Congressman Sires Introduces the Equal Access to Information Act
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) has introduced the House companion to Senator Menendez’s Equal Access to Information Act. This legislation would require federal agencies to ensure language access and multilingual resources for all communities regardless of English proficiency.
“Especially in times of crisis, it is vitally important that federal programs are understandable and accessible for those with Limited English Proficiency or disabilities,” stated Rep. Sires. “COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting immigrant and minority communities and we need to guarantee that they have immediate access to correct and complete information, rather than relying on delayed interpretations or translations. Not only is this a civil rights issue it is also imperative to preventing further spread of the virus and ensuring everyone is informed in future crises.”
The bill would require demographic assessments by federal agencies to better serve all communities and would establish language access procedures that must be put in place by every agency in case of any emergency such as the current pandemic.