But one week ago, after having studied diligently for her citizenship test and with her cancer spreading to her bones and her brain, Ms. Torres-DeChamberlin, quite literally, was granted her dying wish.
She was sworn in as a U.S. citizen.
She even got a one-hundred percent score on her exam.
Aided by social worker Susana Lenox at a Phoenix-area Hospice organization, and officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department, Ms. Torres-DeChamberlin was sworn in as a U.S. citizen during a private ceremony in her home.
With one arm broken and in a cast (the cancer has left her bones quite frail and breakable), the 50 year-old grandmother recited the Pledge of Allegiance. And afterwards, she stated “for me, it’s a wonderful day. I will have the right to vote, and I will have liberty.”
It is questionable whether or not Ms. Torres-DeChamberlin will live long enough to cast any ballots. But the dignity with which she has carried herself, and the love and respect for the United States that she has demonstrated, are both inescapable, if not overwhelming.
And the contrast between Ms. Arellano and Ms. Torres-DeChamberlin is also overwhelming. One woman is devoting her life's energy to displaying contempt for our nation and it's laws, and has chosen to create a distance between her and her child.
And then there's Maria Torres-De Chamberlin. She entered the U.S. legally, and has been working towards citizenship ever since. And now having obtained that goal, she wants to live long enough to see her children become citizens, and to vote in an American election.
This dichotomy should give pause to those who aided and abetted Ms. Arellano, and others who believe that her illegal and contemptuous behavior is appropriate.
And the rest of us, those of us who love and respect our nation, should be humbled and inspired by our fellow American - - Maria Torres-DeChamberlin.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.