Saturday, March 03, 2007

Her Country, ‘Tis Of Thee

This story tells what an immigrant has to do to become a citizen and how long it takes. Fortunately for this woman, she already knew English. DP

By Gloria Trotter Before too long, Ana Jett will be pledging allegiance to a flag that is truly hers.

And before too long, she will be able to vote for her own husband.

Jett, born Ana Gomes in Brazil almost 29 years ago, is boning up on American government these days in preparation for her citizenship test. If she successfully answers ten questions put to her on March 10 — her 29th birthday — at the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) office in Oklahoma City, she will be only weeks away from finally becoming an American citizen.

While legislators like her husband Shane, the District 27 member of the state House of Representatives, are more often wrestling with illegal immigrants, there are many like Ana who are quietly going through the ten-year process of becoming naturalized citizens of the United States. It’s not an easy road, even for the wife of a legislator.

Ana came to Oklahoma seven years ago after she and Shane became engaged, studying at St. Gregory’s University on a student visa. A year later, they married and she got a “green card,” allowing her to work in this country and to travel back home to Brazil. That first green card was only good for a year, but the next one was for five years — time that is just about up.

So even before Shane was elected to the Legislature, they began the process. “It took us longer because Shane did it himself instead of hiring a lawyer,” Ana said. “It costs about $4,000 with a lawyer and about $2,000 without. We were poor.”
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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