Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski says city residents can go the city website at www.allentownpa.gov and to the new Mayor’s Office of Immigration Services at Alliance Hall to be connected to help on a multitude of immigration issues.
Pawlowski was joined for the announcement at a morning news conference in City Council Chambers by Attorney Katie Albarelli, Attorney Kevin Santos, Catholic Charities Immigration Caseworker Jennifer Zurek and translators Nancy Sadiaa Hakim and Iman Moosa.
“Since January, I have been approached by folks who are fearful about new immigration policies coming out of Washington and don’t where to turn for assistance,” Pawlowski said. “That’s what we are trying to accomplish with this new initiative. The city has enlisted the help of a number of attorneys with experience on immigration issues. All people have to do is sign up to get the process started.”
In the “Meet Mayor Pawlowski” section and at the bottom of the home page, are links to the Immigration Assistance section, with options for specific services needed. There is also an additional resource link, listing supplemental resources with a 116 page guide in several languages containing information on federal government branches, departments and agencies, the rights and responsibilities as a permanent resident, getting settled in the U.S., understanding the education and health care systems and a section on how to become a citizen.
From the Immigration Resources page, one can also click on “Sign Up” to open a page where a visitor can sign up for services relating to Child Welfare/Immigration, Citizenship and Naturalization, Deportation Related Concerns, other legal and translation services.
Twelve persons have already signed-up for appointments.
Once renovations are completed to the new cultural community center at Alliance Hall, persons with immigration issues will be able to schedule meetings with attorneys that specialize in immigration issues either in their offices or at Alliance Hall. Persons with questions on immigration can get basic questions answered from attorneys offering pro bono services.
Staff has been in touch with consulate offices about coming to Allentown once a month to help their constituents. Persons with questions about travel and visas would be able to get answers without having to travel to Philadelphia or other cities.
A “Citizenship Day” is being planned with Catholic Charities when 20-to-30 staff members will be on hand to help immigrants fill out U.S. citizenship applications.