Chasing the American Dream in Beardstown

Immigrants living in Beardstown now have a chance to change their status.

The First Evangelical Lutheran Church is hosting an immigration and citizenship workshop Sunday.

KHQA's Kristen Aguirre shows you why the community wants to help residents become citizens.

Sam Ewu has been living in Beardstown for the past six months, but its taken him years to get there.

"America has always been my county of dream and I always told myself the best thing God can do for me is make me come to America," Ewu said. "I started playing the lottery visa for that reason and I played for ten years before I was finally selected."

Ewu is from West Africa. He has a green card and in four years he'll be eligible for citizenship. Unlike many immigrants in the Beardstown community, Ewu knows how the process to becoming a citizen works, a process he hopes others will learn at Sunday's Immigration and Citizen Workshop.

"Immigration offices will be around and we are encouraging them to ask as many questions as they can, so they can get things clear in their minds, so they understand the system," Ewu said.

Holly Rice is familiar with many of the immigrants in the community. Many of them use the library as a means to learn about the American culture and to learn English.

"A lot of our immigrants came here for jobs at Cargill and it's important to our community to make sure that when they get here they buy houses and stay," Rice said.

The Citizen Workshop will be held at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beardstown, but it's not just a way to show immigrants how to legally become citizens ... it's also a means of bringing the community together.

"We see a lot that the Latinos all gather together, and the Africans gather together and the Native Beardstown residents gather together, but there's not always a lot of mingling between the groups so this is definitely an event where there is going to be a lot of mingling," Rice said.

Bringing the American melting pot to Beardstown...

"The United States for me, means the land of opportunity and success," Ewu said.

And the chance for citizenship to those chasing the American Dream.

The workshop will be held Sunday at the the First Evangelical Lutheran Church at 301 W. 4th Street from 3 to 5 p.m.

Immigration attorneys will be present at the workshop. Any immigrant, who has questions about becoming a citizen is invited to come.

The workshop is sponsored by the Beardstown/Rushville Immigrant Families United, a member organization of Faith Coalition for the Common Good , and The Immigration Project of Bloomington .