On paper, Julie Daniel is British, despite spending the past 46 years living in Oregon. But she decided last year she wanted to officially become a U.S. citizen.
On Nov. 16, Daniel will take the oath that cements her status.
“I never considered becoming an American citizen until the last election,” Daniel says. “It’s time to put your money where your mouth is, but I need to be able to vote.”
To celebrate her new citizenship, Daniel, on the afternoon following her ceremony, will host a fundraiser for Grupo Latino de Acción Directa of Lane County (GLAD), an organization that aids people seeking asylum. She hopes to raise awareness and money to start a project that recruits pro bono attorneys to help asylum seekers with legal issues.
This passion to help people seeking asylum came from Daniel’s own citizenship application, which was difficult despite her being an ideal candidate, she says.
“I am the least-vulnerable immigrant. They are the most-vulnerable immigrants,” she says of those seeking asylum. “They come here with nothing.”
The pro bono legal aid will help people who have fled violence, government oppression and gangs, Daniel says. Most of them arrived in the United States with very few possessions and do not have the means to complete the asylum process.
Daniel moved to Oregon when she was 18 and spent her first few decades in Deadwood, a small rural community. While there, Daniel helped create a community center, raised a family and traded services and commodities with neighbors.
Eventually, she moved to Eugene and used the knowledge she gained in Deadwood of reuse to get a job at BRING Recycling. After working two years at BRING, Daniel became the executive director and ran the nonprofit organization for the next 20 years.
“This is a big moment in time,” Daniel says. “You only get citizenship once.”
The celebration is open to the public and will be held at Claim 52 Kitchen from 2-6 pm Friday, Nov. 16.
Claim 52 will donate $1 to her fund for each pint of beer, cider or kombucha sold at the fundraiser. Donations will also be accepted.
Daniel says she hopes the celebration feels like a party, and that she feels fortunate she can use it to help other immigrants.