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Immigrants take steps to the American dream

first_imgMaria Ruiz has felt both blessed and voiceless since 1989.That’s when she escaped a bad marriage and a bad economy in Mexico and came to the United States. Since then, she said, she has been living the American Dream: Working hard, providing a better life for her children, falling in love and marrying a wonderful partner, buying a home and settling down in Portland.“Save and work and save and work,” was her philosophy of life, said Ruiz, who works as a courier for medical testing laboratory. “This country has given me the opportunity to be treated like a human being. To be treated with respect. I love it very much. I feel like I belong here.”Does this country share the feeling? On Saturday, Ruiz came to a Citizenship Day hosted by Clark College where volunteer attorneys, paralegals, translators and other community resources offered free consultations and assistance with filling out citizenship applications.The answer for Ruiz was — not yet. She’s been a legal resident with a green card for the last two years; before that she was undocumented. To apply for legal citizenship you must have been a lawful, permanent resident for five years, or three years if you’re married to a U.S. citizen.“I cannot wait to become a citizen,” she said. “I care about what’s going on in this country, I care about getting involved. I want to vote. I am excited.”last_img read more

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