J-1 Intern Finds Success in Boston

J-1 intern Siobhan Sumption arrived in Boston in early July, eager to hit the ground running. A biomedical science major from NUI Galway, her journey to the United States was fueled by a desire to gain an international perspective and practical training in her field.

“Traveling to Boston was an obvious choice for me, due to the city’s thriving research and industrial communities,” Siobhan said. “Having spent several summers here as a child, I knew that the great Boston area was an exciting and welcoming environment that I wanted to be part of.”

Now a research assistant at the Center for Evidence-Based Imaging (CEBI) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Siobhan will be taking the stage at the IIIC’s Solas Awards to speak about her experience on the visa thus far.

“I already feel like I have learned a lot here and, I look forward to further contributing to the work in CEBI at the hospital. Although uprooting for a year can be challenging and daunting at times, I found the support and resources that the Irish International Immigrant Center offer their program participants to be extremely helpful. Their help and encouragement has made my transition here so much easier!”

Matters of Substance

Growing Older with Alcohol & Medications

Q. My Dad is 75 and has always been very healthy. It has only been in the last year, since my mam died, that I’ve noticed he is not doing so well but it’s hard to put my finger on what is wrong. I keep finding bruises on his arms that he can’t always explain, he rarely wants to come out with my daughter and I at the weekends, seems to have more memory lapses (like forgetting that he took his meds or taking double the dose), says he is not sleeping well, forgets to eat and doesn’t always notice wearing the same outfit a few days in a row. He insists he is fine and that I’m just ‘fussing’ but something doesn’t feel right. What should I do?


A. It is very difficult to see someone we love, who used to be self-sufficient to become gradually less so as they age. It is especially difficult when this person used to take care of us and now we find our roles reversing. It is completely normal for you and your Dad to experience some resistance to this change. However, some of the symptoms you have mentioned could indicate a problem he may be having with his medications and/or perhaps his alcohol intake. It might also be helpful to keep in mind your dad may still be grieving the loss of your mother last year. Do you think he could be experiencing depression, taking more medication than useful (like meds to help him sleep) or using alcohol in a harmful way?

As we grow older, our bodies respond differently to alcohol and medication than when we were younger. It is helpful to be aware that some of your Dad’s current medications may not be mixing well with others, like over the counter meds or herbal remedies and most medications do not mix well with alcohol. It may seem strange to mention alcohol specifically but in my experience, some of the symptoms you note potentially indicate a problem. According to SAMHSA & CSAT,[1] some signals for concern could include:

Memory trouble after having a drink or taking medicine Loss of coordination (walking unsteadily, frequent falls) Changes in sleeping habits Unexplained bruises Irritability, sadness, depression Changes in eating habits Wanting to stay alone a lot of the time Failing to bathe or keep clean Having trouble finishing sentences or concentrating Difficulty staying in touch with family or friends Lack of interest in usual activities

If you have noticed any of the above, it might be helpful to chat with your dad about your concerns, showing him this list. If he still insists, there is nothing to worry about, chat with your own doctor, get advice from your local Senior Center or Program or perhaps your spiritual advisor.

Do you have an older relative you are concerned about? Do you work with older adults as a nurse, HHA or PCA? We are hosting another QPR Suicide Prevention Workshop, specifically designed for responding to older adults, in Quincy on Tuesday October 28th. You will learn concrete strategies to respond to an older adult experiencing depression, anxiety, substance use issues or suicidal thoughts. Call our Licensed Counselor, Danielle, in confidence, at the Irish International Immigration Center, Phone: 617-542-7654 ext: 14 or e-mail: dowen@iicenter.org if you want to consult about your relative or an older adult that you have concerns about or if you want to join us on Tuesday for our special QPR Workshop.

[1] Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment - http://asyouage.samhsa.gov/

Immigration News


Q: I am applying for legal permanent residence in the US. Do I have to submit a birth certificate with my application? I lost my copy, so I would have to get another one from the town where I was born in my home country.

A: Yes, you definitely need to submit a copy of your certified birth record (assuming such a record exists) as part of the application package for legal permanent residence and for various other immigration benefits. It is certain that US Citizenship and Immigration Services will not process your application without this document.

Information regarding the specific procedures for obtaining birth certificates usually is available from the embassy or consulate of the relevant home country. The record must contain the following information:

· Person’s name;

· Person’s date of birth;

· Person’s place of birth;

· Names of both parents (if known);

· An annotation (stamp, seal, signature, etc.) by the appropriate authority indicating that the document is the official record or an extract from the official records.

Unobtainable birth certificates

Your birth record may be unobtainable for a number of reasons, such as:

Your birth was never officially recorded. Your birth records have been destroyed. The appropriate government authority will not issue the document.

In such cases, you should try to obtain a certified statement from the appropriate government authority in your home country stating the reason why your birth record is not available. With the certified statement you must submit what the US immigration authorities call “secondary evidence.” For example:

A baptismal certificate that contains the date and place of birth and parents’ names (providing the baptism took place within two months after birth); An adoption decree for an adopted child; A sworn affidavit from at least two persons, preferably including the applicant’s mother, stating that they have personal knowledge of the date and place of birth, parents’ names, and the mother’s maiden name.

An affidavit must be signed in the presence of an official authorized to administer oaths or affirmations in the relevant country.


If your birth certificate (or any of the other evidentiary documents discussed above) is in a language other than English, you will need to submit both a copy of the original document plus a certified English translation of the entire contents of the document. The translator needs to certify that he/she is competent to translate documents from the original language into English, and that the translation submitted is a complete and accurate version of the original document. Applicants and their family members may not provide translations themselves, even if they are fluent in English. Note that the same criteria apply for translations of other documents not in English that may need to be submitted in conjunction with applications for immigration benefits, such as passports, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and other court records.

Note for Irish citizens: For Irish birth certificates, the “long form” version should be submitted.

If you have any difficulty obtaining the proper evidence regarding your birth records, or if you have any other questions concerning immigration law, visit one of our weekly clinics advertised in the Emigrant for a free, confidential consultation. We also are able to provide certified translations of documents in Spanish and French, and for other languages we can provide referrals to professional translation services in the Boston area.

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in individual cases. Immigration law is always subject to change. US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of State frequently amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice seek the assistance of IIIC legal services staff.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Visits Boston

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Nichola Mallon, visited Boston last week and led a delegation of Interfaith Chaplains from Belfast to further develop the Boston-Belfast Sister City partnership.

Mayor Mallon assumed office in June and will serve a one year term.

DV Lottery 2016 – Final Reminder!

The entry submission deadline for the 2016 Diversity Visa Lottery program (DV-2016) is 12:00 Noon, Eastern Daylight Time, on Monday, November 3, 2014. For further information, visit the State Department website at: https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/

Quote of the Week

“Who cares? When autumn birds in flocks fly southward, back we turn the clocks,

And so regain a lovely thing, that missing hour we lost in spring.” - Phyllis McGinley