The Truth About Official English

What Our Opponents Claim About Official English
and
Why They are Wrong
 

They Say

We Say

“English-only Movement”— Label given in countless news stories The correct term is “Official English Movement.” People are free to speak any languages they wish in their private lives and in private business. Official English applies only to official government actions.
“More seriously, a strict enforcement of [Arizona’s official English] law would force doctors and nurses in public hospitals to speak only English to patients, even patients who speak no English.” — Roger Hernandez, syndicated columnist This type of “horror story” claim is often made by opponents of official English. But if they bothered to actually read the laws they complain about, they would discover that such fears are groundless. Arizona’s law, for example, specifically provided an exception for matters of public health and safety.
“The message you all are about to give…is you don’t care for people who speak other languages, you don’t care because you don’t want them to speak any other language, and in essence, you don’t accept them until they speak only English.”— Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) Our focus is on making sure that everyone in the U.S. can speak English. If people can speak other languages in addition to English, we have no problem with that. In fact, U.S.ENGLISH Chairman  Mauro E. Mujica speaks several languages in addition to English.
“Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., claimed English-only laws would keep officials from helping tourists who speak no English, including the 2 million tourists at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.” — U.P.I. Both H.R.123 at the federal level and Georgia’s official English law contain exceptions for tourism. Official English is not concerned with tourists; but those who come to this country to stay must learn English.
“Soon you may be asked to consider one of a number of pending bills that would, in effect, exclude many non-English speakers from many of the benefits of citizenship in the United States.” — ACLU letter to U.S. Senators Non-English speakers are excluded from many of the benefits of citizenship by the very fact that they do not speak English. Official English encourages immigrants to learn English so they can participate fully in all America has to offer.
“The only purpose of this [official English] legislation is to exclude.”–Sandra del Valle, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund The purpose of official English is to unite our country, rather than let it fragment along linguistic lines.We want all who come to the United States to be included in society, and the key to participating in American society is to learn English.

 

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