Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García, Barbara Lee Call on DOJ to Explain Elimination of In-Court Interpreters for Immigrants

July 29, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Last week Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) and Barbara Lee (CA-13), joined by 40 Democratic Members, sent a letter to the Department of Justice raising grave concerns about its plan to end the use of in-court interpreters for undocumented immigrants appearing in their first deportation hearings, and instead, use pre-recorded videos. The proposed change would jeopardize immigrants’ rights to due process, worsen delays and backlogs as a result of confusion and lengthier appeals, and ultimately, compromise the integrity our immigration system.

“Immigrants should have the right to use an interpreter in deportation hearings. The decision to replace human interpreters with pre-recorded videos is dehumanizing, especially after Congress recently appropriated an additional $4.6 billion in supplemental assistance for border operations, including added funds to the Justice Department,” said Rep. García

“As a clinical social worker by profession, I understand the trauma that undocumented immigrants go through at their first deportation hearing" said Rep. Lee.

“The decision to deliberately end the practice of having an in-person interpreter to translate in immigration court is beyond cruel, and having an interpreter by video is wholly inadequate. This decision is dehumanizing and wrong, and the U.S. Department of Justice must rescind its plan immediately." Immigrants should have the right to use an interpreter in deportation hearing

Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García and Barbara Lee strongly urged the Justice Department to continue the use of in-court human interpreters and rescind any decision to curb or limit such availability.

To view the letter, click here.