As the Republican convention kicks off in Minnesota, the idea of making English the official language of the United States was highlighted in the newly unveiled 2008 Republican Platform. Calling the English Language “one sign of our unity” and “the fastest route to prosperity in America” the platform makes official English legislation a cornerstone of the effort to maintain our common values and what unites us as one nation.

The official platform declares:

In our multiethnic nation, everyone — immigrants and native-born alike — must embrace our core values of liberty, equality, meritocracy, and respect for human dignity and the rights of women. One sign of our unity is our English language. For newcomers, it has always been the fastest route to prosperity in America. English empowers. We support English as the official language in our nation, while welcoming the ethnic diversity in the United States and the territories, including language. Immigrants should be encouraged to learn English. English is the accepted language of business, commerce, and legal proceedings, and it is essential as a unifying cultural force.

According to a 2008 Zogby poll, nearly 4-in-5 Americans support making English the official language of the United States, including more than 90 percent of Republicans. More than 150 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are co-sponsors of H.R. 997, legislation that would make English the official language, while Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, voted to make English the national language of the U.S. in both 2006 and 2007.

U.S. English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non-partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S. English, Inc. ( www.usenglish.org ) now has more than 2 million members.