Wichita non-profit sees spike in naturalization applications

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Ever since Donald Trump took office last month, Catholic Charities says its naturalization program has seen a spike in applications, many from people who don’t come from the seven countries named in his executive order on immigration.

The last few weeks have been a wake up call for many immigrants, who seem to have similar concerns no matter where they’re from or how long they’ve been in the U.S.

“We had people lining up outside the doors,” said David Osio, Director of Immigration Services, Catholic Charities of Wichita.

Questions about green cards, family immigration and naturalization papers the immigration service at catholic charities of Wichita has been meeting with almost eight times the people they typically see forcing them at times to turn people away due to a lack of time.

According to Osio, 95% of them are Hispanic.

“People are becoming very aware of your status. Those who haven’t checked their green cards for a long time don’t even know if their green expired last year,” stated Osio.

He tells KSN in his 17 years with this organization, he’s never seen so many people applying for citizenship.

“I tell them, I encourage them to, why don’t we do instead of renewing, let’s go ahead and do the naturalization, because I want to naturalize as many people as possible,” explained Osio.

And that’s why Susy Green showed up Wednesday.

After falling in love with a Kansas farmer, green came to America from Venezuela and settled in the area 25 years ago as a legal immigrant.

“I want to be a citizen too,” stated Green.

Her husband recently passed away, and Green says they always talked about her becoming an American.

“He would see me in this moment and say, okay you’re ready,” said Green.

Now, she tells me she’s never wanted anything more.

“Very emotional because i want to see my papers. I will be happy, way, way happy for this,” Green explained.

A dream that more are pursuing every day.

“This has made the population more aware of what they need to do,” said Osio.

The process to become an American citizen could take up to five years, depending on your legal status.

Once you meet the requirements, the next step is passing a 100 question civics test.

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