Hispanic Heritage Month: New US citizens look forward to casting 1st presidential ballot
For two Long Island women who just became U.S. citizens last year, 2020 presents their first opportunity to vote for president.
As part of News 12's Hispanic Heritage Month series, we spoke to Martha Maffei and Ludmila Molina, from SEPA Mujer, a nonprofit in Patchogue that works to support immigrant women on Long Island.
The two became U.S. citizens last year and while both have voted in local elections since, they are looking forward to their first time voting in a presidential election.
"It's just kind of like a surreal moment, because you're just standing there, you're in the courtroom and I even felt like chills, like in my body, because like this is happening, I'm finally becoming a citizen," says Molina.
Molina came to Long Island with her family as a young girl from Argentina and is now working as a community activist and paralegal for SEPA Mujer. She says going out in the community and talking with immigrants about their concerns is one of the reasons it's important for her to vote.
"Humanitarian visas, or TPS or DACA and things like that ... it's really hard for me to see that and I think that's why it's like really important for me to, when I vote, it's not just for myself, it's to all those behind me," says Molina.
Maeffi came to the U.S. from Peru in 2004 and is the executive director of SEPA Mujer. She says she is also working the phones and organizing rides to the polls for others in Long Island's immigrant community who can vote.
Both women say they plan to cast their ballots in person on Election Day.