The IIBA classes are helpful for anyone who wants to become a citizen. They helped me learn all the questions, politics, and civics of the United States. I think all the instructors are professionals and helpful when it comes to practicing the interview process.
I feel safer in this country. I know that now I can travel to my home country and stay a little more time. I think it’s a great opportunity to start my own business, or to work for the government. Now that I’m a citizen, it’s a good opportunity to start something new.
I want to thank all the teachers who made these classes possible. They really helped me to feel more sure of myself, and also maybe to practice my English. I also want to thank the International Institute of the Bay Area, because they also helped me to get all the necessary documents together to apply for my citizenship. Thank you and I hope that this program continues forever. It is going to help many more people who need their citizenship.
Through her accomplishment, Maria not only has earned full access to all the benefits of citizenship for herself, but she has also paved the way for her son. “Now that I have my citizenship, my son is eligible to become a U.S. citizen.” Asked what she would tell someone in need of immigration services, Maria says, “I would fully endorse IIBA to anyone in need of support and help to make their dreams come true.”
Monica began volunteering at IIBA in 2009, after leaving her position at a law firm. “I am not any different at IIBA than I would be at a firm,” she explains, “but I feel more appreciated for being who I am here. It’s a much more human interaction. I didn’t get hugged by my clients when I worked at a firm. I didn’t get told ‘You’re the only person in the world I trust.’” At IIBA, “Clients understand we have their best interests at heart.”
When Elena Knapton attended IIBA’s citizenship class, the instructor, Sean, impressed her right away. “In a classroom with so many people from so many different backgrounds, he made everyone feel comfortable. When I found out he was a volunteer, I thought, ‘He’s really walking the extra mile.’”
“I always wanted to make my mother proud,” says IIBA client Antonio Rojas. This desire became his guiding principal when Antonio left his home in Mexico, a twelve-year-old setting out on his own, seeking a better life in the United States.
Once a child who sat under the stars, marveling over the wonders of space, IIBA client Moises Bautista now dreams of working for NASA. A student at Cañada College, Moises excels in his Mechanical Engineering courses, but a question mark looms over his future, a question mark that IIBA is trying to help him erase.
IIBA Legal Intern Lauren Bier is no stranger to volunteer work. “When I turned twelve years old my parents announced, ‘You’re old enough to start working at the soup kitchen!’” Her early experiences taught Lauren to appreciate the many advantages she has in life, and to look for opportunities to give back to her community.
When Ana Maribel’s husband, a U.S. Citizen, convinced her to leave El Salvador and join him in Virginia, he made many promises. Enticed by the possibilities for herself and her teenage children, Ana Maribel left her teaching career behind, packed her bags, and landed in an abusive relationship that shredded her self-esteem and in a legal mess she could not untangle on her own.