LOS ANGELES (UPI)–US immigration officials in Los Angeles say a 117-year-old Armenian woman has become one of the oldest people ever to obtain US citizenship.
At a ceremony Friday–Manik Bokchalian became the oldest person to become a US citizen in the seven-county Los Angeles district. She may be the oldest person ever to become a US citizen–but officials could not immediately confirm the record.
Interpreter and spokeswoman Marine Gambaryan says Bokchalian decided to become an American citizen because she thinks the United States "is a healthy country and she wants to be a part of it."
Gambaryan said Bokchalian "doesn’t have long-term plans because she doesn’t know how long she’ll be here. She just wants to enjoy time with her family," including two daughters–a son and more than 30 grandchildren.
Bokchalian was born in Turkey on June 30–1880. She moved to the United States in 1980 when she was 101 years old.
Asked what the secret to her longevity is–Gambaryan said people always ask that question and Bokchalian always replies–"A good heart and a good husband." Gambaryan said she is a devout Christian who’s "constantly praying."
Bokchalian’s husband died about 50 years ago and she never remarried.