2011, but wishing to grant him a Christmas wish, he was allowed to take it early.
“They normally wouldn’t be naturalized the following day,” said USCIS spokesperson Marilu Cabrera, but “because of his condition and it being so close to Christmas, we wanted to conduct a ceremony as soon as possible.”
District Judge Lee Yaekel of Austin said he’s done thousands of these ceremonies, but none quite like this.
With his wife, two sons, grandchildren, other relatives and friends applauding, Lara proudly held up his certificate of citizenship and a small American flag as he sat at a table in his backyard. He waited until every camera had recorded the moment before he put them down.
“He talked about it for a long time,” said his wife, Adelina Hernandez Lara. She wiped tears as she spoke of his love for America and the bittersweetness of his dream finally becoming a reality so late in his life. […]
“I wanted to be buried in the United States,” he said.
h/t Think Progress
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