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U.S. English Applauds Passage of Carroll County English Language Bill

U.S. English Applauds Passage of Carroll County English Language Bill

January 24, 2013

Washington, DC—U.S. English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica today applauded Carroll County, Maryland representatives for their unanimous passage of an ordinance to recognize English as the official language of the county government.

“I am encouraged that, after hearing U.S. English testimony in support of this ordinance, Carroll County has become the third county in Maryland to recognize the unifying role of the English language,” Mujica said. “Official English will lead to good things for non-English speakers in Carroll County, just as it has for those residing in the thirty-one states and numerous counties that have passed similar legislation.  Proficiency in English is the greatest gift immigrants can receive—it opens up the doors to communication and allows them to more fully participate in their community. Official English is an added incentive for immigrants to make this effort.”

The ordinance, introduced by County Commissioner Haven Shoemaker, will ensure that the Carroll County government is not required to provide documents and translations in languages other than English. It includes common sense exceptions, including foreign language instruction, in instances to protect public health and safety, to promote trade and tourism, and more.

According to the Census Bureau, 94.8% of Carroll County residents speak English, and just 1.6% of County residents are unable to speak English less than ‘very well,’ meaning they would be likely to encounter difficulty having more than a basic conversation in English.

“Designating English the official language of the Carroll County government will serve as a way to raise immigrants up to the same level of native English speakers. It will still allow individuals to use whatever language they choose in their daily lives, while also encouraging them to learn English to improve their social and economic circumstances,” Mujica continued.

U.S. English testimony from the December 2012 Carroll County hearing can be found here. While 31 states currently recognize some form of Official English, Maryland has not yet passed statewide legislation. In the past year alone, however, there has been action at the county government level to enact such legislation, with representatives in Frederick County passing Official English in February of 2012, and Queen Anne’s County following suit in May.

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