December 3, 2019 - mejonas

From the War in El Salvador to a Welcome in Waukegan

When she was 22, Maria Dora began her escape from the war in El Salvador. One night, she was awakened by the sound of screaming and gunfire. She found her father packing her belongings and was sent off with her uncle to Tijuana, Mexico. There, Maria Dora obtained a U.S. employment visa that allowed her to continue the journey to join family members here in Waukegan.
In 1998, Maria Dora applied for Legal Permanent Residency. Ten years later, she was relieved to find the same staff at the Hispanic American Community Education and Services (HACES) to assist her with the process to become a Naturalized Citizen of the United States. Now, she has a home, a family, a career and an immense gratitude for HACES.
Maria Dora explained, “To me, HACES means everything. This is beyond the American Dream: seeing everything I’ve ever known destroyed, I never thought I’d find peace, a home, a family, but now I have. I feel that it is my duty to share with others on a similar journey about the importance of citizenship. With the help of HACES, the opportunities are endless.”
In 2018 HACES provided immigration, citizenship, DREAMer renewals, health education and community resources to over 8,000 individuals and families who are already our neighbors in Lake County.