Handbook inspired by imprisoned Jamaican to assist new immigrants to US

Observer writer

Monday, March 12, 2018

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New York , USA — Two prominent members of the Jamaican community here, as well as an incarcerated national, have produced a handbook they hope will assist new Jamaican migrants to the United States to navigate its basic laws.

The book deals with how to apply for citizenship, dual citizenship, obtaining a driver's licence, travelling within the United States, agencies that can provide help, starting a business, understanding the rights of immigrants, and accessing legal representation, if needed, among other issues.

The book entitled: “Handbook for Jamaicans Coming to the United States - A key to a successful future”, is authored by prominent immigration attorney Joan Pinnock; Carmeta Albarus, head of Family Unification Resettlement Initiative (FURI); and Alvin W McLean who is currently incarcerated.

McLean is serving time for alleged murder, but has insisted that he is innocent of the crime.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Albarus said “the idea to publish the book came from McLean, who felt that it would be a good idea as many Jamaican immigrants who run afoul of the laws here do so out of ignorance.

“Many of those who emigrate here are misinformed and unprepared on how to navigate the intricacies of even the basic laws. Minor things that we take for granted in Jamaica — like peeing in public — could result in serious consequences here,” she noted.

Attorney Pinnock said the book “aims to provide a proactive situation for the new arrivals from our homeland”.

In a foreword to the book, Jamaica's ambassador to the US Audrey Marks lauded the authors and noted that, “This handbook will serve as an invaluable resource tool for individuals contemplating or making the bold move to migrate to the United States.”

Both Pinnock and Albarus say they are working on plans to have the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade use the book as an information guide for Jamaicans migrating to the US.

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