STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT: Limited English Proficiency
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                         (Los Angeles, California)

For Immediate Release                                       August 11, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today, I am issuing an Executive Order to help people with limited
English proficiency (LEP) access federal services.  Many people who are
eligible for federal services cannot effectively use those services because
they are not proficient in English.  The Executive Order directs federal
agencies to improve the language-accessibility of their programs by
December 11, 2000.  This initiative complements our commitment to promoting
programs to help individuals learn English.

     I am concerned that 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 more fully participate in American society.

     This Executive Order directs federal agencies to break down language
barriers by implementing consistent standards of language assistance across
agencies and among all recipients of federal financial assistance.  Under
this flexible standard, agencies and recipients must take reasonable steps
to provide meaningful access to their programs and activities, taking into
account a variety of considerations.  Among the factors to be considered
are the number or proportion of LEP persons in the eligible service
population, the frequency with which LEP individuals come in contact with
the program, the nature and importance of the service provided by the
program, and the available resources.


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