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The City Journals

New Citizen, New Beginnings

Apr 08, 2016 11:04AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Natalie Mollinet | [email protected]

West Valley - After 17 years of working and waiting for citizenship in the United States, Anahi Munoz, 27, and a West Valley City resident, got her card, social security number and opportunity to be a member of the United States of America. 

When Munoz was 10, she and her uncle came over the border from Mexico so she could be with her mother, who was in Park City. 

Munoz said she doesn’t remember much of the day she came to the United States for the first time, but she remembers being scared.

“I remember it was scary because everyone was saying how people die and how it’s hard coming to this country illegally. It was a scary feeling, but I felt it was good opportunity to follow my dreams,” she said. 

Munoz met with her mother, who had been working to get her over here. 

“It was a nice experience being able to see my mom. She wanted to have a better life for me and not being able to see her and for her not being able to see me, it was hard. But she wanted to provide,” she said.

Through her years, Munoz moved from Park City to Heber and then to West Valley where she attended Hunter High School and graduated in 2007. Munoz was able to learn English in school. 

Munoz met her husband in Salt Lake City. 

“He was the youth leader, and he asked me out,” she said.

Munoz first thought that when he asked her out that it was church related and thought it was kind of odd. She later realized it was a date, and she kept going out with him. Eventually, he asked her to be his girlfriend and then his wife. 

After they were married, in order for Munoz to get her residency, she had to go back to Mexico. 

“It was scary because I had to be away from my family,” she said. “I gave birth to my oldest son in Mexico, and I was literally raised in the United States, so when I went back to Mexico it was scary. I didn’t know how to live over there because even though the U.S. wasn’t my country, I was from Mexico.” 

Munoz lived along the border of Mexico so her husband could come over and visit her when he wanted. She had to stay in Mexico for three years before returning. She said it was a relief to come back. 

“It was really nice,” she said. “It was just like, ‘OK, I’m back now,’ but now I felt it was more like freedom. Before, I was just waiting for something to happen so I could go back to the U.S. So when I came back it was like, ‘OK, I’m doing it right now, and I don’t have to hide from nothing.’ It was a relief.” 

Later, after returning, Munoz and her husband had another son, and she planned to become a citizen. On Feb. 18, that happened. 

“It was really nice,” Munoz said about the ceremony. “It was actually emotional because a lot of people have tried to come in and that dream fails because they died or something happened to them on the border, but I actually made it and I’m here.”

Munoz had a lot of gratitude in her heart while she stood on the stage with other immigrants who were also becoming citizens. She though back to her mother and what she had to do to get her daughter here, and she also had gratitude toward God. 

Now that Munoz has her citizenship, she can finish nursing school. She had taken all the classes for it, but when she went to take the test, she didn’t have her social security number. She wasn’t allowed to take the test. But now she’s determined to finish school. 

Munoz wanted other immigrants and current residents to know that things will work out and to be accepting of new immigrants. 

“Never forget we all have a purpose in life,” Munoz said. “If God wants us to be here in the U.S., he’ll bring you here. The U.S. should be proud of giving our citizenship and know that we aren’t a bad influence but are doing good things. Bring good things to this country, have faith in God and know that things are going to be better. For people waiting for residence and waiting for citizenship: it will get better.”