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Language Access 101

The Rights of Limited-English-Proficient Individuals

By Michael Mulé

Discrimination on the basis of language is national-origin discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and people with limited English proficiency are entitled to have meaningful access to, participate in, and benefit from federally funded programs and services. The U.S. Department of Justice is devoting increased attention to the language-access rights of limited-English-proficient individuals. Legal aid advocates should be prepared to help clients assert these rights and should ensure that advocates’ own services are linguistically accessible.

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