As a naturalized citizen, Rie Sugisawa wanted to use her knowledge of the naturalization process to help others. So Rie volunteers every week at IIBA’s Napa office, administering “mock” interviews to IIBA clients, preparing them for their citizenship interview.
Frustrated by the anti-immigrant rhetoric of last year’s presidential election, Jennifer Boyle decided to stand up and take action. She was intent on supporting the immigrant community, so she contacted IIBA Board President Jennifer Beckett seeking volunteer opportunities.
During the presidential election, IIBA client Sarah A. closely followed the nominees' stances on immigration. Sensing unrest, she began the citizenship application process. The daughter of Yemeni parents, Sarah lived in the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom before moving to the U.S., where she lives with her husband and children, who are U.S. citizens.
When Maria moved to the United States her main focus was ensuring that her children had the opportunity to attend high school and college. Maria patiently waited 20 years in the U.S. before having the chance to apply for U.S. citizenship. This required her to not only overcome her illiteracy, but also learn how to speak English.
In a span of 30 days, Joey Yang’s online campaign, Make America Colorful Again, received 260 donations and raised a total of $7,344. All proceeds benefit IIBA and the Bay Area immigrant communities we serve. Joey’s goal was to help immigrants secure their lives in the U.S. by becoming American citizens.
After living in the United States for 31 years, Marielle Coeytaux-Britton can proudly call herself a U.S. citizen. Marielle took her oath of allegiance this past spring. She was recognized by the Napa County Board of Supervisors this past July, for successfully becoming U.S. citizens.
I was already motivated to become a U.S. citizen, and my academic dreams only encouraged me more. I began the citizenship process by getting in contact with International Institute of the Bay Area. Having a U.S. passport feels like having a key to the world.
Maria arrived at IIBA’s citizenship preparation class last Tuesday just as she had done every week for the past six months. But this Tuesday was different since Maria was there to inform her fellow classmates and IIBA staff that she had just passed her citizenship interview and was now a U.S. Citizen.
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.”