Immigration Detention Centres Highlight Interpreter Shortage

Posted on: November 1st, 2015 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

The shortage of interpreters at U.S. immigration detention centres points to the same problem here in Canada and it needs to be addressed, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

“This story highlights an issue with interpreters — the shortage in Canada and the U.S. is huge. There needs to be anther look at the profession to determine why and what steps can be taken to change that,” she tells

As Canada continues to become more multicultural, this issue will only become more significant, she says.

Deliscar makes the comments in connection with a Los Angeles Times article about a woman who was being held at an immigration detention centre in Kansas City, Texas, one of America’s three family immigration detention facilities.

With a shortage of interpreters for the centre, a social worker was called in to speak with a Central American woman who “would not stop crying.” The social worker, Olivia Lopez, was told that the woman was a prostitute back in her country and was concerned she was pregnant.

Lopez, who grew up speaking Spanish, asked the woman what was wrong, and what emerged about the woman’s life was completely different from what the social worker had been told, says the article. The woman told Lopez that she had been raped repeatedly when she would walk home so she ran away from her country to flee the attacks.

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