The New York Department of Health, the Office of Children & Family Services, the Department of Motor Vehicles and other state agencies that provide direct services to the public will now offer forms in six foreign languages, thanks to an executive order recently issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
State agencies will also provide translation services in Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Russian, French and French Creole. Translators will be state workers as well as workers from a hired service, The Associated Press reported. The languages were chosen based on census data, according to a news release issued by the governor’s office.
In the release, Cuomo stated, “This executive order ensures that non-English speakers receive equal access to the programs, services and opportunities offered by their state government.”
Depending on what service is requested, translation will be provided for illegal immigrants, who will not be asked about their citizenship status.
Critics, like state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long, said the $1.5 million program coddles immigrants and is too costly, the AP reported.
Cuomo said it is the government’s responsibility to reach out to immigrants and help them adjust to life in the United States in a dignified way.
Under a strict immigration law recently enacted in Alabama, the DMV must establish the immigration status of every car tag renewal applicant, which has led to such long lines the state extended the September tag renewal deadline.