Title VI and Executive Order 13166 are federal LEP requirements to improve LEP access for LEP applicants and LEP beneficiaries of government-funded programs.
In certain circumstances, a failure to ensure that LEP persons can effectively participate in or benefit from federally assisted programs and activities may violate the prohibition against national origin discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Title VI regulations at 49 CFR Part 21.
To clarify existing requirements for LEP persons under Title VI, on August 11, 2000, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.” The Executive Order requires each Federal agency to examine the services it provides and develop and implement a system by which LEP persons can meaningfully access those services consistent with, and without unduly burdening, the fundamental mission of the agency. Each Federal agency is also directed to work to ensure that recipients of Federal financial assistance provide meaningful access to their LEP applicants and beneficiaries. To this end, each agency must prepare a plan to improve access to its federally conducted programs and activities (i.e., the services it provides directly to the public) by eligible LEP persons. The approximately 30 Federal agencies, including DOT, that provide Federal financial assistance to other parties, such as states, must also develop guidance for their recipients on complying with LEP requirements.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for coordinating governmentwide implementation of the Executive Order. To assist agencies in fulfilling the mandates of the order, DOJ published a general LEP policy guidance document on August 16, 2000, and issued revised guidance on June 18, 2002. The Executive Order states that agencies’ LEP plans and guidance must be consistent with the DOJ LEP guidance.