99-year-old woman named Amer­ica be­comes U.S. cit­i­zen

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OBITUARIES - By Claudia Tor­rens

At age 99, a woman named Amer­ica has be­come a U.S. cit­i­zen.

Amer­ica Maria Her­nan­dez, who was born in Colom­bia in 1917 and was brought to the U.S. by one of her daugh­ters in 1988, signed her nat­u­ral­iza­tion cer­tifi­cate and took the oath of al­le­giance dur­ing a cer­e­mony Wed­nes­day in her liv­ing room.

Sur­rounded by fam­ily mem­bers, she smiled and said she was very happy.

“I live in New York, the cap­i­tal of the world,” she said while wav­ing a small Amer­i­can flag.

Her­nan­dez was born in Oc­to­ber 1917 in Cor­doba, Colom­bia, but mostly lived in Bar­ran­quilla.

She had 12 chil­dren and now has 22 grand­chil­dren and 12 great grand­chil­dren.

Her­nan­dez’s daugh­ter, Horten­sia Martinez, 69, said she brought Her­nan­dez to the U.S. so she could help her take care of her son.

Her­nan­dez ar­rived with a green card ar­ranged by her daugh­ter, who had mar­ried a U.S. cit­i­zen.

In­stead of re­new­ing the card, the fam­ily asked Her­nan­dez if she wanted to be­come a U.S. cit­i­zen, and she said yes.

Her­nan­dez walks with a cane, likes to watch TV and en­joys at­tend­ing ac­tiv­i­ties at a lo­cal se­nior cen­ter at least once a week.

Asked on Wed­nes­day what her se­cret for a long life is, she re­sponded, “Be­ing well, with my chil­dren. They all work. They are all good.”

Ac­cord­ing to U.S. Cit­i­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices, 730,000 peo­ple be­came U.S. cit­i­zens in the gov­ern­ment’s 2015 fis­cal year. About 84,000 of those nat­u­ral­iza­tions were in the New York area.

RICHARD DREW — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Amer­ica Maria Her­nan­dez, 99, re­ceives an Amer­i­can flag af­ter be­ing ad­min­is­tered the Nat­u­ral­iza­tion Oath of Al­le­giance Wed­nes­day in Queens.

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