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Culture

Lawyer From Mexico Follows Proper Procedure on Path To U.S. Citizenship

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Submitted by Hilda Lorrando
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Kansas City Federal Courthouse: Hilda Lorrando Became a U.S. Citizen 12/12/18

“You need to do things right if you want to stay in our country”, says Hilda Lorrando.  “It’s a way to show respect and love for the country (where) you are planning to live”, said the recently Naturalized U.S. Citizen.

Hilda Lorrando, along with her American born husband Alan, and their 3 children, lives just outside the SW Springfield City Limits, and in this segment of Becoming American, from the KSMU Sense of Community Series, Hilda Lorrando shares some of the steps she took on the pathway to U.S. Citizenship.

“I’m a lawyer”, says Hilda Lorrando.  “I worked for the Government in Mexico City for the Health Department, where I worked with vaccination records and other documents.  We moved to the USA 5 years ago”, said Lorrando.

Among the first requirements for U.S. Citizenship, according to the USCIS, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is be a Permanent Resident with a Green Card for a minimum of 5 years, and Hilda Lorrando says complete honesty is a must when filling out applications, and in one on one interviews with Immigration officials.

“Yes, I remember the first time applying for my Resident Card, the Green Card”, said Hilda Lorrando.  “When I entered the office, they had a huge pile of documents just of me.  So they investigate everything from my country, different agencies.  So they know.  Don’t try to fool them, they will know”, said Hilda Lorrando.  

“Work hard and study”, says Lorrando.  “Be prepared and try to be confident. Don’t lie, and try to enjoy the moment.  It’s an incredible experience, that we are very blessed to be able to live’, she said.

“If someone out there is trying to get their papers, just enjoy it and study”, says Lorrando, “And not only study just for the (Naturalization) test, It’s amazing to have information and history about the country that now, is ours too”, said Hilda Lorrando.

Hilda Lorrando hopes to one day take the Bar Exam to become a lawyer here, but for now greatly enjoys being a Stay-at-Home Mom for her 6 year old son, Sebastian; 3 year old, Jordana; and 9 month old, Samantha. 

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Credit Mike Smith / KSMU
Jordana, Alan, Sebastian, Hilda, and Samantha Lorrando at Home in Springfield Missouri

Hilda Lorrando became a U.S. Citizen on 12 December 2018, at a ceremony inside the U.S. Courthouse in Kansas City Missouri.  Getting to that point included studying for and passing the U.S. Naturalization Test, in which the applicant must demonstrate, the ability to read, speak and write English.  In the Civics and U.S. Government component, the applicant must correctly answer 6 random questions from a list of 100 possible. 

“Groupo Latino Americano was very helpful with studying for the test”, said Hilda Lorrando. “They have different programs to help Latinos.  I attended the Citizenship one where they gave us the list of 100 questions that we had to learn and memorize and understand, that it’s about the civics and history of the USA, and we’re to be prepared”, said Lorrando.

During her Naturalization Test, and the one on one interview with a USCIS official, Lorrando answered questions about U.S. Courts; The purpose of the U.S. Constitution; The Statue of Liberty; Benjamin Franklin; The Fathers of the Constitution; and others. 

“I was face to face with the Immigration officer, and he told me I passed”, says Lorrando. “I was so, so happy to receive that.  The excitement in my heart, and I couldn’t believe it.  But of course we had to wait until the ceremony to be a citizen.  I had to wait 2 weeks, but it was pretty fast”, said Lorrando.

The mood was joyous at the swearing in ceremony inside Kansas City’s U.S. Courthouse, 12 December 2018.

“It was happy”, says Hilda Lorrando.  “Everyone was talking with our different accents, because of our mother languages. At the same time we were patient, but we couldn’t wait to raise our hands and say ‘Yes, We Are Americans.’  What can I tell you?  Since we moved here we wanted to do things right.  We wanted to achieve that moment.  You sometimes think it will never happen, you know?  But then it happened”, said Lorrando. 

“In my heart, it was many different emotions.  Happiness, excitement, it was like ‘I can’t believe it, we did it!!’   At the same time I wanted to cry of happiness”, said Hilda Lorrando.

“I don’t know, so, so happy that we now belong to this country, but at the same time the Judge mentioned something that made us all very happy”’ said Hilda Lorrando.  “He said, even though we are now American Citizens, the United States was a nation of immigrants, and asked us to never forget where we are from.  The Judge also thanked us for bringing our cultures into the United States. Even though we are Americans now, that was very powerful and valuable for the immigrants like me”, said Lorrando. 

“After the ceremony we clapped and started taking pictures”, said Hilda Lorrando.  “Taking Pictures with our families and Citizenship Certificates.  We were hugging our families.  We were so, so happy to see all the steps we took (to Citizenship) were worth it”, said Hilda Lorrando.    

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