The immigration office should not move to Wilkins

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In response to Wilkins Commissioner Michael Boyd’s letter “Wilkins Has a Lot to Offer in Immigration Office Move” (Aug. 15) regarding the article “Federal Immigration Office’s Move to Wilkins Criticized by Agencies” (Aug. 7): With all due respect to Mr. Boyd and the township of Wilkins, while it is true that Wilkins has its charm and the amenities Mr. Boyd describes, as a location for a federal agency such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, it is not a logical move.

It is unpopular with me, as an employee of USCIS, for two reasons: 1) It is east of the nightmarish Squirrel Hill Tunnel, and 2) while there is bus service, as Mr. Boyd mentions, the 67 runs only once an hour and it stops on Route 22, a great distance from the actual building, which is tucked away at the farthest point back in the industrial park. And while the commute by bicycle from Shadyside to Wilkins (about five miles) is convenient for Mr. Boyd, for the USCIS employees who live as far away as Youngstown, Ohio, or the immigrant who lives in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, or Charleston, West Virginia, moving the office farther away from the center of Pittsburgh creates a significant increase in commute time and poses additional barriers to customers applying for benefits.

I am sure the location at Penn Center may well serve a number of businesses or other government entities (ones that operate without serving 100 customers a day), but as an employee of the agency in question, I reaffirm the Post-Gazette’s article and reporting: I criticize the move and believe as an agency, USCIS can do better.


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