Huntsville immigrants prepare for US citizenship

HUNTSVILLE, Tex. (KBTX) - A group in Huntsville is making it their mission to give immigrants a seat at the table when it comes to legal US citizenship.

For the past five weeks, local immigrants have been taking a free prep course at the Huntsville Public Library.

"We have people from Mexico; we have people from Nicaragua, from El Salvador," said Staci Antu, Sam Houston State University Leap Center.

Since 2009, The Leap Center at Sam Houston State University has hosted the citizenship prep course. Tuesday the group held their final class to celebrate what they learned and to share a little bit of each culture.

"It's a celebration just to make them feel welcome here and we call it a thanksgiving,” said Antu.

Gilda Bettis came to the United States 33 years ago. She says she joined the free class to make sure she's ready for the big test.

"Besides the hundred questions that we are supposed to learn for the test itself, some things specific to Texas or Huntsville, I've learned a lot about Sam Houston I did not know," said Bettis.

And for Gilda, like many who've taken the class, getting one on one help to become a citizen is invaluable.

"The only way to study is online or flash cards; there is no classes, no tutoring, and no preparation. So getting a class together is helpful for a lot of people around the community,” said Antu.

So far the group has helped more than 300 immigrants prepare for the citizenship test.