A Journey through Cuban Immigration in Hialeah, FL Mark a. gomez

Proyecto Puente de Caridad was an initiative started by two Catholic priests from Hialeah. Fr. Manny Alvarez and Fr. Jose Alvarez of Immaculate Conception Parish and Our Lady of the Lakes Parish, respectively, decided one day that the need for knowledge of "what's next" was at an all time high in Hialeah. For a long while, Cubans have been supported by the Cuban Adjustment Act. Now, they are sort of left in limbo because of new legislation that might retract the CAA.

Fr. Manny Alvarez (left) and Fr. Jose Alvarez (right)

These priests had the idea of creating this event where Cuban immigrants who have been in the United States for a year and a day legally can come and ask questions about the legal process as to how become a citizen.

Among the legal councils that were present were Miami-Dade College and Miami-Dade Public Schools, Day Cares, Catholic Charities/ Legal Services, Jackson Health, Youth Aftercares and different services for personal professional building. The project was dedicated to offer participants an opportunity to connect with assets for them in Miami.

Fr. Jose Alvarez with representatives from the above mentioned assistances

Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski rallied behind this effort. He knew that this would give recently arrived Cubans the ability to ask the questions they do have to the right people. Fr. Manny and Fr. Jose truly gave these members of our community a sense of acceptance.

Commissioner Bovo, whom I work for, made it known to these people that our office is available to help them in whichever capacity they need. Since that day, I have been the liaison for 24 people to get in contact with the right federal agency so that they might soon become a citizen of the United States.



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