The process has been long, with years of waiting. But last month Monica Díaz became a U.S. citizen.
It's good news for Monica, but also for the rest of her family. The new status opens the possibility of finally bringing her mother back to the United States. Irma Díaz was deported to Guatemala in 2006, denied political asylum.
Monica's father Luis made his own effort to stay in the U.S. becoming a permanent resident. Authorities planned to deport him, too, but he fought to stay in the country to raise younger daughter Jennifer, born in the U.S. Luis and Jennifer this winter were finally able to travel to Guatemala to see Irma for the first time in five years.
After the family was broken apart in 2006, Monica was among those sent to Guatemala. But after years of hard work, she was able to return to the land she thinks of as home. The citizenship ceremony is a key moment for this family, broken apart and now sensing the possibility of reunification — all done within the U.S. legal system.