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05 May 2015

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

My name is Melissa Lin, and I’ve been here at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services since 2010. I have remained with USCIS in part because I share a commitment with my colleagues to helping immigrants and U.S. citizens navigate our immigration system. My parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan in the 1970s to seek more opportunity for themselves and their children. Knowing that my everyday work can help people like my parents is the best part of my job. Since May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, I want to tell you about how we work for the AAPI community.

One way is by providing immigration information in the native languages for some in the AAPI community: Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Palauan, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu and Vietnamese. We also provide Chinese-language videos where experts answer questions about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and naturalization on our Public Engagement Videos page.

But our commitment goes beyond providing literature and videos in numerous languages. Our folks have worked with leaders in Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean speaking communities across the country to have community discussions we call “engagements.” For example, one recent Korean engagement provided information on requesting DACA. Other engagements in Chinese and Vietnamese covered what it takes to become a citizen.

One of the best reasons for us to use other languages is to help you avoid immigration scams. For example, our blog warned about a call spoofing scam that has targeted Asian Americans and others. From the comments, we know that our post saved at least a few readers from financial disaster. Knowing that we helped even one person makes it all worthwhile.

Recently, USCIS submitted a report to President Obama from the Task Force on New Americans entitled Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents: A Federal Strategic Action Plan on Immigrant and Refugee Integration. This plan outlines a robust federal immigrant and refugee integration strategy that advances our global competitiveness and identifies ways to ensure our nation's diverse people are fully contributing to their communities and are welcomed into them. You can read about it in Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese.

Of course, we do our best for people from all around the world. But for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re taking a moment to highlight what we do for the AAPI community. Please tell us in the comments what we can do for you!

About the author: Melissa Lin works in the USCIS Office of Policy and Strategy, where she writes policy guidance.

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