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Victory! Nassau Commits to Translation and Interpretation for 130,000 Residents

Last week, after months of advocacy, the Center for Popular Democracy and local partners in the fight for language access in New York celebrated Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s announcement that he will sign an executive order requiring County government to provide interpretation and translation services for the more than 130,000 Nassau residents with limited English proficiency (LEP). With this move, Nassau joins a growing number of state and local governments that have adopted policies expanding language access services for their LEP populations. The executive order will bring the county into compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act—which prohibits discrimination based on language.

Language barriers make it difficult for immigrants and other LEP New Yorkers to take advantage of a wide range of services and benefits that are important for the basic health of their families as well as the broader community. Without interpretation and translation services, it can be difficult or impossible for LEP individuals to obtain a driver’s license, obtain child support, seek the assistance of local police or participate in political life. 

In advocating for this policy, CPD was part of a strong coalition of local organizations including the Empire Justice Center, the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, Long Island Jobs with Justice, Long Island Advocates Coalition, Make the Road New York, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York Civil Liberties Union, and New York Communities for Change. The coalition’s hope is that this is the beginning of a movement not only in New York, but in states and municipalities across the country, to improve language access services as a way to welcome, support and integrate LEP individuals and communities.