Mayor Keller signs bill to ensure non-English speakers have access to services

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque is famous for its diverse population, and Monday, the city took a step to make sure everyone feels welcome. Mayor Tim Keller signed the Language Access Bill. It’s designed to give everyone access to public services, regardless of what language they speak.

He says it’s a great way to make up for past problems. “Unfortunately for all those institutional barriers we put up against folks who don’t speak English as a first language, we’re trying to correct that in some small way with this by making sure that the city is committed to equitable and inclusive practices especially when it comes to language access,” Keller said.

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The legislation makes permanent an executive order signed by Mayor Keller in September which ordered all city departments to submit a language access plan for approval. The City says more than 67,000 people in Albuquerque speak little to no English and previously, outside organizations would step in.

“So we know that passing this Language Access bill will hopefully ensure more New Mexicans their rights to public resources, alleviating small grassroots organizations like our own of being a catch-all to fill gaps in accessible services,” said Sachi Watase, executive director of the New Mexico Asian Family Center.

The mayor also signed anti-Asian hate legislation.

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