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Terry Cowgill
Taha Bouras of Morocco becomes a U.S. citizen at a ceremony held Aug. 10 at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.

Berkshire Immigrant Center to host free citizenship workshop

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By Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018 Life In the Berkshires

Berkshire Immigrant Center to host free citizenship workshop

Pittsfield — The Berkshire Immigrant Center will host a citizenship workshop Wednesday, Sept. 19, from 5:45 to 7:15 p.m. The workshop will provide valuable information for immigrants as well as their families and allies. BIC encourages anyone who wants to know more about the citizenship process to attend, whether it is for themselves or to pass information to a friend, family member or client.

BIC staff and attorney Michele Sisselman provide an overview of all things citizenship, including:

  • Why everyone should apply and why getting advice before applying is so important;
  • The requirements, process, timeline and test;
  • Red flags for applicants and whether or not a lawyer will be needed;
  • Trends at naturalization interviews; and
  • How BIC can help.

Berkshire Immigrant Center executive director Brooke Mead acknowledges the new naturalized citizens at the Aug. 10 ceremony at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Applauding behind her are Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer and Lina Orozco Grillon, an immigrant and educator who sang during the ceremony. Photo: Terry Cowgill

“This citizenship workshop is one of the most important things that the Berkshire Immigrant Center can do to support the thousands of foreign-born residents in our region,” said BIC executive director Brooke Mead. “With more than 20 years’ experience in legal immigration counseling—plus our free citizenship preparation classes—BIC is in the best position to help immigrants obtain accurate information about becoming U.S. citizens. And now, more than ever, people badly need reliable facts they can count on.”

BIC is the only program in Berkshire County that focuses exclusively on meeting the unique challenges of a continuously growing immigrant and refugee population. Currently, approximately 10 percent of the total population of Berkshire County is foreign-born. According to data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Berkshire County has the most diverse foreign-born population of any county in the state. BIC serves an average of 700 clients per year from more than 70 countries, and reaches many more through presentations and workshops. It helps clients reunite with family and obtain work authorization, visas, green cards, U.S. citizenship, and special statuses such as Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. BIC also offers emergency financial assistance, interpretation and translation, and free clinics with an attorney on nonimmigration issues.

BIC is located on the second floor of the parish house of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Allen Street off of Park Square. The entrance is through the red doors of the church offices on Allen Street, one block south of Pittsfield City Hall.

The workshop is free an open to all interested individuals. For more information, contact BIC at (413) 445-4881 or info@berkshireic.com.

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