Yakima's Citizenship Day Big Step in Becoming U.S. Citizen - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima's Citizenship Day Big Step in Becoming U.S. Citizen

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YAKIMA--More than a hundred people in Yakima work towards a lifelong dream:  becoming a U.S. citizen.

People got free legal advice on their naturalization applications Saturday, but they still have a long way to go.

They must take civics and English language proficiency tests and interview with officials.

But, Saturday's event helps people trying to become U.S. citizens through one of the more confusing parts of the journey.

Lawyers and paralegals helped people through the complicated paperwork free of charge.

Hector Castilla has been denied citizenship twice before because of errors in his paperwork.  He moved to Yakima from Mexico 20 years ago.

Now 37 years old, he's hoping this help will put him on his way to finally becoming a U.S. citizen.

"I live and work here and pay my taxes," Castilla said.  "I'd like to become a full citizen so that I can participate in the greatest thing that we have [as Americans] and that is being a part of the voting process."

Making sure applications are filled out properly can save hundreds of dollars in applications, appointments and travel fees.

Citizenship Day started in Washington in 2006.  Now, 25 states have at least one day to help people trying to become naturalized citizens.

There will be one more Washington State citizenship day on May 30th.  Prospective citizens can go to Pasco, Vancouver, Lacey, or Mt. Vernon to get help.