YUMA, Ariz- Emilia Carillo has been teaching people from Yuma County and around the world how to become a U.S. citizen.
Carillo describes her reason on why she’s been teaching for more than 25 years. “I love this country, and I want everybody else to become a citizen to love this country, especially to learn to be good citizens of the United States, we live in this country and I think we need to take pride and to appreciate and don’t take for granted of this country and I that’s one of the reasons I do this,” Carillo said.
In order to become a U.S. citizen, applicants have to go through the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration services, where they are given a series of tests to pass. Carillo tells us there can be obstacles throughout the eight to ten week course, but is certain every one of her students passes the process.
“Language is the barrier, once they start learning government and history, cause I teach it in English and Spanish, sometimes it becomes a little challenging for them, but they get this hunger to learn and stick with the class for eight to ten weeks,” Carillo said.
Carillo teaches her students about important national documents, U.S. presidents, and even teaches English through some national songs; however, she stays away from one topic: politics. Carillo said, “I don’t teach politics because I don’t want to get into a controversy, I believe they have to have this freedom for them to learn and be well informed and make up their own mind and I expect their beliefs and I do not want to interfere with that.”
Carillo has more than 25 years of experience and believes anyone can be apart of the naturalization process, citizen or not. “I see the need and I am able to do it, why not do it, if not me? who? And if not now, when? And I think many of us can do this,” Carillo said.