BRIEFING BOOK

BRIEFING BOOK free pdf ebook was written by Tduong on November 29, 2007 consist of 34 page(s). The pdf file is provided by www.advancingequality.org and available on pdfpedia since December 20, 2011.

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BRIEFING BOOK - page 1
Language Rights: An Integration Agenda for Immigrant Communities A proactive agenda to assist newcomers and English Language Learners BRIEFING BOOK Includes Legal Background, Suggested Talking Points, and Legislative Summaries November 2007
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BRIEFING BOOK - page 2
This briefing book is a joint project of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF) & the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC). For more information, please contact: Sam Jammal Legislative Staff Attorney Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF) 1016 16th Street N.W. Suite 100 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: 202-293-2828 Work Cell: 202-536-8931 [email protected] URL: http://www.maldef.org Tuyet Duong Staff Attorney Language Access & Emergency Preparedness Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) 1140 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Suite 1200 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: (202) 296-2300, x124 [email protected] URL: http://www.advancingequality.org 2
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T ABLE OF C ONTENTS Introduction………………………………………………………………………..............4 Demographics………………………………………………………………………..…...4 Language Groups…………………………..……………………………………………..5 Geographic Distribution of LEPs………………………………………………………..7 Language Rights and the Law………………………………………...…………………8 Civil Rights Act of 1964………………………………………………...…………………9 Judicial Precedent…………………………………………….…………………………11 Executive Order 13166…………………………………………………….......…………12 Key Issues Impacted by Language Access…………………………….……………....13 Voting………………………………………………………………….13 Healthcare……………………………………………..………………13 Workplace Discrimination……………………………………………14 Access to Justice………………………………………………...……..14 Economic Development and Housing …………………………....…15 Recent English Only Efforts in Congress……………………………………...………16 A Proactive Language Agenda…………………………………....…………………….18 Appendix A: Talking Points Guide………………………………………….……...…..23 Appendix B: Model Legislation………………………………………...…….………....32 3
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I. I NTRODUCTION The ability to communicate with government and private sector providers, schools, businesses, emergency personnel and many others in the United States depends greatly on language proficiency. According to the 2000 Census, 92% of Americans aged 5 and over speak English. At the same time, the United States is home to millions of citizens and legal permanent residents with limited English proficiency (LEP), such that these individuals cannot speak, read, write or understand the English language at a level that permits them to interact effectively with housing providers, medical institutions, immigration officials, or social service agencies. Lack of translated information and oral assistance means that Americans with limited English proficiency are less likely to understand and exercise their rights and obligations, less able to access government services, and less able to achieve economic stability. The obligations to provide meaningful access to language minorities have been affirmed by Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive Branch through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Lau v. Nichols, and Executive Order 13166. It is critical that Members of Congress continue to ensure LEPs have equal access and equal treatment under the law. This briefing book intends to educate staff on (1) the demographics of the LEP community; (2) the law supporting the rights of this minority community; (3) the sectors where language access most impacts language minorities; (4) recent English Only legislation in Congress; and (5) a proactive approach to ensuring the civil rights of the LEP community, while enhancing their language acquisition. II. D EMOGRAPHICS Among the 279 million people in the United States aged 5 and over, over 19% (54.8 million) spoke a language other than English at home. 1 This figure is up from 14% (31.8 million) in 1990 and 11% (23.1 million) in 1980. 2 In the 1980’s, the number of individuals who spoke a language other than English at home grew by 38 percent; in 1990’s, this growth was at 47%. According to the 2006 American Community Survey, 91.3% of the population over the age of 5 speaks English “very well,” while 8.7% speak English “less than very well.” Estimates of the number of people with limited English proficiency (LEP) range from a low of about 11 million, or 4.2% of the U.S. population – who speak English “not well” or “not at all” – to over 21 million people– if one includes those who speak English less than “very well.” 1 2 Language Spoken at Home, 2006 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau. Language Use and English-Speaking Ability: 2000,Census 2000 Brief, U.S. Census Bureau. 4
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Citizenship Status % of Total Population % Who Speak Only English 97.4% 2.6% 1.5% 1.1% % Who Speak Language Other Than English at Home 42.7% 57.3% 22.4% 34.9% Native-born- over 5 Foreign-born- over 5 Naturalized U.S. citizen Not a U.S. citizen 86.7% 13.3% 5.6% 7.7% A. L ANGUAGE G ROUPS The Census found there to be four main language groups: (1) Spanish; (2) Other Indo- European languages, which includes most languages of Europe (Germanic, Scandinavian, Romance, Slavic, Celtic, Baltic languages) and the Indic language of India; (3) Asian and Pacific Island languages; and (4) other languages, which includes the Semitic languages, languages of Africa, Native American languages and some indigenous languages of Central and South America. 3 1. S PANISH Spanish is the largest of these language groups with 34 million Spanish speakers. 4 Of this group, just over half spoke English “very well.” Between 1990 and 2000 the number of Spanish speakers grew by roughly 60%. Nearly 70% of those in the Spanish language group are between the ages of 18 and 64. A majority of the individuals in the 18 to 64 age range speak English less than “very well.” In 2007, the Latino population was estimated at 44.3 million, or 14.8% of the total population. 5 Since 2000, the Latino population has grown by 12 million. The US Census Bureau estimates the Latino population will reach 61 by 2025. In 2006, 47.3% of Latinos spoke English less than “very well.” An analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center found that fewer than one-in-four (23%) Latino immigrants reports being able to speak English “very well.” However, fully 88% of their U.S.-born adult children report that they speak English “very well.” Among later generations of Hispanic adults, the figure rises to 94%. Reading ability in English shows a similar trend. The analysis also finds that English is spoken more commonly at work than at home. 6 Id. Language Spoken at Home, 2006 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau. 5 US Census: http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hispanic/ho06.html. 6 Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanic Attitudes Toward Learning English, (June 7, 2006), factsheet available at http://pewhispanic.org/files/factsheets/20.pdf. 3 4 5
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2. O THER I NDO -E UROPEAN L ANGUAGES Other Indo-European language speakers compose the second largest group with 10 million speakers. 7 Nearly two-thirds of these individuals speak English “very well.” Reflecting recent immigration patterns, the number of Italian, German and Polish speakers decreased between the 1990 and 2000. As measured by the 2000 Census, the largest proportional increase by any one language was Russian, which nearly tripled from 242,000 to 706,000. 3. A SIAN AND P ACIFIC I SLAND L ANGUAGES Asian and Pacific Island language speakers account for 8.2 million individuals nation-wide. 8 Slightly less than half of these individuals (3.4 million) speak English “very well.” 75% of the members of this language group are between the ages of 18 and 64. After English and Spanish, Chinese is the language most commonly spoken at home with 2.0 million speakers (up from 1.2. million in 1990). The second highest spoken language in this group is Tagalog with just over 1 million speakers. There are 14 million Asian Americans and nearly 1 million Pacific Islanders in the United States. 9 4 million Asian Americans experience difficulty in speaking English. One in three Asian Americans is limited English proficient. 61% of Vietnamese, 46% of Koreans, and 45% of Chinese experience some difficulty speaking English. A majority of 6 AAPI groups are LEP: Vietnamese, Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian, Bangladeshi, and Taiwanese. 4. O THER L ANGUAGES This last language group accounts for 2.2 million individuals. 10 Over 70% of this group speaks English “very well.” Given the diversity of this language group, these languages are spoken throughout the United States and do not have a central concentration. Language Spoken at Home, 2006 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau. Id. 9 Race, 2006 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau. 10 Id. 7 8 6
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Language M ost Frequently Spoken at Home Other Than English Polish Russian Korean I talian Vietnamese Tagalog German French Chinese Spanish 0 5 10 15 20 25 0.7 0.7 0.9 1 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 2 28.1 30 Population in M illions 11 B. G EOGRAPHIC D ISTRIBUTION OF LEP S Although it hosts a little more than one-fifth of the U.S. population, more than one-third (37 percent) of all individuals that speak a language other than English live in the West 12 . Western states have 17.2 million individuals that speak a language other than English at home. In California alone, over 12 million individuals (39.5% of the state’s population) speak a language other than English at home. The state with the second-highest percentage of its population consisting of non-English speakers (36.5%), New Mexico, is also in the West. In the South 13 , 15% of the population speaks a language other than English at home. The South has the second highest number of total LEPs with over 14 million. Texas with 6 million and 31% of its population leads the South. Florida is not far behind as over 3 million residents (23% of its population) speak a language other than English at home. In the Northeast 14 , 20% of residents are non-English speakers at home with a high of 4.9 million in New York. The Midwest 15 has only 9% of its population speak a language other than English at home. Illinois has the largest Midwestern non-English language population at over 2.2 million. All data is retrieved from the 2000 U.S. Census. West- Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming 13 South- Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia 14 Northeast- Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont 15 Midwest- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin 11 12 7
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States with over 1 million non-English language speakers in 2000 Massachusetts Arizona New Jersey Illinois Florida New York Texas California 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 1.1 1.2 2 2.2 3.5 5 6 12.4 14 16 Population in Millions Though LEPs are not distributed equally across or within regions, there has been significant growth in many regions not traditionally associated with this community. Between 1990 and 2000, fifteen states experienced more than 100 percent growth in their LEP populations – Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. With regards to the specific distribution of the four language groups across the various regions, Spanish is spoken more than any other language group. In the Northeast and Midwest Spanish speakers compose slightly less than half of all non-English language speakers, while in the South and West, they represented nearly two-thirds (71% and 64%, respectively). Other Indo-European languages are the second most spoken languages in the Northeast, Midwest and South. In the West, the second largest group is Asian and Pacific Islander languages. III. L ANGUAGE R IGHTS AND THE L AW The rights of LEPs are recognized under core civil rights law. Language is not only a barrier to communication, but also an identifying characteristic of an individual’s ethnicity and national origin. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, ancestry, national origin or ethnicity. The Supreme Court in Lau v. Nichols affirmed a connection between discrimination based on national origin and language rights. In support of this concept of language rights, numerous pieces of federal legislation also address the needs of LEPs. In addition, Executive Order 13166, issued at the 16 All data retrieved from the 2000 U.S. Census. 8
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end of the Clinton Administration, affirmed the link between language and national origin. The Boyd Memorandum issued by the Bush Administration affirmed its commitment to the EO. Below is a chart describing some key pieces of federal legislation protecting the LEP community. Federal Legislation Voting Rights Act 17 Description Prohibits English Only elections and requires bilingual voting materials such as ballots and voting notices to be provided in jurisdictions where a language minority group constitutes more than 5% of the population or numbers more than 10,000 and has below average rates of literacy. Requires states to provide written and oral language assistance to LEPs under certain circumstances Calls for the provision of interpreters in federal civil and criminal trials that involve parties or witnesses who are not proficient in English Calls for educational agencies to take “appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional programs.” States that health centers, substance abuse services, and other health programs serving a significant number of LEPs must provide competent personnel fluent in their language Requires interpreters to be provided during the physical and mental examination of arriving aliens Food Stamp of 1977 18 Court Interpreters Act 19 Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 20 Public Health Service Act 21 Immigration and Nationality Act 22 A. C IVIL R IGHTS A CT OF 1964 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was landmark legislation that outlawed discrimination based on national origin in any program receiving federal funds and in an employment setting. Since language is often used as a proxy for national origin discrimination, the provisions of Title VI and Title VII are critical for the preservation of the rights of LEPs. 1. T ITLE VI Section 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans discrimination based "on the ground of race, color, or national origin," in "any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” This section also authorizes and directs federal agencies that are Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1a. Food Stamps Act, U.S.C. § 2020. 19 Court Interpreters Act, 28 U.S.C. §1827. 20 Equal Educational Opportunities Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1793f. 21 Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. § 254b(b)(1)(A)(i)(III)(iv). 22 Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1222b. 17 18 9
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empowered to extend federal financial assistance to also issue guidance, regulations, and orders to effectuate Section 601. Title VI regulations forbid funding recipients from ‘‘restrict(ing) an individual in any way in the enjoyment of any advantage or privilege enjoyed by others receiving any service, financial aid, or other benefit under the program’’ or from ‘‘utiliz(ing) criteria or methods of administration which have the effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the program as respects individuals of a particular race, color, or national origin.’’ All of the aforementioned language provides the foundation for ensuring nondiscrimination in all federal programs and services, including those provided to language minorities. 2. T ITLE VII Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Under Title VII it is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment, including: hiring and firing; compensation, assignment, or classification of employees; transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall; job advertisements; recruitment; or other terms and conditions of employment. Discriminatory practices under these laws also include: harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age; retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices; employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities; and denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability. Title VII prohibits not only intentional discrimination, but also practices that have the effect of discriminating against individuals because of their race, color, national origin, religion, or sex. It is illegal to discriminate against an individual because of birthplace, ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group. A rule requiring that employees speak only English on the job may violate Title VII unless an employer shows that the requirement is necessary for conducting business. The reason for this is because language is often used as a proxy for discrimination based on national origin. If the employer believes such a rule is necessary, employees must be informed when English is required and the consequences for violating the rule. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 requires employers to assure that employees hired are legally authorized to work in the U.S. However, an employer who requests employment verification only for individuals of a particular national origin, or individuals who appear to be or sound foreign, may violate both Title VII and IRCA; verification must be obtained from all applicants and employees. Employers who impose 10
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