Valley woman prepares to take U.S. citizenship test after 13 years

Immigrant studies to become natural citizen

INDIO, Calif. - "I know about 60 answers so I need to study a little bit more," said Arcelia Duarte of Thermal.

Duarte is studying 100 civics questions for the naturalization test she'll soon take to become a U.S. citizen. In her interview, she'll be asked up to 10 of the questions and must answer at least six correctly. She'll also have to pass a reading and writing test to demonstrate her English language abilities.
"Because you live here, you need to know history about your nation. It's very very important," Duarte said.

Duarte's journey to becoming a citizen has been a long one. She immigrated to Thermal from Jalisco, Mexico in 2001. 

She came the legal way after her husband, a U.S. citizen, applied for her to get a green card, also known as a permanent resident card.

She then had to wait three years to qualify to take the naturalization test, but she waited 13 because she didn't feel comfortable with the language until now.

"It's more benefits, I think I can take a better job," Duarte said.

But the number one reason she wanted to become a citizen, to be able to vote in the next election, so she can test her voice in issues like the debate over immigration reform.

"If you want to come to work, to feel better to stay here, yes," Duarte said.

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