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Memo re Language Access Obligations Under EO 13166, OAG, 2010

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Wa%btngton, 1J.B. <t. 20530 

June 28, 2010 


MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF DEPARTMENT COMPONENTS
FROM:

C~ ATTORNEY GENERAL

SUBJEC~angUage Access Obligations Under Executive Order 13166

It is the policy of the Department of Justice to ensure that limited English proficient
CLEP) persons can meaningfully access all programs and activities conducted both by the
Department and by entities receiving funding from the Department. This policy is required by
Executive Order 13166,1 issued in August 2000. A decade later, we have much work ahead of us
to transform policy into practice and make the Executive Order's mandate a reality. This
memorandum outlines my plan for improving Departmental compliance with the Executive
Order ' s goal of language access.
The Executive Order has two broad objectives: The first requires each federal agency to
develop and implement a system to ensure that LEP individuals can access the agency's federally
conducted programs and activities; the second requires federal agencies providing federal
financial assistance to issue guidance to recipients of such assistance regarding their legal
obligation to ensure meaningful access for LEP persons under the national origin
nondiscrimination provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and implementing
regulations. In short, Executive Order 13166 tasks the Department with improving accessibility
for LEP persons in everything that we do on the Departmental level, and ensuring that those
entities that receive funding from us do the same.
In the weeks and months ahead, each component will be responsible for creating and
implementing its own language access plan. I have asked Tom Perez, the Assistant Attorney
General for the Civil Rights Division, and Lee Lofthus, Assistant Attorney General for
Administration, to co-chair a Departmental Language Access Working Group, to guide and
oversee component efforts. The Working Group shall consist of representatives from each
component, and representatives from my office and the offices of the Deputy Attorney General
and the Associate Attorney General. I ask that you designate a representative from your
component to serve on the Department's Language Access Working Group by forwarding the
name of your representative within two weeks of the date of this memorandum to Mark
Kappelhoff, Acting Chief of the Coordination and Review Section of the Civil Rights Division,
at 202-307-2222 or Mark.Kappelhoff@usdoj.gov .

I

65 Fed. Reg. 50121 (August J 6,2000).

Memorandum from the Attorney General
Subject: Language Access Obligations Under Executive Order 13166

Page 2

Representatives are responsib le for a number of important tasks, including : (1) serving as
the component' s language access coordinator; (2) assessing component operations for LEP needs
and gaps in service; and (3) creating a component language access plan, along with policies and
protocols to implement the plan, in accordance with the standards set forth by the co-chairs of
the Working Group. Representatives will submit component LEP plans for the Working Group's
approval, on a schedule to be determined by the co-chairs. Once all plans are reviewed and
approved and the larger Departmental LEP plan is assembled, the Working Group will oversee
implementation of the plans. The Working Group' s ongoing responsibilities will involve
periodically reassessing LEP needs and component compliance with LEP policies; reviewing and
updating plans and policies ; and ensuring that staff LEP training and recipient enforcement
efforts remain vigorous.
As you commence the planning process and consider the extent to which your individual
components interact with LEP people, keep in mind the myriad number of ways in which the
Justice Department does business. Every day, Department staff interview witnesses, victims, and
defendants in civil, criminal, and administrative cases and investigations; we communicate with
inmates who seek to access prison grievance procedures, counseling, health services, religious
and other accommodations, and educational programming; we hold immigration hearings,
review immigration judges' determinations, generate correspondence related to these activities,
and defend administrative immigration decisions in federal court; we maintain hotlines and
establish complaint procedures for members of the public; we host web pages containing
important information; we transport prisoners between facilities and to court; we are accountable
for communications between trustees and debtors, ensure that debtors understand information on
bankruptcy, and oversee the credit counseling and debtor education process; we conduct
outreach and produce brochures related to crime victims' rights, trafficking in persons, police
misconduct, predatory telemarketing, and a host of other impOliant issues. The list of potential
interactions with LEP individuals is as long as our functions are broad, but all of these examples
point to a singular reality : our mission depends on accurate communication with members of the
public, regardless of their level of English proficiency.
Please refer to the attached supplement for resources and further guidance on our
language access efforts. Should you or your staff require further assistance or support in
implementing the goals of this memorandum , please do not hesitate to contact Mark Kappelhoff,
in the Civil Rights Division, at (202) 307-2222 .
Thank you for your continued commitment to ensuring that LEP individuals have 

meaningful access to the work of the Department and its funding recipients.

 

 

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