Section 2 of Executive Order 13166 requires federal agencies to develop and implement a plan for improving access to services and participation in federally conducted programs and activities to persons with limited English proficiency (LEP).
II. Assessment of LEP populations and language needs:
An analysis of data from the 2000 U.S. Census revealed that the most frequently used non-English languages in the Eastern District of Louisiana are Spanish and Vietnamese. The largest concentration of Spanish and Vietnamese individuals who either do not speak English well or who do not speak English at all are located in the New Orleans Metropolitan area, mainly Orleans and Jefferson Parishes.
III. The District Language Assistance Plan:
a.) Telephone calls/Walk-ins: The reception desk shall have available copies of the language identification flashcard (Attachment One). Should a LEP individual come into the office and the receptionist is unable to communicate with the individual, the flashcard should be presented to the visitor. The flashcard contains a sentence in the top forty (40) languages most frequently spoken in the United States, which will identify which language the visitor is able to speak and understand. After determining what language is needed, the receptionist will review the list of employees who have foreign language skills and have volunteered to help in such situations (Attachment Two). If no employee is present in the office who speaks the needed language the receptionist shall then contact Tele-Interpreters at 1-800-811-7881 (Attachment Three). After giving the Tele-Interpreters representative our client identification number and the language interpretation needed, an interpreter fluent in the needed language will be put on the line and be able to communicate with the LEP individual. If an individual telephones the office, the receptionist should first try to determine what language the caller is speaking and then follow the procedures outlined above. If the language cannot be determined, a telephone call-back number should be obtained if possible and a qualified interpreter contacted to call the LEP individual.
b.) Victim-Witness Unit: The office has available, in both English and Spanish, copies of the brochures entitled “The Department of Justice Victim Notification System”, “Victims and Witnesses: Understanding Your Rights and the Federal Court System” in Spanish. In addition, the office has available in Spanish and Vietnamese, copies of the LAVNS (Louisiana Automated Victim Notification System) pamphlet entitled, “Victims Have the Right to Know.” Should other translation and interpreting services be necessary, the victim/witness coordinator(s) should utilize the Tele-Interpreters, certified interpreters used by the Criminal and Civil Divisions in this District, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (Attachment Four), list of interpreters provided by Catholic Charities, Archidocese of New Orleans, the National Center for State Courts, and the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators.
c.) Case related language needs: All translation/interpreting services for criminal, civil, or the financial litigation unit (FLU) cases should normally be handled by interpreters certified by the District Court. This would include any meetings, depositions, debriefings and interviews with LEP individuals. Use of a court certified interpreter at all stages of an investigation or case will greatly reduce disputes later on in court.
d.) The Financial Litigation Unit (FLU): all demand letters sent by the FLU to potential LEP individuals shall include a notice advising the party that they may choose either to secure the assistance of an interpreter of their own choosing (at their own expense) or that an interpreter will be provided by this office. Any such election of the party shall be documented in writing and placed into the case file.
IV. Staff Training:
Each employee will receive a copy of the “Foreign Language - Employee Volunteer List” showing the employee’s name, telephone extension, language spoken and level of fluency. Each office employee will also be given this LAP with all attachments so that everyone has a ready reference if confronted with a LEP situation. This LAP will also be posted on the office internet web site for easy access and reference.
New employee orientation will also include training on the nature and scope of language assistance services as well as the specific procedures through which each employee can access those services.
The office internet web-page will contain information on the availability of language assistance through or by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Additionally, our offices will provide to the public a LEP brochure (See Attachment Five) outlining Executive Order 13166 and a brochure entitled, “Federal Protections Against National Origin Discrimination.” Employees are encouraged to distribute this brochure and make reference to our web-page when contacting individuals, participating in civic functions or speaking to community groups.
VI. Periodic Self-Assessment and Self-Monitoring:
This initial LAP will be reviewed at the end of each calendar year. Specific areas to the be examined will include:
• any change in target or service population demographics or new program - specific data that would indicate a denial of substantially equal and meaningful effective services to a significant LEP population in our district.
• the competency of the language services provided under this plan to include the level of fluency, comprehension, and confidentiality.
• continued identification of what information provided by the office is vital to the public and insure such information is accessible to LEP individuals.