An Inspiring Spirit: A New Citizen, A Century Old

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Chun Chung with her friend, Judy Yee

Chun Oi Chung turned 99-years-old this year. But she considers something else more newsworthy: her brand new U.S. citizenship.

Chun became a citizen this month, and she couldn’t be happier about it.

In 1984, Chun came to the United States from China with a green card through her daughter’s petition. She enjoyed living in the U.S. and decided to stay, taking up residence close to her daughter and grandchildren near Union City, Calif.

At 99, Chun still lives there, now in an assisted living facility. Her family visits often. She only speaks Cantonese, so communicating with her must be done through an interpreter. Many days, an old family friend, Mrs. Yee, comes over to help with necessary conversations.

It was Mrs. Yee who convinced Chun to become a citizen, telling her about the process and the benefits of U.S. citizenship.

Before that, Chun had never received information about the naturalization process.

She completed her citizenship application with the help of Asian Pacific Islander (API) Legal Outreach, a New Americans Campaign partner.

“Just like many other lawful permanent residents (LPRs), Chun was unaware of the many benefits naturalization could offer her,” says Raheel Hayat, a supervising attorney at API Legal Outreach.

Raheel and other API Legal Outreach employees took Chun to her citizenship interview and her oath ceremony on Sept. 23.

“USCIS waived the English test for Chun because of her age,” says Raheel. “This made it easier for her to take the required steps.”

Chun Chung taking the Oath of Allegiance on Sept. 23

Chun Chung taking the Oath of Allegiance on Sept. 23

Nancy Wong, a staff attorney with the API Legal Outreach, attended Chun’s interview.

“Chun passed her exam with flying colors,” says Nancy. “At my request, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services granted an exception and graciously swore-in Chun on the same day as her exam. She’ll be 100 years old this January. In Chinese years, she is already 100. I’m very happy for her!”

Chun’s friends and neighbors at her assisted living facility she’s quite talkative. Despite any language barriers, Chun can make herself understood, even to those who don’t speak her language.

Although she suffers from arthritis, Chun’s in good health and she goes to church most weeks with a group of ladies from the community.

“I love to talk, love to be heard, and love to be involved in society,” says Chun. “I plan to vote in the presidential election this year. Now that I’m a U.S. citizen, nothing can stop me from being heard!”

 

Posted on September 29, 2016

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More