Immigration: Language barriers may spark legal issues

| Sep 21, 2020 | U.s. Immigration Law |

When a Florida immigrant is trying to acclimate him or herself to a new culture, a language barrier often gets in the way. Especially for those whose ultimate goal is to become naturalized citizens of the United States, it is important to learn to speak, read, write and understand English. There are several tips to help people overcome language barriers. It is a good idea to practice such tips because not being able to correctly translate or say something in English could lead to legal complications in certain types of situations.

It takes time to become fluent in a new language. It is helpful to learn several key phrases to make the first hours or days in a new country less stressful. For a person who has just emigrated from another country, it is always a good idea to master common greetings such as those used to say hello or good-bye. A person might also want to know how to ask where a church, post office, police station or restroom is located.

Using hand motions and body language may be helpful if a person is having difficulty stating what he or she wants to convey in English. Facial expressions can be useful as well. It is always best to try to use the least amount of words possible to clearly articulate a specific message. And these days, cellphones come with a variety of apps that help with translations.

Many immigrants in Florida and elsewhere find it easier to write down what they are trying to say if they are having trouble getting someone to understand them. In certain situations, such as if a person must attend an immigration interview, it is helpful to enlist the support of someone who can act as a translator and who is also well-versed in U.S. immigration policies. An experienced immigration attorney would be able to provide strong support in such circumstances.

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