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U.S. English Commends Arizona Committee for Endorsing Bill to Enforce English as State's Official Language

U.S. English Commends Arizona Committee for Endorsing Bill to Enforce English as State's Official Language

February 13, 2013

Washington, DC—U.S. English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica today commended the Arizona House Government Committee on its endorsement of a bill that would enforce the role of English as the Grand Canyon State’s official language.

“State Representative Steve Smith’s bill would enforce Official English provisions in the Arizona State Constitution,” Chairman Mujica said. “With more than half a million Arizona residents considered limited English proficient, removing the crutch of government translations and encouraging these people to learn English will place them on a level playing field with others in the United States. I urge the Arizona State House to enact this legislation for the good of all residents.”

Article 28 of the Arizona State Constitution declares English the official language of the state, going on to say that, “Representatives of government in this state shall preserve, protect and enhance the role of English as the official language of the government of Arizona.” This Official English provision does not prevent citizens from using foreign languages in their daily lives; rather, it prevents the government from spending taxpayer money to fund translations and hinder non-English speakers’ efforts to learn the common language of the United States.

 “When the State of Arizona declared English the official language in 2006, the government should have followed suit, ending foreign language translations in favor of creating an added incentive for immigrants to learn English,” Chairman Mujica said. “Unfortunately, seven years later, multilingual translations in Arizona continue, sending a message that English is optional. Learning English should be encouraged. Doing so can lead to a better, higher paying job and can prepare an individual to fully participate in all that the United States has to offer.”

Rep. Smith’s bill, HB 2283, passed out of committee on February 5th and now awaits a vote before the full Arizona State House of Representatives.

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