The United States is regarded to be a place of opportunity and second chances for many who immigrate here. It can also be a place of refuge for those escaping difficult situations in their home countries, as was the case for Marvi Lou.
Marvi Lou came to the United States from Venezuela and was granted political asylum. Though she became a permanent resident here, Marvi Lou was most eager to pursue her U.S. citizenship. She tells us how, “This country has given me so much already—a chance at a new, safer life. Becoming a citizen was my way of giving back to the US and becoming an active participant in society.”
Marvi Lou took her first steps towards naturalization in March 2019, using the New American Workforce citizenship service, offered through her employer, Walmart. Seeing that her employer was offering this kind of help to its employees made her feel valued and recognized, but the support she received from her workplace didn’t stop there. She says, “My co-workers and supervisors both encouraged me throughout the entire process, telling me ‘You deserve this Marvi Lou, you deserve to be a part of this country.’ It was such a wonderful thing to hear, considering I hadn’t even worked there for a very long time. I’m extremely thankful for them all.” This endless stream of care and support was the main reason she has been encouraging fellow Walmart employees to take advantage of the opportunity as well. Marvi Lou explains, “I know it can be intimidating, but the informational and legal services that this program offers make the whole process much easier. I tell them ‘There will always be someone along the way to help you, you don’t have to worry.’”
After 10 long months of paperwork, interviews and waiting, Marvi Lou was finally invited to her naturalization oath ceremony and officially became a US Citizen in January 2020. When asked about her plans, she says, “This accomplishment gave me a lot of confidence, and now as a citizen I’m going to continue helping my community develop, by actively expressing my opinion and learning more about this country.”
Marvi Lou is grateful to all those at Walmart and the New American Workforce who provided her with support during the process. She is excited to see what her future as a new American citizen will bring.