Regulatory Rights: Civil Rights Agencies, Courts, and the Entrenchment of Language Rights
The Rights Revolution Revisited (Cambridge University Press 2018)
29 Pages Posted: 30 May 2018 Last revised: 12 Jun 2018
Date Written: January 1, 2018
Shortly after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, policymakers recognized the need to transform the aspirations of civil rights rhetoric into concrete solutions for new immigrants and non- English speakers whose presence dramatically increased following passage of the Hart-Cellar Act in 1965. The Hart- Cellar Act lifted national origin quotas on Asian and Latin American countries, ushering in an unprecedented amount of racial and ethnic diversity. Asian and Hispanic immigrants faced many of the same barriers as African Americans, whose pioneering efforts culminated in sweeping civil rights reforms in many areas of public life. The new immigrants additionally faced language barriers. Many Asian and Hispanic immigrants lacked the language skills to fully participate in mainstream institutions where English predominated. Generations of neglect also meant that some Asians and Hispanics lacked English language competency despite years of residence in ethnic enclaves in cities. In both schools and workplaces, the achievements of the civil rights movement eluded language minorities. This chapter explains how civil rights laws evolved to incorporate the needs of LEP speakers after 1965 and shows how federal civil rights agencies served as the engine of civil rights expansions on behalf of language minorities in the years following the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Hart-Cellar Act.
Keywords: civil rights, immigration, race, language, policy, history
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