A new service beginning today makes it easier for people dealing with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office for Nebraska and Iowa. Jerry Heinauer is director of that office, and he explains 40-percent of the people who have to come in for meetings travel from more than 100 miles away. The “InfoPass” system could spare them long lines to meet with counselors or turn in paperwork. He explains it’s an Internet-based appointment system that’ll let clients in Iowa and Nebraska schedule appointments to come in to the Omaha office, the 33 district offices and 34 sub-offices. Shelley Schrader of Catholic Charities Legal Immigration Assistance Services in Omaha says the Info-Pass program will help her clients, who often have trouble getting time off work to visit the immigration office. Schrader says using the computer can make it easier to make appointments, but also to change one. Heinauer says in places where Info-Pass is working, the long lines are gone at government immigration offices. Heinauer says the agency and the customer can regulate how many people are seen and how many appointments are made in a day, but also can help potential customers avoid trips — as in cases when they just need a form and can get that from the Internet site. The office is part of the agency formerly known as the I-N-S and handles applications from people hoping to become legal citizens of the U.S.
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