Statement by the President: LEP (8/30/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Cartagena, Colombia)

For Immediate Release                                           August 30,

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today, I commend the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS) for being the first federal agency to respond to Executive Order
13166 which will help people with limited English proficiency (LEP) access
federal and federally funded services.   The HHS policy guidance issued
today will assist health and social service providers to ensure that LEP
individuals can access critical health and social services and will assist
our efforts to eliminate health disparities between LEP and
English-speaking individuals.  The guidance outlines the legal
responsibilities of providers who assist people with limited English
proficiency and receive federal financial assistance from HHS, and provides
a flexible roadmap to assist those providers in their efforts to meet the
language needs of the nation?s increasingly diverse population.

     On August 11, 2000, I issued Executive Order 13166, which directed
federal agencies, by December 11, 2000, to establish written policies on
the language-accessibility of their programs and the programs of those who
receive federal funds.  Federal agencies and recipients of federal
financial assistance must take reasonable steps to ensure that persons with
limited English proficiency can meaningfully access their programs.

     Language barriers are preventing the federal government and recipients
of federal financial assistance from effectively serving a large number of
people in this country who are eligible to participate in their programs.
Failure to systematically confront language barriers can lead to unequal
access to federal benefits based on national origin and can harm the
mission of federal agencies.  Breaking down these barriers will allow
individuals with limited English proficiency to fully participate in
American society.


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