Texas Woman to Become U.S. Citizen at Age 101

Amid all of the controversy along the southwestern border of the United States, there are occasional and surprising moments of uplift. CNN reported recently about a Brownsville, Texas woman – Eulalia Garcia Maturey, now 101 years old – who was brought to the United States as an infant, back in 1909, when she crossed the Rio Grande in her mother’s arms, on a ferry boat from Matamoros, Mexico. (See Woman, 101, to Become U.S. Citizen with Help of 69-Year-Old Document, by Ed Lavandera, CNN.com, 11.Oct.2010.) At that point, an immigration historian told CNN, crossing the border was no big deal, and “checkpoints focused on customs and trade issues.”

Fast forward to 2010, and immigration paperwork is a very, very big deal. Ms. Maturey told CNN that she never had any immigration paperwork until 1941, when she received a “Certificate of Lawful Entry,” under the 1940 Alien Registration Act, which required non-citizens to register with the government. According to CNN, after years of uncertainty about her immigration status, Ms. Maturey presented this certificate at the local USCIS office to establish her lawful permanent residency in the United States. CNN reports that Ms. Maturey passed the citizenship exam, and was to be sworn in as a U.S. citizen on October 12, 2010 – 101 years to the day after she first crossed the Rio Grande with her mother. This surely must be some kind of record – and if nothing else, it points out the importance of holding onto those critical immigration documents that you just might need someday.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.