By marlys good
Tuesday, June 11 was a red-letter day for Marisela Castro. Not only did she become a United States citizen, so did her 17-year-old daughter Jarely.
Explains Marisela, “I was very happy because my daughter Jarely would automatically become a U.S. citizen since she was under 18. I knew that this step was essential because more opportunities would open for her in this country.”
The Naturalization Service held at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center in Powell was the end of a dream that began about 14 years ago when Ramon and Marisela and 3-year-old Jarely came to Wyoming from Chihuahua, Mexico.
“At first life was hard here,” said Marisela, “missing my family, different customs and language. Even though I had studied English during my high school years and in a Science Communication Academy during a short period in Mexico, my English was a little blurry after all those years.”
The Castros returned to Mexico several times, but when Marisela was expecting her second child, that no longer happened. “We preferred that he should be born here,” she explained. Brayan was born in Powell, as was the Castro’s son, Irving, four years later.
By working every day the young family got involved with both life in America and the English language and when Irving arrived the Castros were “seeing Greybull as a home.”
Marisela received her residency and began the arduous task of obtaining her citizenship. “I worked on my English and 100 civic questions for the U.S. Naturalization test, and my reading and writing as well,” she explained. The studying was just part of the process. There was paperwork, numerous applications, fingerprinting … and when all this was completed there was an interview with immigration “of the questions I studied for — as well as reading and writing. The whole process took months.”
Jarely said the long process was difficult for her mother. “The naturalization questions for the interview were very difficult and it was said in her ceremony that about 70 percent of Americans fail most of the questions on American history, so this was quite a struggle for her since her country is Mexico. But at the end she did it and finally reached her goal of answering all 100 questions without any problem. I was very proud of her for accomplishing the task and finally passing her test. She worked very hard and was very positive and confident about everything.”
It was worth it all when she was administered the oath of citizenship at Heart Mountain. “The day was very joyful and special to me because it was filled with promises of better opportunities and the ability to vote.”
When it was her turn to step to the microphone to address the audience and speak about the her new citizenship, Marisela admitted, “The moment I stood up and went straight to the microphone, I felt vey emotional and I had a knot in my throat
“I am very proud and very thankful with this country for offering me many great things. I have always been surrounded by wonderful people in this country and have been blessed with their support. I worked very hard and I finally made it. If you are a good citizen anything is possible to obtain.”
Jarely said the day her mother passed the test she was not only very happy “but thankful with her because without her I wouldn’t be a citizen. My mom to me is a great example that anything is possible no matter what, even if you don’t speak perfect English; all that counts is the effort you put into your purposes and the inspiration to become a person with more privileges and better opportunities.”
The close knit family now shares another common bond. All five, Ramon, Marisela, Jarely, Brayon and Irving are officially citizens of the United States of America.