Anna Zajac from Liverpool in New York has been living in the United States since her parents brought her to the country from Poland when she was just three years old, back in 1928. Zajac, who is now 90 years old, believed that she was an American citizen, according to the Associated Press, only to discover that a clerical error made back in 1935 resulted in her having been an undocumented immigrant for 86 years, despite having a social security card, voting, and paying taxes.
Zajac’s husband Henry died last October and she tried to file paperwork to enable her to receive his social security benefits, only to discover the shocking truth about her citizenship status.
Representative Dan Maffei was contacted by Zajac’s son Richard to try to help his mother, and Maffei’s office discovered the citizenship application filed in Oswego County in New York by her parents back in 1935. Zajac was eventually sworn in as a citizen of the United States after filing her application and a number of supporting documents, with immigration services officer Richard Bessette going to her home and allowing her to take the oath of citizenship there rather than having to drive to the Syracuse office.
A representative from Maffei’s office was on hand to give Zajac a US flag to celebrate her citizenship. Zajac’s children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and sister were also present.