Citizenship after 34 Years

hope eden, nigeria october 12, 2010: woman in front of her house.

Before Oasis immigrated to the United States, she traveled and studied extensively. Originally from Nigeria, Oasis spent her young adulthood traveling to Germany, France, Spain, and many other countries. Additionally, she acquired a Master’s degree in business insurance. in 1988, she and her husband moved to New York, with Oasis specifically coming to the United States on a continuing education visa. Both her children, now 36 and 28, were born in the U.S. as natural-born citizens. To maintain her legal status, Oasis pursued many graduate degrees, including an MBA and a Master’s in Education. However, financial difficulties took hold of their family, and Oasis found herself $6,000 behind on her mortgage.


Oasis found assistance through a financial assistance group that offered to donate the money she needed to get back on track with her mortgage. Oasis went to the building where the group was hosted, and she collected the generous charitable payment that allowed her family to return to a feeling of security.


A few years later, in 1994, the George W. Bush administration passed legislative changes to the immigration system. Unsure of how to navigate these changes, Oasis reached out to a friend who referred her to NY JFON. Oasis decided to attend the clinic at Chinese United Methodist Church. The moment she walked in, she realized that it was the same building where she had received financial assistance to pay her mortgage years earlier. “It was such a miracle and coincidence,” says Oasis. After being greeted and assisted by the clinic volunteers, Oasis was introduced to NY JFON Managing Attorney Thomas “TJ” Mills. TJ helped Oasis put her affairs in order to ensure she was in compliance with the new legislation, and he also helped Oasis begin the process of applying for permanent legal residency.


“Working with TJ was fantastic. He is so present and focused on his job, ” says Oasis. Last month, Oasis finally took the oath of naturalization and became a U.S. citizen. Oasis recalls how helpful TJ was in ensuring she was prepared for her citizenship interview; he even called her the day before her interview while he was on vacation. During her 34 years of living in the United States, Oasis abandoned her love of international travel due to visa restrictions. Now, as a U.S. citizen, she has the freedom to enjoy the favorite past time of her youth. Most recently, Oasis traveled to Brazil, and she plans on traveling outside the U.S. even more. Since becoming a citizen, Oasis says she has “peace of mind” and that it is “a thing of “joy.”


Serendipitously, the Chinese United Methodist Church was instrumental in helping Oasis achieve economic and legal security. Stories like Oasis’ is why NY JFON is proud of our longstanding partnership with Chinese UMC. To continue this partnership and help more immigrants like Oasis achieve freedom and security, we will be hosting a “friendraiser” at Chinese UMC on Saturday, May 7, at 1:15 pm. All proceeds from the event will go towards continuing NY JFON and Chinese UMC’s partnership.

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