Woman Gains Citizenship in Florida Hospital

A Laotian woman was naturalized in a Florida hospital after fearing she would die before gaining US citizenship, according to The Associated Press.

Konphaly Aphayasan, a 49-year-old immigrant from Laos, was being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville for lymphoma. Aphayasan reportedly passed her citizenship test a few weeks ago before learning her bone marrow treatment was scheduled to start just before the naturalization ceremony, the AP reports.

Aphayasan’s doctor, Stephen Dyer, called immigration officials so his patient could realize her dreams of US citizenship. The news source said a citizenship ceremony was held in her hospital room as her husband, sister and son looked on.

About 52 percent of all legal immigrants in the US chose to become naturalized in 2005, the most recent statistics available, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. That figure is the highest rate in 25 years and a 14 point increase from 1990. Mexicans are reportedly the largest group to become naturalized each year.