Josephine Stout was born in Limerick in Ireland 90 years ago. Despite the fact that she has actually been living in the United States since 1923, she has never been able to gain US citizenship. Dubbed the oldest undocumented immigrant in America, Stout is now expected to get on the fast track to finally gain United States citizenship. The great grandmother has also regarded herself as being American, has no accent and currently lives in Chicago.
Stout arrived in the United States via the RMS Franconia when she was just 18 months old. Upon arriving from the Emerald Isle, she had no passport or birth certificate and came with both her parents and her 12 brothers and sisters. Despite living in America for so long Stout had never concerned herself with the citizenship issue until she reached the age of 70 and attempted to qualify for benefits.
Stout’s daughter was killed in a robbery when Stout was 70 years old in 1999, and when she attempted to get state aid in order to help raise her seven grandchildren, she was unable to prove her citizenship and found herself declared to be an “illegal alien”.
Her case was referred to the Irish Immigrant Support Center in Chicago by a Catholic charity, after which the Irish Consulate was contacted and a birth certificate found. After Stout received this document she was then able to gain an Irish passport and finally a green card – backdated to November 1st,1923.