Immigrant Advocates Urge Agencies To Expand Language Access For Life-Saving Emergency Alerts

New York, NY—Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission conducted a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts. During this testing period, individuals received text alerts on their cellular devices in English or Spanish. These tests are designed to ensure that the systems in place continue to operate and alert individuals accordingly about emergencies such as weather, and AMBER alerts to impacted communities.

Theodore A. Moore, Vice President of Policy and Programs, New York Immigration Coalition:
“As the climate crisis continues to impact individuals across the globe, New York is not exempt from these extreme weather events, as evidenced by the flash flooding we saw last week. When emergencies occur, it is crucial that all New Yorkers receive accurate and timely alerts from city, state, and federal agencies in a language they understand. The lack of language access is one of the biggest challenges immigrant New Yorkers face when navigating government agencies and receiving resources. We cannot stand by and wait for another life-threatening emergency to hit before we take action to protect the lives of every single New Yorker, who speak more than 200 languages. We urge FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission to expand access to more people by including nationwide testing in at least the top 12 languages spoken in the U.S. Our communities must be included in life-saving emergency measures."