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Deaf Traveler Denied Interpreter

In January of this year, a deaf Japanese woman traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii, to visit her boyfriend. But when she arrived, US Customs stopped her and held her without telling her why.

Now in a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in April, the deaf woman said she repeatedly requested an interpreter. The police refused to provide an interpreter. Instead, the woman says, she had to read lips and write messages in order to communicate. She said she was scared and confused throughout the interrogation process. Later, when jailed overnight, she says she was still denied an interpreter.

No accessible phone was made available to her there. She could not contact her family or her boyfriend. US Customs says it is investigating and will address the accusations.


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