Advocates Meet With Bellone Over Language Access Policy

Bellone meeting with immigrant rights organizations. (Credit: Ana Maria Archila, Make the Road New York)

Yesterday, I attended a meeting with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and his aide Luis Montes to talk about ways to break down barriers between county government and immigrant communities.

The groups in attendance—the Long Island Language Access Coalition, the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, and the Long Island Immigrant Alliance—are trying to work with Suffolk officials to bring county agencies into compliance with language access requirements mandated by federal law.

Many organizations that were shut out by the Levy administration are now being asked for advice by the new guard. I have spoken with a number of advocates in the last two weeks who tell me they are surprised about how open the door is now in Hauppauge after years of getting sandbagged by its prior occupant.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.