Sisters in N. Texas become citizens - Dallas News |

After 5-year fight to stay in U.S., sisters in N. Texas become citizens

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Friday marked the end of a five-year battle for North Texas sisters Oli Snyder and Jelena Bolt as they officially became U.S. citizens.

The sisters came to the U.S. from Yugoslavia and were nearly deported.

"It's something to celebrate today, but it's also something to take in account of everything that we've done to get where we are today," said Bolt. "And it's just perseverance and having faith. And we just give God the glory of everything that's happened in our lives."

Snyder and Bolt emigrated from Yugoslavia with their parents as little girls. For years, they worked with no problems, paid taxes, had social security numbers and drivers licenses.

But in 2009, immigration officials arrested Bolt and held her at a detention center for about a month.

They ordered Snyder to wear an ankle monitor, and in 2010, she was told she had two weeks to leave the U.S. to return to Yugoslavia.

"Doesn't even seem like it's my story anymore," said Snyder. "Seems like it's someone else's."

Snyder's husband, Dan, and their three children made plans to leave with her.

Their attorney filed multiple appeals, and finally, the women both received their green cards -- a reassuring, but still temporary fix.

"They've been here for so long," said Dan. "We would do what we had to do, but it wasn't home. To be able to be here and them be citizens and have the opportunities that they have now, it's awesome."

With their certificates in hand, the sisters are now confident making plans.

"I don't want to dwell in the past," said Bolt. "I want to see what's going to happen in the future. Today's my future."

Snyder said she sees her kids' future more clearly.

"That's my biggest reward -- knowing we'll be able to raise them here," she said.


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