Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
This section of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin for all federal or federally-funded agencies. Although all federal agencies are directed to take measures to voluntarily comply with this act, the act also ensures that legal action can be taken against discriminatory agencies, which could lose their federal funding. The Department of Justice provides many useful publications on how to comply with Title VI, as well as how to file a complaint: www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor/pubs.php#12250.
This site also provides information on how specific government agencies, like the Department of Health and Human Services, comply with this act. The DOJ site also includes information to guide training programs in complying with this act.
Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency
Clinton’s executive order “Improving access to services for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP)” released in 2000 requires all federal agencies and recipients of federal funding to review their services and then develop and execute a system that allows people with LEP to access these services as if there were no language barrier. This order has its roots in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and aims to eliminate discrimination based on country of origin. The order does not require that agencies be ‘unduly burden[ed]’ by the programs it would need to enact to comply with this order- along these lines, the order also includes a general guidance document-LEP guidance http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor/13166.php.
This website contains links to other documents that further explain this order, as well as a video on LEP and “I speak” flashcards that can be adapted for use in clinic. I Speak Card
This order also requires that all federal agencies register a plan with the Department of Justice on how to enact these provisions, so requesting this plan for your agency may be a useful way to start reviewing how to better serve individuals with LEP. The Department of Justice’s provisions can be found at www.lep.gov, a comprehensive website providing and linking to information, tools, and technical assistance regarding limited English proficiency and language access.