WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) joined interagency partners across the federal government in releasing its updated language access plan. This important milestone underscores the Department’s commitment to ensuring that all people in the United States, regardless of the language they speak, have meaningful access to DHS programs and activities in accordance with Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.”
The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) leads the Department's efforts to provide meaningful access for individuals with limited English proficiency. The Department issued its first Language Access Plan in 2012. The updated plan features accomplishments such as the launch of an online portal for filing allegations of civil rights and civil liberties violations that is available in multiple languages, regular engagement with communities about language access in DHS, and the establishment of a multi-award language services contract for DHS Components, which requires standards and qualifications for interpreters and translators to ensure these language services are of high quality.
“Today’s updated plan highlights the significant steps DHS has taken to advance language access,” said CRCL Officer Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia. “In the decade since the Department issued its first Language Access Plan, it has reduced barriers to utilizing DHS programs, further supported workforce in public-facing roles, and deepened engagement with diverse communities nationwide. Our office is honored to have worked with DHS Components to meet their language access obligations and, with these updates, put a strong overarching plan in place to guide the Department.”
The release of the DHS language access plan is part of a broader federal government initiative to improve language access and coincides with the one-year anniversary of Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s memorandum directing federal agencies to revise their language access plans, share best practices, and exchange information about language access initiatives and efforts in compliance with Executive Order 13166.