Naturalized citizen Karina Monzon shares her experiences as an immigrant
July 5, 2021
Before becoming a U.S. citizen in 2018, Karina Monzon lived in constant fear that she could be deported. Her process to become a U.S. citizen is one of the reasons she became a paralegal. She shared her experience with Horizonte’s Jose Cardenas.
“The process was extremely lengthy. I had gone to school in the U.S. and we did high school and we were still waiting for our documents to be processed…” Monzon said. She said it took nearly 20 years until the application was complete.
Monzon said that, despite her quasi-legal status in the country, she was always terrified of being deported.
“As a child, I had to carry a piece of paper that said I was allowed to be here while our case was being processed. My mom would always make sure I had it with me wherever I went,” Monzon said. She added that she was always aware that she wasn’t completely safe.
She never had to use said credentials to keep herself from being deported, but she said it was always a worry of both hers and her family. Once she was finally allowed to legally work in the country, Monzon said it was life-changing.
“I could support myself and my family. I was lucky enough to land a job at a law firm over a summer and from then on, I realized that I was really interested in that field.”
Monzon eventually ended up working for Manny Ortega, one of the most prominent lawyers in Phoenix. Ortega is particularly involved in civil rights for the Latino community in the city.
Monzon finally became a citizen in 2014, or as she describes it, the year that she stopped worrying.