County Executive Steve Bellone has signed an executive order ensuring free translation and interpretation to limited-English proficient (LEP) residents of Suffolk County in their interactions with county agencies.
This is a massive civil rights victory for Suffolk County, and we applaud County Executive Bellone for showing tremendous leadership on this issue! Please sign the petition to say thank you!
This Order ensures that all county agencies will:
- Translate essential public documents and forms into the top six languages spoken by LEP residents of Suffolk County;
- Provide interpretation services to all LEP Suffolk residents;
- Designate a language access coordinator and draft plans for complying with this Executive Order in the next 90 days; and
- Provide the County Executive's office with annual reports detailing their compliance with the Executive Order.
The order also prohibits county agencies from 1) considering use of language access services to be a basis for inquiring about confidential information, including immigration status, and 2) inquiring about or sharing confidential information, including immigration status. This final provision will have implications far beyond language access in beginning to renew the trust between immigrants and county agencies, especially the police.
This action is the direct result of a coordinated campaign by the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, the Long Island Language Advocates Coalition, Make the Road New York, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, the Center for Popular Democracy, SEPA Mujer, the Empire Justice Center, and New York Communities for Change. Together, we showed how active community members, effective organizers, and responsible leaders can work together to make our county a safe and welcoming place for immigrants and LEP residents.
This makes Suffolk County one of the first suburban US counties to implement such a policy. After years of anti-immigrant politics in Suffolk County, this historic victory opens up the doors of government to all, regardless of their primary language or country of origin.
Please take a moment to sign the online petition to thank County Executive Bellone for his leadership! Change takes courage, and we must celebrate elected officials when they stand up for the rights and needs of immigrants everywhere. So, please sign the petition!
Dear County Executive Bellone,
I applaud you for signing a historic executive order to guarantee language access services for limited-English proficient (LEP) residents of Suffolk County. For too long, LEP residents have struggled to communicate with county government officials--whether in precincts, county health centers, or social service offices. I am thrilled that you are taking leadership on this critical equal rights issue and ensuring that Suffolk County government works for all of its residents. Thank you for taking this important step towards making Suffolk County a better place for all its residents, regardless of the language they speak or the country from which they hail.