Empowering New York’s Asian American Community Since 1989

Asian American Federation Statement on Language Access Legislation

New York City: On Wednesday, the New York City Council voted unanimously to approve a new Language Access Policy, Introduction 1181-A. The new law nearly doubles the number of languages in which all city agencies are required to provide services from six to 10.

The inclusion of Urdu, Arabic, and French among the added languages will cover some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including South Asian and African immigrants. Through our efforts with African Communities Together, the New York Immigration Coalition, the Urban Justice Center, and other key partners, we are reminded yet again that a focused coalition can achieve big wins for our community.

For the past several years, we have advocated for the inclusion of languages that reflect our communities’ growing diversity so that all immigrants can have access to essential services. Nearly 30 percent of the pan- Asian community lives below the poverty line, so it is crucial to create better access to city services that impact the day-to-day life of immigrants. We are grateful to Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the entire City Council for prioritizing our immigrant communities during this critical time and for their commitment to ensuring that newcomers have access to necessary information and programs.

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