The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) is pleased to announce that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published its first-ever Department plan for providing meaningful access to homeland security programs and activities to people with limited English proficiency (LEP). At DHS, we recognize the importance of being able to communicate effectively with individuals, including those with limited English proficiency, across our many missions and functions from preventing terrorism, to enforcing our immigration laws and ensuring resilience to disasters.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 20.6% of the U.S. population speaks a language other than English. Of that percentage, 42.4% speak English less than “very well.”
This Language Access Plan establishes a system within DHS to implement Executive Order 13166, Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency (August 11, 2000), which states that people with limited English proficiency should have meaningful access to federally conducted and federally funded programs and activities, including services and benefits.
In addition to describing the Department’s current language access activities, the plan includes steps to improve and increase language services for LEP individuals in operations, services, activities, and programs across DHS.
Components will now begin to develop individual language access plans. Your input is valuable to us. Please send any comments or questions that can inform the Department’s language access plans currently underway to CRCL at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.dhs.gov/crcl for additional information.
- Read the Secretary’s Letter Regarding the Language Access Plan (PDF, 1 page - 2.3 MB)
- Read the Summary of the Language Access Plan (PDF, 3 pages - 347 KB)
- Read the Language Access Plan (PDF, 45 pages - 429 KB)
Read about the DHS Language Access Plan in Alternate Languages:
- رسالة من الوزيرة – Arabic (1 page, 209.22 KB)
- وزارة الأمن الوطني الأمريكية خطة الوصول اللغوي – ملخص – Arabic (3 pages, 420.10 KB)
- Message de la Secrétaire à la Sécurité intérieure – French (PDF – 2 pages, 122.09 KB)
- Département américain de la sécurité intérieure Plan d’accès linguistique – Synthèse – French (PDF – 3 pages, 358.76 KB)
- Yon Mesaj Sekretè a – Haitian Creole (1 page, 84.51 KB)
- Depatman Sekirite Nasyonal Etazini Plan Pou Moun Jwenn Aksè ak Lang – Rezime – Haitian Creole (3 pages, 429.99 KB)
- Mensagem da Secretária – Portuguese (2 pages, 121.27 KB)
- Departamento de Segurança Nacional dos EUA Plano de Acesso a Idiomas – Resumo – Portuguese (3 pages, 309.56 KB)
- Обращение Секретаря – Russian (2 pages, 168.74 KB)
- Министерство внутренней безопасности США План преодоления языкового барьера - Общие сведения – Russian (4 pages, 520.48 KB)
- Fariin ka socota Xoghayaha – Somali (2 pages, 87.22 KB)
- Waaxda Nabad-Ilaalinta Dalka Mareykanka Qorshaha Marin-u-Helka Luqadda - Soo Koobid – Somali (3 pages, 247.58 KB)
- Mensaje de la Secretaria – Spanish (2 pages, 114.19 KB)
- Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de EE.UU. Plan de Acceso Lingüístico - Resumen del Plan LEP – Spanish (3 pages, 302.06 KB)
- Thông điệp của Bộ trưởng – Vietnamese (2 pages, 142.60 KB)
- Bộ An ninh Nội địa Hoa Kỳ Chương trình Tiếp cận Ngôn ngữ - Sơ lược – Vietnamese (3 pages, 367.60 KB)
DHS Language Access Materials/Resources
I Speak…Language Identification Guide for DHS Personnel and Others:
DHS employees may encounter a broad range of individuals in the course of day-to-day operations, including individuals with limited English proficiency. DHS is both committed and legally obligated to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to these individuals. This “I Speak” guide is a practical way to identify which language an individual speaks.
DHS I Speak Booklet (PDF, 20 pages – 4.91 MB)
I Speak…Language Identification Guide for State and Local Law Enforcement: State and local law enforcement may encounter individuals who have limited English proficiency while on duty. This guide assists literate individuals who are not proficient in English to identify a preferred language.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires all recipients of federal assistance from any source to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to individuals with limited English proficiency. This “I Speak” guide is a practical way to identify which language an individual speaks.
I Speak Booklet for Law Enforcement (PDF, 20 pages – 4.84 MB)
I Speak…Language Identification Poster: This poster assists literate individuals who are not proficient in English to identify a preferred language.
I Speak Poster (PDF, 1 page – 3.08 MB)
Language Access Responsibilities – Overview for DHS Employees: This presentation for DHS employees provides general information about the DHS LEP Plan, basic principles, and tips for communicating with LEP persons.
Read the Language Access Responsibilities: Overview for DHS Employees (PPT, 1.2 MB)
LEP Resource Guide for Law Enforcement: This guide provides law enforcement agencies with strategies to ensure language access, resources for obtaining language services, and possible funding sources.
Read the LEP Resource Guide for Law Enforcement (PDF, 5 pages – 44.25 KB)
Working with Interepreters: Job Aid for DHS Employees: A guide for DHS employees that may encounter LEP persons in need of an interpreter.
Read the Working with Interpreters Job Aid for DHS Employees (PDF, 3 pages - 195.88 KB)
DHS Recipient Guidance
DHS offers guidance to its recipients of federal financial assistance on providing meaningful access to applicants and beneficiaries who are LEP as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Read more about the Guidance.