Rule 597

Things Uncle Dale may have done that you probably should not (on-going):

Not ten seconds on the scene…

Police Officer: We’re just going to arrest them all and let them sort it out at the station. I don’t think we need you to interpret any of this.

UD: I don’t think you need arrest any of these people, but in the end we are both destined to disappoint the other.

Police Officer: (stern look) *blink* *blink*

UD: Where are my Clients?

Rule 596

Dear VRI Interpreter:

Watch your sight-lines or clean your room!

The Client should not know it’s Monday because that pair of “day of the week” panties is missing from the clothes strewn about the room behind you.

Thank you Jared Allebest

Uncle Dale’s “You Probably Should Know”: Borderline.

There was a question posed on social media today by a woman who is Deaf. The very short version of the story involved being stopped by Customs and Border Patrol as they returned from Canada. During the encounter they requested that the Agent communicate in writing.

The Agent refused to do so.

The Agent gave verbal commands to the Deaf couple that they did not understand and as the encounter progressed the Agent became more agitated and the Deaf couple more fearful. The power differential is obvious and the turmoil nationally gave them reason to be anxious.

When this woman who is Deaf posted her story she relied heavily on references to Title II of the ADA. I suggested she may wish to frame this under Section 504 as well.

She asked me to explain why I suggested Section 504, as she understood it to be an education law.

https://uncledalesrulesforinterpreters.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/rule-11/

I find that Rule 11 applies equally to the Deaf Community as well. This past week I presented a workshop at NAD/RID Region I that covers this very topic (just a side note. I gave an “hour and a half” version of a day long workshop where I physically walk attendees through federal laws like each is its own foreign country, with its own customs and language.

I will post a description of the workshop at the end.

I have submitted this workshop to several regional RID conferences but sadly no takers. NAD attendees and State Associations who have asked me to present it rave about it; its the clearest way to understand how the ADA, Section 504, IDEA and the ACA are similar and how each is markedly DIFFERENT. Anyway…)

I have been asked to post my answer to the question “why 504” on the Rules Blog so more people can see it.

Here is my answer:

“I can’t give you legal advice because I don’t have half enough facts. I am just giving a general idea of the differences and similarities between federal laws so you understand why you may want to look at Section 504 when framing the issue with these facts.

Customs/Border Patrol/ICE/Homeland Security are Federal Executive agencies which is one of the two entities 504 was designed to obligate (the other being any entity or business that accepts federal funds) so it seems 504 would be uniquely applicable.

I would still suggest including Title II in any discussion of a possible complaint you have with an attorney. Title II is good because it requires the agency to give “primary consideration” to the request made by the Deaf person (in this case writing). Understand that because Title II requires “primary consideration” when Section 504 overlaps with Title II, then Section 504 cannot be interpreted to provide less protection than Title II-so it would also require “Primary Consideration.”

However, Title II may have complications in enforcement. The more remote possible issue comes from a case called Tennessee v. Lane (and another case out of Georgia) that seem to indicate that there may be a requirement that you prove a Constitutional violation in order to enforce Title II. As this argument stems from an 11th Amendment conflict it may only be a problem if the State Police, not the Feds as it was according to the facts you laid out, were involved. But with the Federal Courts, including the Supreme Court, almost daily becoming more conservative and less responsive to the rights of individuals it is easy to imagine a Federal Agency making an argument for a more expansive application of the requirement or at least favoring the need for a Constitutional violation; from the brief description you gave I don’t see a Constitutional violation in your case.

Again, the courts have never said you MUST include a Constitutional violation, they have just said that they supported decisions in favor of the person with the disability “because” there was a Constitutional violation. One way or another it’s a possible extra fight you would not need.

The protections of Section 504 are equal in almost every respect to Title II in that Section 504 cannot be interpreted to provide less protection than Title II. In places where Section 504 is not equal to Title II there is an argument that it is better.

504 applies to all Executive Branch agencies and any entity accepting federal funds. As it must be interpreted in equity with (and sometimes better than) the ADA it covers the same ground as Title II but does not have the same possibility of needing to show a Constitutional violation (again the requirement for a Constitutional violation, if it exists at all, likely only applies to actions against States… but better safe than sorry as it were).

The second problem for a Title II action is one of wording and interpretation. Title II says that persons with disabilities are to be given equal access to the “programs, benefits and services” offered by government agencies.

Is the border patrol a benefit to you?

Is being searched a program?

Was searching you a service?

There is case law that goes both ways.

But 504 says:

(a) No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 705(20), shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency or by the United States Postal Service (emphasis added).

Applying the facts as you stated them you have a strong case that you were “subjected to discrimination” under the “activity” of Border Patrol conducting a search.

Again. This is not legal advice, just an observation. Talk to a lawyer in your area.

Hope that helps.

(My recent NAD workshop:

Federal Laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are complex and confusing. It is vital for both deaf people and interpreters to understand the differences and similarities between, and even within, these laws. It is also vital to know the authorities through which each was passed in order to know which law applies to any specific situation, how a complaint is filed, what is and is not evidence of a violation and what remedies may be available if a violation is proven. There are so many differences it can be hard to keep it all straight! This workshop is presented as a “tour” of the laws as if each was its own country. “Uncle Dale Tours” lays each out like a map of a foreign land and the participants walk through each, see the sights and landmarks unique to each as well as their shared heritage. Each are issued a passport with certain knowledge points needed to earn a “visa” to the next law. It is equally fun and beneficial for the interpreter and community member. [0.125 PS])

Rule 593

So, what kind of conference is this?

Words a Deaf professional NEVER wants to hear when meeting their interpreter.

Seriously! Google is your friend!

(Wisdom of Teresa Blankmeyer Burke)

Random Thoughts From Uncle Dale: This (Almost) Never Happens To Me, NAD Version

I have to add the qualifier, because it happened.

I walked into the lobby of the hotel and saw the interpreter waiting near the front desk. I walked up and said hi.

She asked, “Are you Dale?”

I said I was.

She said, “you are scheduled to work with me from 2 till 5.”

That was news to me. But let’s admit it, it’s not the first time I have been co-opted into interpreting by just putting me on the schedule.

I looked at Aunt SuperTam as if to say, “don’t blame me I didn’t volunteer!”

The Interpreter caught the look and pulled out the schedule to show me and from 2-5 the schedule read her and Dale ‘Not Me.’

That is the first time in my life I have ever been asked, “are you Dale?” and NOT been the Dale in question.

If your name is John or Stephanie or Chris I imagine such things happen all the time. But I can count the number of Dale’s I know or have met on one hand.

Now it was not only NOT JUST NOT ME but another interpreter. A smaller world inside the bigger one.

By the way, Dale ‘Not Me’ showed up. He is a very nice guy with Mad Skills. I’d be willing to be mistaken for him anytime.

Anyway I can’t say “That never happens” to me anymore, because it did.

I’m pretty sure Aunt SuperTam will never experience that because we are still looking for a can of Coke with the name ‘Tammis’. Pretty sure we won’t find one.

Note from Uncle Dale: NAD, Day One (Minus One)

Dateline Hartford CT.

The play ended Saturday night! I am happy to have NAD/RID Region I this week or I would be totally depressed. Playing Snoopy was more fun than I have given myself permission to have in a long time! A group of my students.

Ready? My Psychiatrist. For real. The man who first told me I had ADHD and helped me through testing, medication adjusting to life without all the “coping strategies” Aunt SuperTam and I had developed. His son is Deaf and his wife is a POWERHOUSE of a legislative activist. I love them!

Where was I? OH YEAH! NAD/RID Region I in Hartford.

After the flight was delayed out of Chicago I arrived last night (this morning?) and finally got to bed at about 4 am. Four in the morning of the 31st anniversary of the day Aunt SuperTam and I met (our true anniversary).

At 7 am, on the dot, a jackhammer started pounding away outside my hotel window… they put me in a “Deaf” room!

DeafGain! Never doubt it!

So as sleep was obviously out of the question I got up and wandered over to the Convention Center.

First off, its wicked hot in New England. Like honored guest at the lobstah boil hot.

Second, it’s beautiful here. I came through Hartford very briefly years ago when I spent a summer at the National Theatre of the Deaf. I remember seeing the river then and wishing I had time to walk the riverfront. I took the time this morning and wow! I will never regret that.

The conventions begin in earnest tomorrow.

I finished the night hanging out in the lobby of the Hartford Marriott catching up with old friends and making new ones.

LAST MINUTE EDIT!!!!

The first action taken at this conference is a big one and it portents of important discussions to come:

https://www.nad.org/2018/06/29/nad-demand-letter-to-rid/

I’m going to bed because the long days start tomorrow.

Random Thoughts by Uncle Dale: Game of Thrones

An Interpreter Joke from, of all places, Game of Thrones.

An Interpreter was on the deck of a sinking ship. The Capitan asked “can you swim?”

“No,” the Interpreter replied, “but I can yell HELP in 16 languages.”

Thank you Game of Thrones.