Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

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Free Legal Clinic Targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Orange County With Criminal Justice and Immigration Issues


Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Significantly Underrepresented Among Those Seeking Both Felony Reduction (Prop 47) and Immigration Assistance

From left to right: Sylvia Kim, Advancing Justice-OC; Jacqueline Dan, Advancing Justice-OC; Tricia Nguyen, Vietnamese Community of Orange County, Inc.; Paul Jung, Advancing Justice-LA; Tung Nguyen, Youth and Community Advocate; Shikwan Hur, Nanoom Christian Fellowship; and Mayor Bao Nguyen, City of Garden Grove
GARDEN GROVE, CA – Because the legal needs of  Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) in Orange County are significantly underserved due to language, culture and other barriers, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Orange County (Advancing Justice-OC) is hosting a free legal clinic on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 10 am to 1 pm at 1618 West 1st Street in Santa Ana.  Held in partnership with the Vietnamese Community of Orange County, Inc. (VNCOC) and other legal and community organizations, the clinic will provide free legal assistance to individuals interested in Proposition 47 (felony reduction) reclassification, as well as free immigration screenings, including assistance with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“Orange County has the nation’s third largest Asian American population,” said City of Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen. “Here in Garden Grove, Asian Americans make-up over a third of our population. That is why it is so fitting to have this event here, and why I am proud to support this important clinic.”   
“Formerly incarcerated Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been reluctant to seek help to reclassify past felony convictions,” said Paul Jung, staff attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice. “Because our cultures tend to suppress anything viewed as shameful, many individuals in our community are not aware of or are afraid to seek Prop 47 assistance. Reclassification can improve job and housing opportunities as well as provide certain immigration protections.”
As a result, AANHPIs are underrepresented among those seeking reclassification assistance under Prop 47, which reclassifies certain low-level, non-violent felonies to misdemeanors. 
“Asian and Pacific Islanders have a culture of shame, which makes them run away from the benefits promised by new laws and assume they don’t qualify for the services,” said Tung Nguyen, a former juvenile tried as an adult from Orange County. “Free clinics that actively seek out the community are tremendously important for formerly incarcerated people. Many of us are busy and in survival mode, and don’t have time to research and learn about the new laws.” 
Asian Americans Advancing Justice has also created a Prop 47 fact sheet to reach the roughly 18,000 AANHPIs in California who are eligible for Prop 47 relief. The fact sheet has been translated into eight languages including Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Khmer, Samoan, and Tongan and is available at:
“As an immigrant from Korea, it was hard for me to fit into society and I felt empty and lonely. I had a drug addiction for 10 years and experienced rock-bottom. It wasn’t until I met God that I found true purpose and things really changed for me,” said Shikwan Hur, a Minister from Nanoom Christian Fellowship whose members received Prop 47 assistance last year. “Prop 47 gives people who are rejected by society a second chance to rebuild their lives. So I encourage those who might be eligible to learn about Prop 47 and seek help.”
At the clinic, Advancing Justice-OC will also screen for DACA and other immigration remedies because there is estimated to be over 50,000 undocumented Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants in Orange County alone, of which nearly 40% are potentially eligible for DACA.  The clinic is open to all immigrants in the county who may benefit from an eligibility screening, but the provision of both Prop 47 and immigration assistance at the clinic may be especially helpful to community members whose criminal records have made them ineligible for immigration status or protection from deportation.  
“A felony conviction prevents undocumented immigrants from qualifying for a work permit and protection from deportation under DACA, but reducing a felony to a misdemeanor under Prop 47 could make some people eligible for DACA,” said Jacqueline Dan, staff attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice. "Advancing Justice-OC is committed to keeping families together by providing free legal assistance to those applying for the current DACA program and free screenings for those who may be eligible for other forms of immigration relief.”
To RSVP for the October 22 clinic and for more information, individuals can call one of Advancing Justice-LA’s in-language legal helpline:
Vietnamese: 800-267-7395
Korean: 800-867-3640
Chinese: 800-520-2356
Tagalog: 855-300-2552
Khmer: 800-867-3126
Thai: 800-914-9583
English/Other: 888-349-9695


The October 22 clinic is jointly supported by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Asian Pacific Alliance Women Lawyers Alliance, the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership, Korean Community Services, Project Kinship Orange County, Vietnamese Community of Orange County, Inc., and Drug Policy Alliance.
Randy Bunnao, 213-241-0227 [email protected]
About Advancing Justice - LA: 
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice-LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Our helplines prioritize assistance to low-income persons in the following areas of law: discrimination, family, immigration, public benefits, employment, housing, and civil rights. 

English: 888.349.9695
中文: 800.520.2356
한글: 800.867.3640
Tagalog: 855.300.2552
ภาษาไทย: 800.914.9583
Tiếng Việt: 714.477.2958


Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.