Woman becomes U.S. citizen after 60 years

immigration detentionDanusia Yakuoesian became a U.S. citizen yesterday morning after arriving in the U.S. in 1949.

She was only 3 years old when she and her parents landed in Boston Harbor. Between them, they had one suitcase and only $67. Yakuoesian’s parents were Polish nationals who had been forced into slave labor at the end of World War II, and they wanted a better life for their daughter in the U.S.

For all her life, Yakuoesian assumed she was American. Then she tried for Social Security two years ago.

That attempt opened up a crack in the system that she had fallen through. She was told she didn’t have the proper paperwork, and not only could she not apply for Social Security, she also couldn’t renew her driver’s license or even get a passport.

Yakuoesian immediately began the process toward citizenship, and also enlisted her state senator for help. After some tedious waiting, she finally became an official citizen of the U.S. She expressed relief after the brief ceremony yesterday, showing the most excitement for finally being able to get a passport and travel.

She should have become a citizen in 1956, when her parents became naturalized citizens. A clerical error caused her not to receive her official paperwork, though, and kept her as a permanent resident ever since.

Luckily, once the error came to light, the government worked fast to fix the mistake.