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Local immigration office cuts services, moves office

By Rachel Molenda, Staff writer

The state’s only federal immigration facility will cease offering several of its services by the end of May.

Christopher Bentley, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman, said Charleston’s Application Support Center moves from its Kanawha Boulevard office to 4501 MacCorkle Ave. S.E. next week, and that building can’t support services, such as citizenship interviews, benefit interviews, application filings and general queries for immigration information.

People will have to travel to Pittsburgh to receive those services after May 30.

The Charleston office provides interviews and filings to about 280 people last year, Bentley said.

“The USCIS office in Charleston handled a limited number of cases for immigrants in the southern part of West Virginia,” Bentley said. “The majority of West Virginian immigrants have always traveled to the Pittsburgh Field Office to complete their immigration cases.”

West Virginia has a low immigrant population, according to an earlier Gazette report. Only 1.7 percent of the state’s working population is foreign-born, which is the fourth-lowest rate in the county, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

No jobs are expected to be lost as the center phases out its services, Bentley said. There is one full-time employee and one part-time employee at the center.

“The number of contract employees at each ASC is based on work volume,” Bentley said. “There is always a USCIS employee, an Application Support Center Immigration Services Officer, assigned to the facility to manage the work of the contract employees.”

The only services provided by the office after May 30 will be fingerprinting, photographs and signatures, Bentley said.

Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.molenda@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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