Illinois courts look for Mayan language interpreters

Illinois courts look for Mayan language interpreters

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Immigration courts in central Illinois are struggling to effectively represent people who only speak an indigenous Mayan language.

The Chicago Tribune reports that about 550 people in the Champaign-Urbana area speak the language, called Q'anjob'al (CAN'-jawb-uhl).

The National Immigrant Justice Center says there's been an increase in Q'anjob'al-speaking immigrants over the past eight months.

Department of Justice statistics indicate that the language was the 17th-most popular language in immigration courts across the U.S. in 2016, up from 25th place two years prior.

The government is required to provide interpreters for defendants in immigration court hearings. Interpreters for the Mayan language are often flown in from other parts of the U.S.

Sometimes two interpreters are required or an interpreter offers their services over the phone instead of in person.

Information from: Chicago Tribune,

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