Stuck In The Naturalization Backlog: One Woman’s Story

american citizenship
Sene Debeli, 7, left, waves an American flag as she participates in a symbolic naturalization ceremony with her mother Shumitu Debeli, right, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Field Office in Hialeah, Fla. Both Debeli and her daughter were born in Ethiopia and are U.S. citizens. Lynne Sladky/AP
american citizenship
Sene Debeli, 7, left, waves an American flag as she participates in a symbolic naturalization ceremony with her mother Shumitu Debeli, right, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Field Office in Hialeah, Fla. Both Debeli and her daughter were born in Ethiopia and are U.S. citizens. Lynne Sladky/AP

Stuck In The Naturalization Backlog: One Woman’s Story

According to a National Partnership for New Americans report, Illinois has an estimated 17,000 pending citizenship applications. One of those cases is for 66-year-old Clara De La Garza, a Chicago resident who is feeling the consequences of the national naturalization backlog first hand. After years in the United States legally, the political talk surrounding immigration motivated her to become a citizen for the sole purpose of casting her vote.

Half a year later, De La Garza is still waiting to receive her appointment and will narrowly miss her opportunity to participate in the election. Morning Shift talks with De La Garza about her immigrant story, her time in the United States, and what finally pushed her to start the naturalization process.