Mom, teen relieved after immigration flap

BY BONNIE DELANEY
TOMS RIVER BUREAU


BERKELEY — Andrea MacArthur is beginning to see light at the end of
the tunnel in her quest to become an American citizen — but the past
few days have been a roller coaster for the 19-year-old Ocean County
College student.

Recently, she was unable to renew her driver’s
license because she lacked the proper credentials from the U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services department.

Buoyed by
support she received from those who read a story about her plight on
Tuesday, it was only one day later she received a message from her
employer that she should not return to work until she has the proper
documentation.

Last month, MacArthur had celebrated the first anniversary of her part-time job at Kohl’s in Toms River.

“She called me up crying after she received that message,” said MacArthur’s mother, Gail Carnevale, 40, of Berkeley.

So, Carnevale did what any other mother would do.

She
took the day off from her own job and she and her daughter drove to the
immigration offices in Newark, arriving hours before the office opened
Thursday morning.

“I talked to my contact with immigration in
Washington, D.C. and learned that the Newark office occasionally takes
walk-ins,” Carnevale said.

When the office opened, Carnevale and
MacArthur explained their problem to the person at the reception desk,
who told them no one was seen without an appointment and the office no
longer stamped passports.

“So, we sat there and finally the head
of security told us we couldn’t wait there. He told us to wait in the
cafeteria and to make our phone calls there,” Carnevale said.

Carnevale
said she then put calls in to the Washington, D.C., immigration office
as well as the office of Rep. H. James Saxton, R-N.J.

Saxton had helped her become a citizen and his aides were trying to help MacArthur.

As
Carnevale was waiting for her calls to be returned, she noticed
numerous lawyers talking to clients and she walked up to one to ask for
help.

“I didn’t know what else to do. I was ready to hire someone right there if I could,” she said.

After
she was turned away by two lawyers, a third lawyer agreed to walk her
over to the immigration case worker who was handling her case.

“She
told me she knew him (the case worker) and she would introduce me,”
Carnevale said. “She (the lawyer) helped us out of the goodness of her
heart.”

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