ASIA, Inc. Selected To Provide Critical Legal Services To Advance The American Justice System

ASIA, Inc. Selected To Provide Critical Legal Services To Advance The American Justice System

Asian Services In Action, Inc (ASIA, Inc.) is pleased to announce a grant from the American Bar Endowment (ABE) that will expand the capacity of its legal services program to assist specifically with green card application, a process which is undergoing substantial changes. 

The USCIS Form I-485 is used by immigrants and refugees who are already in the U.S. to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status, also known as a “Green Card.”. In 2017, this form was expanded from 5 pages to 18 pages. The expanded form is much more difficult to complete and contains complex legal concepts that may not be familiar or easily explainable to limited-English proficient (LEP) applicants. All LPR applicants are required to complete an in-person interview with a USCIS representative after submitting their Form I-485. Interpreters for these interviews are permitted, but not provided by USCIS. 

Because the expanded Form I-485 is new, very few translations of the questions and instructions are available to assist attorneys, BIA-accredited representatives, and interpreters as they work with LEP individuals to understand and properly respond to the application’s questions. Through the American Bar Endowment’s Opportunity Fund, ASIA, Inc. will develop simplified instructions for the I-485 form and translate the form and instructions into five high-demand languages, currently anticipated to include Nepali, Burmese, Mon, Arabic, and Kinyarwanda.

In addition to being used directly by ASIA, Inc.’s Legal Services staff to assist immigrants and refugees completing and submitting the LPR application across Ohio, ASIA, inc. will freely distribute this to its network of local, regional, and national partners. In Northeast Ohio, ASIA, Inc. partners directly with immigration legal service providers at Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland’s Migration and Refugee Services, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Community Legal Aid (Akron), and Building Hope in the City. Across the State, ASIA, Inc. has immigrant and refugee-serving partners in all major metropolitan cities including Columbus, Toledo, Dayton, and Cincinnati. Nationally, ASIA, Inc. is connected through funding collaboratives such as Asian Americans Advancing Justice, American Immigration Lawyer’s Association, National CAPACD, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, and more. By creating a digital version of the translated document, ASIA, Inc. will be able to efficiently distribute the document for use by partners across the country.

Over the next five years, these translated application questions have the potential to benefit tens of thousands of low-income, limited English proficient refugees and immigrants who are seeking U.S. citizenship after arriving from impoverished and war-torn countries. ASIA, Inc. is grateful to the American Bar Endowment (ABE) for its support through the American Bar Endowment’s Opportunity Fund.