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USCIS Hosts First Google Hangout Engagement in Spanish

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Posted by Maria Pastrana Lujan, USCIS Multilingual Engagement Coordinator at the Office of Public Engagement

On April 9, 2014, USCIS expanded its ongoing stakeholder outreach with its first ever Google Hangout in Spanish. Viewers tuned in from around the country, and representatives from Latin American consular networks and their stakeholders gathered in Washington, D.C.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Los Angeles to participate in the discussion.

A wide range of topics were discussed during the Google Hangout including deferred action for childhood arrivals, immigrant visas, and the unauthorized practice of immigration law.

USCIS' Mariela Melero, Associate Director for the Customer Service and Public Engagement Directorate; Susana Bolanos, Immigration Officer; and Guillermo Roman-Riefkhol, Adjudications Officer; responded to a number of questions related to eligibility requirements, enrollment start dates, authorized immigration providers and resources for in-language assistance. The representatives took questions from participants during the event and also took questions from the general public via email and Twitter.



Susana Bolano and Mariela Melero host a Google Hangout in Spanish on April 9, 2014. Photo courtesy of Rodney Remson.



Susana Bolano and Mariela Melero host a Google Hangout in Spanish on April 9, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Rodney Remson)

Roman-Riefkohl answered questions about deferred action for childhood arrivals, a topic of ongoing interest since it was implemented nearly two years ago. To date, USCIS has received more than 650,000 requests for deferred action for childhood arrivals.

"The Deferred Action and Employment Authorization Documents granted in the early part of the initial process will expire beginning September 2014." He said. "For this reason, we ask that you play close attention to official announcements on the renewal process."

Bolanos provided in depth information about the immigrant visa fee changes and explained how to pay the fee online.

"We want to remind you that since Feb. 1, 2013, foreign nationals who wish to obtain an immigrant visa and legal permanent resident status in the U.S. need to pay an additional fee of $165.00, known as the immigrant visa fee." She said. "The new fee is in addition to the fees associated with the immigrant visa application charged by the Department of State. In order to pay the immigrant visa fee, beneficiaries should first go online and use USCIS ELIS online to establish an account."

Melero provided information on how customers can avoid immigration scams, including how to spot phone scams, as well as how to recognize fraudulent websites and notary public scams.

"Our agency has a commitment to educate the community on how to not become a victim of immigration fraud." She said. "We are focusing our efforts nationally to enable communities of immigrants and all individuals so that they know to avoid unscrupulous people and businesses who practice unauthorized immigration law, since getting the wrong help can hurt."

The large turnout and the enthusiasm of the participants were helpful in starting conversations about important immigration topics and underscores the importance of providing information to our customers in the languages they speak. USCIS plans to host additional Google Hangouts in other languages. 

You can register to receive GovDelivery alerts about upcoming multilingual engagements.