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SIMI VALLEY : After 80 Years in U.S., Woman Will Be Citizen

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Asked why she is becoming a citizen after 80 years of living in the United States, Angela Cantu de Guajardo has a simple answer.

“This is my country,” she says.

Thursday morning, the 85-year-old Mexican immigrant will attend a citizen swearing-in ceremony with 5,000 other immigrants at the Los Angeles Civic Center.

Guajardo crossed the border in 1909 on the back of a mule. Now, with her daughter Dahlia Palacios sometimes translating, Guajardo said she is tired of the constant worry and fear that new laws would take away her status in the United States.

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“I see the news every day and it makes me worry,” Guajardo said.

And she said that after years of standing by and watching Presidents being elected, she wanted a chance to vote before she died.

“I’m going to vote for Bill Clinton,” she said in Spanish.

Nonpartisan with her enthusiasm, she said she also liked Ronald Reagan and George Bush.

Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Guajardo came to America when she was 5 as her family fled from the chaos of the Mexican revolution.

The family of five sisters and three brothers moved to Texas to help an uncle who was a sharecropper. Guajardo married in Texas and ran a restaurant, and had a reputation for making some of the best tamales in the state.

After her husband died, she came to California and worked at a hospital for many years.

Retired, Guajardo now divides her time between her daughter’s home in Simi Valley and her son’s ranch in Palmdale. She crochets and makes fine lace work.

She said she was looking forward to the ceremony and especially the family celebration afterward.

“It will make me very happy,” she said.

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