LOS ANGELES – After 30 years of defending civil rights, Asian Americans Advancing Justice launched a Tagalog helpline to extend their reach of legal services to the Filipino community in Los Angeles.
“We think this Tagalog legal help will help open up services and provide better opportunities so people can get jobs,” said executive director of AAAJ LA Stewart Kwoh. “We know that Filipino-Americans want to be U.S. citizens. There’s a relatively good naturalization rate.”
Formerly known as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, the nonprofit has given legal assistance to Asian American in regards to discrimination, human trafficking and immigration issues.
“This helpline is very welcoming to all the Filipinos out there who need legal assistance and services,” said Philippines Vice Consul in LA Dyan Miranda-Pastrana.
AAAJ LA representatives in seven different languages receive an estimated 10,000 calls annually.
“Pwede na kayo tumawag dito kung gusto mo mag apply ng citizenship o may mga legal issues kayo on housing, immigration, family law or domestic violence,” said AAAJ representative Jeanette Sanyo. “Pwede na kayo tumawag ng Tagalog help line.”
Sanyo can offer legal assistance in Hiligaynon and Cebuano.
Philippines born Jessica Calazo, who works for the mayor’s office of immigrant affairs, said the helpline brings back memories to when her family was trying to navigate work, housing and citizenship issues in the U.S.
“These are all really complicated processes to navigate when you’re a new immigrant in this country, especially LA. That’s why I think a Tagalog helpline is so important,” said Calazo.
The helpline is also meant to assist eligible Filipinos to apply for citizenship during the election year.
Filipinos can call the Tagalog helpline telephone number (855) 300-2552.