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DHS Announces New Guidance on Limited English Proficiency (April 2011)

The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) is pleased to announce that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published Guidance for agencies and organizations that receive DHS financial assistance in the Federal Register. Last year, CRCL posted the draft Guidance for public comment in the Federal Register, and DHS modified the Guidance based on input from a variety of stakeholders. The purpose of the new Guidance is to help those who carry out Department-supported activities – such as homeland security grants – to understand and implement their obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide meaningful access for people with limited English proficiency (LEP). Title VI and its regulations forbid recipients of federal financial assistance to conduct their programs in a way that has the effect of subjecting persons to discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.

DHS grant recipients include state and local emergency management agencies, fire and police departments, mass transit authorities, community emergency response teams, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations that provide vital services to the public. We hope this new Guidance will assist this entire homeland security enterprise to better understand and carry out their programs in a way that is accessible to all communities, regardless of English proficiency.

CRCL is working across the Department to improve language access in DHS programs and will continually engage with LEP stakeholders, including national and local policy-making organizations. CRCL recently held a productive listening session with many stakeholders to discuss language access and other related issues. We hope and expect that these and other discussions will contribute to a comprehensive DHS LEP plan, which is underway.

Learn More

By mail or phone:
The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Building 410, Mail Stop #0190
Washington, D.C. 20528

Phone: 202-401-1474
Toll Free: 1-866-644-8360
TTY: 202-401-0470
Toll Free TTY: 1-866-644-8361
Fax: 202-401-4708

By e-mail:
crcl@dhs.gov

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