Maria is a low-income disabled senior. Later in life, she went blind. When she could no longer take care of herself, her husband left her. Given her inability to work and lack of support, she sought government benefits to assist her. However, her non-citizen status prevented her from qualifying for these benefits. Maria approached CCLA seeking assistance with her citizenship application, a pivotal step in improving her circumstances.
CCLA took on Maria ‘s case, providing end-to-end support throughout the citizenship application process. This included the preparation and submission of the application, collection of required documents, and representation during her citizenship interview. CCLA Attorneys made an audio recording for Maria of all of the questions and answers for the civics test. Maria played it every day and got a perfect score on the civics test during her interview.
During the citizenship interview, Maria encountered an unexpected hurdle. Despite her blindness, the USCIS Officer asked her to read from a screen. Turns out, it was that Interview Officer’s very first week on the job.
Recognizing the undue burden this placed on Maria, we promptly intervened. We argued that Maria was entitled to a disability accommodation, which would exempt her from the reading test. This argument was grounded in her visual impairment, which made the reading test an inappropriate assessment of her qualifications.
In response to this challenge, CCLA Attorneys initiated discussions with a group of supervisors at the local USCIS Office. We effectively advocated for Maria ‘s right to a disability accommodation, leveraging both legal precedent and USCIS’s own manual. Our efforts culminated in the supervisors’ recognition of the validity of our argument, resulting in the granting of Maria ‘s disability accommodation and, ultimately, her citizenship.
Maria was so proud and grateful to become an American citizen. Maria was given a choice, she could wait about 4 hours at the USCIS office and do the oath ceremony that day or come back the next week. Maria instantly said she was so excited to become a US Citizen should would wait. Maria sent CCLA a picture of herself proudly holding an American flag shortly after she was sworn in as a U.S. Citizen.
With her new status as a U.S. Citizen, Maria became eligible to receive Social Security benefits. After applying, Maria was happy to report she was approved and now receives a monthly Social Security check of $1,200. This newfound financial support is deeply appreciated, as she had previously relied on assistance from family and friends to make ends meet.
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*Names, images, and details have been changed to protect our client’s privacy