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Transcript: Press Conference: USCIS Announces Outreach to Chinese Immigrant Community, February 6, 2012
USCIS Announces Outreach to Chinese Immigrant Community
February 6, 2012
1:00 pm ET
Coordinator: Welcome and thank you for standing by. All participants will be in a listen-only mode until the question and answer session. To ask a question at that time please press star then 1.
Today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections you may disconnect at this time.
And now I’d like to turn the meeting over to Miss Edna Ruano, Chief of the Office of Communications for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Edna Ruano: Thank you (Becca). Welcome to today’s call with USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. Before we begin the call wanted to set some guidelines.
Please introduce yourself -- your name, what media outlet your represent. And also limit your questions specifically to our event as to use the Director’s time wisely.
If you have any follow-up questions after the call, please contact the USCIS Press Office at 202-272-1200. Thanks again for your participation. And now we’ll turn it over to USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas.
Alejandro Mayorkas: Good afternoon everyone. Thank you very much for joining us today. We are very, very excited about what we are launching on February 16 of this year - just in a little bit more than a week.
We will conduct a first session in a series of national public engagements in Chinese called Jiao liu. And this is part of our ongoing effort to reach the diverse communities we serve.
I don’t know if all of you are familiar with the fact that in 2010 and 2011 we launched a series of public engagements in the Spanish language called “Enlaces,” which, like Jiao liu, means engagement.
And we did so understanding and recognizing the fact that many of the individuals that seek to access our services are most comfortable in the Spanish language.
And we - because of the success of that engagement series - we reached more than 1000 people in 2010, 2011 through our Spanish language engagements -we decided to expand the multi-lingual engagements and decided that we should next do it in the Chinese language because of the demographics of our customer base.
The Chinese language-speaking individuals are the second largest population of immigrant communities that we serve. In 2010 alone, nearly 71,000 residents from the People’s Republic of China became lawful permanent residents of the United States.
And we are very devoted to reaching all of the communities whom we serve and knocking down any barriers to access and any barriers to enfranchisement that might exist in our ability to reach the communities.
And we recognize that one of those barriers very well might be the facility with the English language. And so we are providing multi-lingual engagements to be most accessible, most open and most transparent.
Our Jiao liu on February 16 will be conducted from our office in San Francisco, California. We will also have, of course, people able to participate by teleconference from all over the country. We will also be streaming via the Web.
We will be in email communication in Chinese. And the public library in Queens, New York, will host a parallel engagement where people could watch the San Francisco Engagement by video. And they of course will also have the teleconference capability.
Our goal is to be an accessible public service agency to reach those who need or are entitled to our services, and to do what we can to make that reach as broad and wide as possible.
And so we’re very, very proud of this engagement upcoming in San Francisco. We do intend to continue to expand these programs.
Our next anticipated language is in the Vietnamese language because of the size of that population that we serve.
We will have in the San Francisco engagement a USCIS employee who speaks Mandarin. We will also have a USCIS employee who speaks Cantonese so that we will be able to accommodate questions from the community in either dialect.
And so with that I thought we’ll leave it to your questions. And I again appreciate your interest in this. It’s something that we’re very proud of.
Coordinator: Thank you. And to ask a question at this time please press star 1, unmute your phone and record your name when prompted. To withdraw your request you may press star 2. Once again to ask a question, please press star 1.
First question will come from Betty Lin with World Journal.
Alejandro Mayorkas: Hi Betty. Good afternoon.
Betty Lin: Hi. Thank you (Ali) for this very good opportunity. And yes, I’d like to know whether you have statistics on how many Chinese Americans are there here in the United States and how many are citizens and what’s the naturalization rate compared to other ethnic groups?
Alejandro Mayorkas: Betty let me - I think that we can get that information to you or put you in touch with the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration Statistics. They will have the more generalized information that you requested.
Let me if I can just give you on an annual basis the number of residents from the People’s Republic of China that became lawful permanent residents.
In 2010 70,863 residents from the People’s Republic of China became LPRs. That represents approximately 6.8% of all persons becoming LPRs.
In 2009 the number was 64,238 representing approximately 5.7% of all persons becoming LPRs. And in 2008 80,271 residents from the People’s Republic of China became LPRs representing approximately 7.3% of all persons becoming LPRs. And we’ll try to track down for you Betty, the additional data that you requested.
Betty Lin: And how often do you plan to have this Chinese Jiao liu and what other topics do you plan to have?
Alejandro Mayorkas: Thank you very much. So we plan to have these engagements, the Jiao liu every three months. And the first one is general in nature, in other words wide open to us fielding whatever questions the community might have.
And the model that we have followed in the (Enlaces), the Spanish speaking engagements which we will follow here most likely depending on the needs of the community is we keep it very general. Of course we’ll focus on naturalization because that is on this one that is the -- from our research -- the questions most involve naturalization.
And then in the subsequent ones we may focus on particular issues while always being available to answer more general queries.
Betty Lin: Okay, thank you.
Alejandro Mayorkas: Thank you Betty.
Coordinator: If there are any final questions again please press star 1, unmute your phone and record your name when prompted. And to withdraw your request you may press star 2. One moment for your final questions please.
Question will come from (Bonnie Li) with Sing Tao Daily News.
(Bonnie Li): Hi. How are you?
Alejandro Mayorkas: Great, fine. Good afternoon (Bonnie).
(Bonnie Li): Good afternoon. So this event were initially held in California right?
Alejandro Mayorkas: The first one is, in terms of a live yes, it’ll be in San Francisco, California.
(Bonnie Li): So what’s going to happen in New York?
Alejandro Mayorkas: So in New York there will be a video feed at the Queens Public Library so people will be able to observe it visually as well as participate, like everyone else across the country by teleconference.
But they’ll have a camera if you will, access to the proceeding in San Francisco that’s in collaboration with the Queens Library.
(Bonnie Li): And after that will there be like events where more the conference held in New York to get people access to the services?
Alejandro Mayorkas: So one of the things that we are looking at is where we should host the subsequent engagements. As we did with the Enlaces we were mobile. We held them in different locations so that we provided us great in person access as possible understanding that we can’t be everywhere at once.
So we thought that it was most prudent, in light of the demographics, to host the first one in San Francisco. And then we’ll see where our subsequent ones are held.
Coordinator: One moment please while I reenter her. And your line is back open. Thank you.
Alejandro Mayorkas: Sorry (Bonnie).
(Bonnie Li): My question is besides the launching events will there be other events that are held in New York, for instance the question as a forums or one to one services to the local Chinese community?
Alejandro Mayorkas: I see. So that is something that we’re looking at in terms of our capacity to deliver on a regular basis multi-lingual access. What we are currently envisioning as a foundation is of course this initial launch.
But then, as in response to Betty’s question I indicated, we’re going to have these national engagements in the Chinese language every three months.
Whether we can provide additional services in the interim on a more regular basis is something that we’re exploring.
(Bonnie Li): Last question. How many Chinese speaking employees do we have right now in USCIS?
Alejandro Mayorkas: That’s not something that we keep track of.
(Bonnie Li): Thank you.
Coordinator: I show no further questions at this time.
Alejandro Mayorkas: Okay, well thank you very much for your interest in this. And I - let me, if I can, just take the opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and a year of good health and prosperity.
Edna Ruano: And quickly, if you haven’t registered to attend the actual engagement, please do so by calling the USCIS Press Office at 202-272-1200. Thank you.
Alejandro Mayorkas: Oh if I may operator, I’m sorry, we have a website dedicated to this that everyone very well might seek to access. It is www.uscis.gov/jiaoliu, J-I-A-O-L-I-U.
And of course that is as - that is cost-free. And the engagement is, of course, to participate in the engagement would not cost any money.
Edna Ruano: Thank you (Becca).
Alejandro Mayorkas: Thank you everyone again for participating.
Coordinator: And thank you for your participation. You may disconnect at this time.