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Miami immigration rights groups overwhelmed with demand

Two prominent immigration rights groups in Miami have banded together in order to more effectively serve our region's immigrant population, it was announced on Tuesday.

The Florida Immigrant Coalition and WeCount have said they plan to work together to help more Central American, Haitian and Mexican immigrants obtain U.S. citizenship.

Evidently, the organizations have similar missions, but have ended up serving different populations. The hope is that if they cooperate together, they can be more efficient and reach a wider segment of immigrants who need legal assistance.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Immigrant Coalition said her organization has been overwhelmed with responses to its clinics and workshops, which are meant to help immigrants understand their existing status and determine what must be done to move their application for citizenship forward.

Groups like these are absolutely indispensable because they serve a vital public purpose. However, as that comment from the spokeswoman shows, they are often overworked, understaffed and under-resourced. Sometimes, when you have a pressing problem, you need to get legal assistance right away.

If that is the case, an attorney who practices immigration law may be able to better assist you than a community organization, or perhaps the attorney's work could compliment that already done or in the process of being done by the organization.

The bottom line is that immigration issues are tough and often require a lot of work to iron out completely. Don't let that discourage you from pursuing U.S. citizenship, if that is your dream. Rather, you should use that information as a reminder that patience and persistence are likely to be necessary.

Source: The Miami Herald, "Volunteers to help immigrants apply for citizenship in Homestead," Christina Veiga, July 24, 2012

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