(ESPAÑOL) Free immigration services and citizenship courses are to be offered at Falmouth Human Services, Massachusetts, every Friday, beginning January 13, by the Immigration Resource Center.
“We were told a need exists,” said Collin Mickle, director of the resource center part of the Community Action Committee of Cape Cod and Islands, Inc., based in Hyannis. “We are filling in the gaps.”
The Falmouth satellite office will offer the full range of services offered at the Hyannis office, which includes citizenship courses, green card and work permit renewals, help filling out paperwork and legal representation. The Immigration Resource Center, which is a nonprofit organization, is certified by the Department of Homeland Security to offer these programs.
In October and November of last year the center served 51 clients, and they served another 54 December, Mr. Mickle said.
Reports show that the immigrant populations on the Cape and islands have grown in recent years.
The total population of the Cape and islands has increased 18.74 percent from 1990 to 2014, while the total immigrant population has increased 96.9 percent, as reported by the Department of Homeland Security, said Richard Vengroff, an accredited immigration representative with the organization.
On the Cape and islands there are about 3,500 immigrants eligible for naturalization, according to data collected by the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.
Mr. Vengroff, who lives in Mashpee, helped start the resource center in Hyannis about a year ago.
Previously, he worked with refugees and asylum seekers through Lowell’s International Institute. Now Mr. Vengroff is focused on starting operations in Falmouth. Services there are primarily for those who need help financially and to navigate through the system. Filling out paperwork can be a challenge.
“People try to rip them off,” Mr. Vengroff said. “They are charged services they don’t need.”
He said that a change in presidential administration may result in more clients seeking help from the agency, depending on how the new administration acts on recent actions taken by the Obama administration, such as deferred action for childhood arrivals.