With the month of May designated as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) acknowledges the significance of the region on the nation in its officials blog, called The Beacon. The entry, published on May 5, 2015, USCIS notes the range of AAPI languages—from Chinese to Urdu—as well as efforts toward community discussions—known as engagements—as evidence of its commitment to the native people of the region.
The entry, authored by USCIS Office of Policy and Strategy worker Melissa Lin, cites USCIS information availability in Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Pajauan, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu and Vietnamese. Additionally, Line points out the Chinese-language videos USCIS has created where experts answer questions about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and also about naturalization through the agency’s Public Engagement Videos page.
Lin describes herself as having first-generation Taiwanese immigrant parents who came to the United States in the 1970’s in pursuit of opportunity for themselves and their children. Beginning her career with USCIS in 2010, Lin writes, “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,” Lin, who began working with USCIS in 2010, writes in the blog entry. “Knowing that my everyday work can help people like my parents is the best part of my job.”
While websites and other media in multiple language is central to USCIS delivery of services to the widest audience possible, Lin says the agency’s practice of working in immigrant communities is another critical pieces of the puzzle. “Our folks have worked with leaders in Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean speaking communities across the country,” Lin writes. Called “engagements,” these discussions have focused on DACA and citizenship.
Offering information in immigrants’ native language is a critical component to help the foreign-born population avoid scams. Some of these, Line writes, have specifically targeted Asian Americans.
Read more about USCIS language efforts here.