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For immigrants and refugees, 4th of July represents freedom

For many of us, the Fourth of July was celebrated with cookouts, picnics and parades and enjoyed in the company of our family and friends. But for immigrants who have come to the U.S. seeking a better life, Independence Day can mean so much more.

In Monday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Marie Therese Rowland, an immigrant from the Togolese Republic, tells her story of coming to America amidst political oppression and
unrest in her native land.

Marie and her family fled to America in 2003, and, along with her husband and two children, was granted permanent residency in 2004. With the help of JF&CS, Marie will take the naturalization exam and the oath to become a permanent legal U.S. citizen.

“America saved my life,” she said. “The U.S. is free and we have to celebrate that.”

The immigration legal services department of JF&CS is the only non-profit immigration-related legal services provider recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals of the Department of Justice in the southwestern Pennsylvania area. Each year, we help more than 1,100 immigrants and refugees like Marie.

The department is staffed by two immigration attorneys and two accredited representatives. Numerous pro bono attorneys and law students, secured through collaborations with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law Immigration Law Clinic and the Allegheny County Bar Foundation, enable JF&CS to help even more low-income immigrants in need of immigration-related legal services.

Fees are nominal and arrangements can be made for clients with financial hardships.

For more information on JF&CS’s immigration legal and other services, visit our website at www.jfcspgh.org.

Click here to read the Post-Gazette article.