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Advocating for Greater Language Access

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Advocating for Greater Language Access

The New York Immigration Coalition was instrumental in passing the two laws in New York City—Local Law 73 and Executive Order 120—that collectively call for city government agencies to provide free translation, interpretation and other communication assistance services to limited-English-proficient (LEP) New Yorkers. 

LOCAL LAW 73

Enacted in December 2003, New York City’s Local Law 73 (The Equal Access to Human Services Act) requires the city’s Human Resource Administration (HRA) to ensure language assistance services for limited-English-proficient individuals who seek to enroll in critical safety-net programs, such as Medicaid and Food Stamps, at various HRA sites.

The bill requires prompt language assistance services at HRA sites through in-person bilingual personnel or telephonic language-line assistance, and also requires the translation of key documents and notices into Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, and Spanish.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 120

Executive Order 120, signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in July 2008, was a landmark step toward ensuring that all New Yorkers—including those who haven't had the opportunity to master English yet—have meaningful access to the vital services provided by New York City.

Accessible government is good government and effective government. By ensuring effective communication with the public, the policy can dramatically improve the efficiency of city agencies and enhance the safety of all New Yorkers.

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