Help available for immigrants

Thank you for bringing attention to a major hazard faced by immigrants and visitors to this country. In your July 22 story, "Alien: The unbearable paperwork of being," Arun James learned that even immigrants from friendly neighboring Canada are subject to the complex and tricky rules and regulations of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Navigating the rigid, faceless bureaucracy is not the only hurdle– severe backlogs keep applicants suspended in limbo for long and unpredictable lengths of time. The USCIS is not a forgiving agency, and not knowing the ropes, as James discovered, can lead to being removed from the country.

Fortunately for Charlottesville area immigrants and visitors, a resource exists to help them obtain needed benefits from the USCIS. The local office of the International Rescue Committee is a non-profit agency accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals to provide affordable immigration counsel and services. In today's climate of heightened security and increased scrutiny of foreigners, immigrants and visitors are well advised to seek professional assistance in their dealing with the USCIS.

Reuben Marshall