Border Patrol changes translation-services policy

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will no longer provide translation services to other law enforcement agencies, a move welcomed by the American Immigration Council.

The new policy directs Border Patrol officers to refer requests for language translation to a list of private, regional and state interpreter associations, according to information at www.immigrationpolicy.org/newsroom/release. The change does not affect Border Patrol’s authority to respond to requests from law enforcement agencies for other types of assistance, the website states.

Immigrant activists were pleased by the new policy because of a recent report by the council’s Immigration Policy Center, which showed that the use of Border Patrol agents to provide Spanish-English interpretation for local law enforcement officers in northern border communities has increased sharply in recent years. Providing such access to undocumented immigrants often led to Border Patrol officers questioning them about their statuses, and in some cases led to removal proceedings, the report noted.

The new guidelines represent a step toward greater accountability from Border Patrol, Melissa Crow, director of the council’s Legal Action Center, stated in a press release.

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