Oklahoma students cheer on cafeteria manager who passed US citizenship test

Deer Creek Prairie Vale Elementary School | Facebook

Students at an Oklahoma elementary school cheered on the building’s Cuban-born cafeteria manager after she passed her U.S. citizenship exam.

In videos posted on Facebook by Deer Creek Prairie Vale Elementary School in Edmond, students line the hallways chanting “USA! USA!” as Yanet Vilamontes López walks by.

“All the students give me hugs. It was exciting. I was crying like a baby, and the teachers were crying,” Lopez said, according to a report by local news station KOCO.

López, her husband and their three children passed the exam Monday.

According to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), 843,593 foreign nationals were naturalized as U.S. citizens in 2020. Cuban nationals accounted for 36,246 of those naturalizations, the fifth most after Mexicans, Indians, Filipinos and Chinese nationals.

Naturalizations rose steadily over the past four years, in part as a result of the Trump administration’s more restrictive immigration policies, which made naturalization more attractive despite the costs.

Currently, naturalization fees are $725 per person.

USCIS in February changed the exam required of aspiring U.S. citizens, returning to an older version that had been discarded by the Trump administration in favor of a more difficult test.

But López showed confidence that she would’ve passed either version.

“I know everything about the United States, presidents. Everything is amazing. I know … I learn a lot of history,” Lopez told KOCO. “I love this country.”

Every morning Ms. Yanet walks into the office and proclaims “Good Morning, Pretty Ladies” and with a smile and a laugh…

Posted by Deer Creek Prairie Vale on Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Tags Citizenship Edmond Immigration Naturalization Oklahoma
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