Workshop Attendance for Immigrants Low

With an estimated 100,000 Nicaraguan and Cuban nationals living in Los Angeles possibly eligible to request amnesty from the federal government Monday, turnout for a recent series of free workshops designed to help immigrants apply was surprisingly low, organizers of the sessions said.

During the past three weeks, about 200 people attended six information sessions at the San Juan Macias Orientation Immigrant Center, which helps immigrants obtain green cards and deal with questions about legal status, said community outreach coordinator Felipe Kofman.

President Clinton signed the federal Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act into law in November. The act provides amnesty for Nicaraguans and Cubans who have been living continuously in the United States since Dec. 1, 1995. Beginning Monday, those who qualify have 21 months to file applications.

Although fewer potential applicants than expected turned out for the recent information sessions, which featured speakers from the Immigration and Naturalization Service who explained procedures, those who believe they might be eligible for amnesty should still contact the center, Kofman said.

"They can come here," Kofman said. "We can give them information. We can explain to them what [paperwork] they need to get together."

The nonprofit immigration center, which offers free consultation, is accredited by the Immigration Board of Appeals, allowing it to assist immigrants in the same matters that immigration lawyers address, Kofman said.

The center is at 13672 Van Nuys Blvd. For more information, call (818) 896-1156.

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