E.g., 06/11/2021
E.g., 06/11/2021
Language Access

Language Access

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The phrase "language access services" describes services that agencies use to bridge the communication barrier with individuals who cannot speak, understand, read, or write  fluently in the host-country language. In the United States, federal law and executive orders mandate compliance with language access requirements for any agency receiving federal funds. Explore MPI's research in this area and visit the Language Access: Translation and Interpretation Policies and Practices section for national and state-level data on LEP individuals, commentaries by service providers, and more.

Recent Activity

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Reports
September 2013
By  Jeanne Batalova, Monisha Das Gupta and Sue Patricia Haglund
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Reports
June 2013
By  Leighton Ku and Mariellen Jewers
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Reports
February 2013
By  Meghan Benton and Milica Petrovic
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Fact Sheets
December 2011
By  Chhandasi Pandya, Margie McHugh and Jeanne Batalova
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Reports
June 2009
By  Randy Capps, Michael Fix, Margie McHugh and Serena Yi-Ying Lin

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Though little recognized as such, the Workforce Investment Act represents one of the most important immigrant integration initiatives in the United States, assisting workers in obtaining the necessary training and language skills to advance in the workforce. Despite a steady increase of immigrants in need of these services, a decreasing share are able to access the programs to keep pace with a changing labor market.

A decade-long panel survey conducted in San Diego, California, and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, reveals different outcomes among members of the second generation in education, employment, acculturation, incarceration, and family formation. Rubén G. Rumbaut of the University of California, Irvine and Alejandro Portes of Princeton University provide an overview of the latest results.

Richard Alba of the Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research at SUNY Albany examines English-language usage among the second and third generations.

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Video, Audio
September 24, 2012

The winners of the Migration Policy Institute's 2012 E Pluribus Unum Prizes, honoring exceptional immigrant integration initiatives in the United States, discussed their work during a plenary luncheon on September 24, 2012 at the National Immigrant Integration Conference held in Baltimore, MD.

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Audio
September 19, 2012

A webinar on language access contracting for federal, state, and local officials, agency administrators, and community stakeholders concerned with the oversight and implementation of language access provision.

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Audio
May 8, 2012

This MPI webinar features U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officials discussing the department’s efforts to improve communications with Limited English Proficient (LEP) communities in federal and federally-funded programs and activities.

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Audio
October 6, 2011

This is the latest in NCIIP’s language access webinar series exploring the policy and program implementation imperatives for government and community agencies serving Limited English Proficient (LEP) populations.

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Audio
September 21, 2011

In this webinar, experts discuss barriers immigrant and LEP individuals face in accessing the WIA system, how a revitalized WIA could address these barriers, and the extent to which the current Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee's WIA reauthorization proposal addresses these barriers.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
October 2015

Whether driven by pragmatism, local laws, or federal civil-rights provisions, state and local governments and agencies across the United States increasingly have designed and implemented language access services (i.e. translation and interpretation) in response to growing Limited English Proficient populations. This commentary argues it is time for the federal government to follow suit.

Articles

In 2013, more than 25 million people in the United States reported limited English proficiency (LEP), an 80 percent increase since 1990. The LEP population, the majority of which is immigrant, is generally less educated and more likely to live in poverty than the English-proficient population. This Spotlight explores key indicators of the LEP population, both U.S. and foreign born, including geographic distribution, language diversity, and employment.

Video, Audio
June 18, 2015

Covering the findings of the UPSTREAM project, this MPI Europe event explores how a coordinated approach to integration may create more effective and inclusive approaches to diversity across the policy-making spectrum.

Reports
June 2015

Despite the broad appeal of the concept of "mainstreaming" in integration policy in Europe, few agree on its exact meaning. This report synthesizes the findings of the UPSTREAM project's country case studies, which examined the extent to which governments in France, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom are employing mainstreaming to meet the needs of rapidly diversifying populations.

Articles
With rising inflows of humanitarian and economic migrants, Norway faces a series of integration challenges. In conversation with the Migration Information Source, Solveig Horne, Norway's Minister of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion discusses her work on integration policy, from the importance of language training and a feeling of belonging, to the protection of immigrant women and resettlement of asylum seekers.
Video, Audio, Webinars
March 18, 2015

Part of a series exploring issues likely to be addressed by the new National Integration Plan, this webinar, with perspectives from the cities of New York and Seattle and others examines possible recommendations on federal coordination of local government immigrant integration initiatives, including language access. 

Video, Audio
October 21, 2014

This conference, keynoted by USCIS Director León Rodríguez, featured panels on local immigrant integration policies; expected executive action on immigration; the treatment of unaccompanied children from Central America; and innovations in government-funded legal counsel and accelerated court cases.

Reports
September 2014
This report provides a first look at the opportunities and tradeoffs that smartphones and emerging technologies offer for immigrant integration, and how they might deepen city residents’ sense of belonging. Smartphones can facilitate on-the-go learning, reduce barriers to city services for residents with limited destination-country language proficiency, and improve civic engagement.

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