70-year-old immigrant discovers she's an American citizen

Friday, June 23rd 2017, 1:27 am PDTFriday, June 23rd 2017, 1:55 am PDT

An unusual case marking a new beginning for a proud citizen who now can vote, get a passport and stay in the U.S. as long as she wants. (Source: KTXL/CNN)

SACRAMENTO, CA (KTXL/CNN) - Snapping photos and clutching American flags - these are the faces of newly naturalized citizens.

One of them is 70-year-old Hannie Gerdeman.

Gerdeman was born in Suriname, in South America and lives in Holland.

She wanted to gain citizenship so she could stay in the country indefinitely to be with her sick mother, without the limitations of a tourist visa.


She got quite the surprise when she contacted immigration attorney Thomas Baker.


Baker discovered Gerdeman wouldnít have to wait 10 to 15 years like she thought.


"He says but youíre a citizen,Ē Gerdeman said.


Baker noticed Gerdeman's mother and deceased father were U.S. citizens, and that at one point she lived with them in the U.S. as a child and previously had a green card.


"I had to research the law from the time they became citizens and she was born and saw they met the requirements and figured letís go for it," Baker said.


Thursday afternoon, the path toward citizenship was completed.


Gerdeman led the pledge of allegiance at her oath ceremony and got her certificate which dates back 60 years.


An unusual case marking a new beginning for a proud citizen who now can vote, get a passport and stay in the U.S. as long as she wants.

http://www.wtol.com/story/35732707/7...erican-citizen