Esthela Moran, an employee with EPI-HAB Phoenix, Inc., is all smiles these days. Thirty years ago, Esthela left Mexico, the only home she had ever known, and embarked on an adventure to the United States for a chance at a better quality of life. Esthela says she grew to “love everything about the United States,” and it became increasingly important for her to put down permanent roots through citizenship.
After many years of hard work and a long paperwork journey of work permits, a working visa, Green Card for permanent residency and citizenship applications, Esthela’s dream was finally realized earlier this month. The almost 19-year EPI-HAB employee passed the citizenship examination and took an oath of allegiance to the United States on April 7, 2017.
Esthela’s swearing-in ceremony was attended by Torrey Rogers, EPI-HAB’s controller. “It was a fantastic day,” observed Torrey. “I think everyone should experience such a meaningful and patriotic event!”
The citizenship test Esthela passed is a Q&A on U.S. history, geography and civics alongside a reading and writing English competency test. It’s a challenging exam, even for those who were born in the U.S. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 92 percent of applicants pass this test. However, only around two percent of Americans (who are born citizens) can pass the test without studying.
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Esthela is now eligible to serve on a jury, run for office, travel unlimited, and apply for government benefits. She can also vote in the next election—a right Esthela felt was the biggest motivator to pursue citizenship.
“It’s employees like Esthela that make EPI-HAB a special place to work,” said Matt Redmann, Executive Director of EPI-HAB. “Her enthusiasm is the epitome of what our team strives for every day in service. We are extremely proud of Esthela’s hard work on behalf of our country.”
In her spare time, Esthela enjoys cooking tacos and camping with her family. She began working at EPI-HAB in 1999. “My coworkers are very friendly, and I’m very happy here,” she shared.
EPI-HAB brings more than 59 years of experience and energy to fulfillment, assembly and inspection, full-service mail processing, and storage. As a 501(c) 3 organization, it is totally self-sufficient while providing meaningful employment opportunities for individuals with epilepsy and other challenges. EPI-HAB focuses on the abilities of its employees, not their disabilities, and performs valued work for businesses, large and small, assisting them with a wide variety of projects ranging from the assembly of medical devices to order fulfillment.
Special thanks to Torrey Rogers for Esthela’s swearing-in ceremony photos.