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'CHASING THE AMERICAN DREAM': Smith-Welch Library in Hearne helping community members become U.S. citizens

Posted at 5:35 PM, Feb 02, 2024

HEARNE, Texas — Ivette Carcamo is busy at work, learning what she can to prepare to become a U.S. Citizen.

“There's many people who need this service. Sometimes they’re afraid to move because they can’t communicate. Luckily, we have Carolina who speaks Spanish and English to help us learn,” Carcamo said.

Instructor Carolina Hernandez with the Smith-Welch Library can relate, as she became a citizen in December and wants to help others in Hearne get there too, as she is the instructor for the Citizenship class.

“Well, I saw a need in the community, so I was like 'Why not?' — I think the library here is the most appropriate place to offer these opportunities, I do my best," Hernandez said.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and immigration services, in 2023 the U.S. Welcomed nearly 900,000 new citizens across the country with Texas ranking in the top five states.

Carcamo moved to Hearne from Puebla, Mexico in 2017 and said she’s ready to have all the same opportunities as any U.S. Citizen.

“There are many benefits — I would like to be able to vote and I also have plans to travel. I know the American passport has those opportunities to be able to travel to other states and countries," she said.

Hernandez says she hopes her achievement can be the inspiration for others to take that next step.

“Some people don’t do it because of the language [barrier] but let me tell you — if I did it, they can too," she said.

The Smith-Welch library says they'll continue offering its citizenship classes. Visit https://swmlibrary.com/index.html for more information.