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Citizenship within reach for some permanent residents of U.S.

All residents of the Miami area are probably aware that immigration matters are complex. Accordingly, it is likely not surprising that many people do not understand how the system works. This is not limited to those whose ancestors have been in the United States for generations. Even those who are immigrants usually need assistance and education regarding the immigration laws that are often changing.

One group of individuals in Southern Florida, as well as throughout the nation, who may benefit from working with an immigration lawyer are legal permanent residents who could become citizens of the U.S. According to one statistic, there are 5.4 million legal immigrants in this group who are initially from Mexico. Of that amount, close to two-thirds of them could become citizens of the U.S. if they chose to. When other countries of origin are taken into consideration that number would clearly be much higher.

There are likely many reasons that legal permanent residents have not pursued citizenship. The cost is probably behind this for many people. Others may not have time to study for the citizenship test or need help filling out the forms that are in English. Some people simply may not know what steps need to be taken.

This past weekend the Florida Immigration Coalition as well as other Miami area community organizations got together to try to assist many individuals with that. People were available to help with translating documents and providing legal assistance. While some individuals were undoubtedly aided by this gathering, other individuals who may be eligible to become a U.S. citizen may find the best way to proceed is to work with an immigration attorney.

Source: The Miami Herald, “Miami groups encourage immigrants to naturalize,” The Associated Press, June 22, 2013

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