EL CENTRO, Calif. - President trump’s immigration policies and fear of deportation are making citizenship classes in El Centro and Calexico standing–room only.
Instructor Esteban Jaramillo teaches 3 classes and says one is over 100.
“We’ve seen a surge in interest in people due to the president’s policies,” Jaramillo said.
Fear and uncertainty is the driving force.
“A lot of people are attending right now. My phone is ringing off the hook because people want citizenship. People are afraid. They want to be participants and they want to become citizens,” Jaramillo said.
Seniors have the greatest interest.
“The majority of them are 40, 50, 60, even 70 year-olds trying to become citizens,” Jaramillo said.
He feels personal satisfaction in helping people become citizens.
“When they come to me and say, teacher, i passed my test, I’m a citizen. I feel really great,” Jaramillo said.
There are strict requirements for citizenship.
“In order for them to be eligible for citizenship, they must meet those requirements. At least five years with their green card,” Jaramillo said.
For more information people can go to Our Roots Multi-Cultural Center at 133 E. Brighton in El Centro.
The classes are free but there may be application and processing fees that students have to pay. Instructor Jaramillo said for many of his students, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.