Stop Massive Loss of Immigration Court Interpreters


Target: President Barack Obama

Goal: Stop massive loss of  immigration court interpreters by ensuring they are paid fairly and provided decent working conditions.

The Justice Department recently switched contractors that handle staffing the courts with interpreters for immigration cases to a company that interpreters say is trying to underpay them and provide poor working conditions. Because of this, the courts could lose a third of interpreters who play a crucial role in immigration cases.

The new contractor, SOS International, has created an environment that could affect immigration courts’ operations and could see immigrants faced with a lower ability to challenge their deportation. This means thousands of immigrants could be unfairly deported because they didn’t understand the case against them.

Interpreters say the new contract offers unacceptably low pay that undervalues the importance of their role in the courts, as well as poor travel reimbursement and cancellation policies. Immigration courts already face the challenge of a backlog of almost 500,000 cases, causing a massive amount of immigrants to sit in limbo with their cases.

Tell President Obama to step in and correct the situation surrounding this bad contract and to truly provide liberty and justice for all.


Dear President Obama,

A new contract between SOS International and the federal courts would underpay interpreters, as well as provide unfair travel reimbursement and poor cancellation policies for these workers. Because of this, a third of interpreters could be lost, having an extremely unfair effect on immigrants who may not be able to fully understand the case against them.

The federal government should not just go with the cheapest option possible when it comes to important issues such as the handling of immigrants. Thousands of people may suffer if this contract goes through with the conditions that are currently set. Immigration courts are already backlogged with hundreds of thousands of cases, so we cannot allow another setback. I urge you to step in and correct the situation with this poorly done contract and to protect both the interpreters and the immigrants they are assisting.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Michael D. Beckwith

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One Comment

  1. David H. Leung says:

    Dear all,

    Having been an immigration court interpreter for more than 25 years, I am very disappointed and sad with the new contract of SOS Internation. It is an outrageous humiliation against our endeavours and talent and certainly a switch back to the bad times of cheap labor indenture. I suggest that the decision makers should pay a visit to an immigration court in any district and understand more about the complexity and overwhelming job we are working on a daily basis.

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