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Immigrant hopes for social change in home country

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

Five years after sending in her immigration application from a school in Cambodia, Keomonica got some exciting news. The US Green Card Lottery had selected her, one of 50,000 immigrants each year around the world, to receive a visa to come live in the United States. After an additional five years of living in the US, her worries about the unstable political climate back in Cambodia drove her decision to apply for citizenship.

"I was worried about the situation, and [citizenship gave me] an opportunity to bring my parents. I want to go back [to Cambodia] and work with a non-governmental organization to change the government; people don’t have the power to criticize, and there are a lot of ban regulations on the activity of NGOs," she said.

For Keomonica, the most challenging part of the citizenship process was filling out the N-400 application form, which is full of oddly worded questions with often difficult answers.

"One question stuck with me almost a month; questions about taxes, if I filed taxes for the last five years, but I only filed 2 years. I came [to NCICC] because I didn’t know the answer," Keomonica said.

She is very grateful to NCICC for their continued support throughout the process, and is excited about her new freedoms and opportunities in the US. One aspect of American culture that appeals to her is the celebration of individualism.

"In Cambodia, they don’t really focus on how to develop their country. People want to grow and be better here, and they don’t really have that concept in Cambodia," Keomonica said. She wondered at the differences between the two places she has called home. "I would want to talk to the government to find and create a new solution. How does the US keep itself as a dominant country? Why isn’t my country growing the same?"

We wish you the best of luck on your future adventures, Keomonica! With your talents and passion, we know you will go far.

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