Saturday, June 15, 2024

Decades-old Document Helps 101-year-old Woman Gain Citizenship

An elderly Brownsville, Texas woman will take her oath of citizenship today at the age of 101 with the help of a piece of paper that is 69-years-old.

Eulalia Garcia Maturey came to the United States just over a hundred years ago on a ferry boat from Matamoros, Mexico.  Border patrol agents and checkpoints were non-existent in those days, so just like that, Maturey began her life on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande River.

Maturey says she considers herself an American already even though she’s technically not.  The “Certificate of Lawful Entry” card she received from the U.S. government on April 4, 1941 will help her make it official today.  Maturey was issued the card after registering with the government as required by law in 1940 when Congress passed the World War II Alien Registration Act.

Maturey has kept the 69-year-old document in pristine condition, but never imagined it would come in use one day.

“We would never have been able to establish her registration status without that document,” Maria Elena Garcia-Upson, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said. “It would have been hard to prove.”

With all the paperwork taken care of, the last hurdle was the citizenship exam, which Maturey passed.

“I want to spend the rest of my days in this life living legally in the United States,” Maturey said. “I was raised here, and I want to die here.”