In May, Anna Springer, an immigration specialist at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City sent out a celebratory email to all IRC staff. It read: “Check out this NEW U.S. Citizen! Congratulations, Noella!” She included the following photo:
We followed up with Noella to learn more about her story and congratulate her on becoming a U.S. citizen:
Why is it important to you to be a U.S. citizen?
I’ve been a refugee for so long. I wanted to be a U.S. citizen. My parents were from Burundi, but I was born in Rwanda, then my family went to Tanzania. We came to the U.S. when I was 15. Most importantly, I can go back to Burundi to visit family now with my US passport.
What are your hopes for the future as a U.S. citizen?
Now, I can travel with no problem. Now, I can bring my fiancé to the U.S. I’m happy now I’m a citizen.
Did anyone help you study for the naturalization exam?
Gabi [Baraghoshi, a former IRC citizenship education volunteer] did! She made me study every Saturday—we met for an hour. She did her best, she pushed me. The process was taking too long, I was going to give up, but she pushed me to study.
Noella helped many people in her family and community on their path to citizenship, often interpreting at meetings and helping fill out paperwork. She watched her parents, sisters and grandmother obtain their citizenship. We are so proud and thrilled for her!
The IRC in Salt Lake City offers a variety of immigration services overseen by two accredited immigration specialists. These services are offered to refugees and other new Americans as well as community members. For more information about the services we provide, including assistance with green card applications and help through the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, email us at SaltLakeCity [at] rescue.org (subject: Immigration%20Services%20-%20Inquiry) .