Voters will Decide Nashville Ballot Proposal on Jan. 22

U.S. English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica wrote the following Letter to the editor of the Tennessean after the newspaper published a misleading op-ed on Nashville’s pending official English initiative. The letter appears below.

Dear Editor:

I am all for a spirited debate on Nashville’s pending official English initiative, but I am discouraged by the dishonesty put forth by opponents such as Ginny Welsch.

Nashville’s official English proposal is similar to laws that have passed in 30 states and dozens of towns and cities. These laws have been found to be constitutional time and time again by state and federal courts. In April 2008, an Iowa District Court Judge specifically rejected the claims of the Iowa Secretary of State that the law was unconstitutional.

Contrary to Ms. Welsch’s claims, such laws do not “prohibit fire and police personnel from speaking to crime victims in languages other than English,” nor do they “make everyday communication between city workers and any non-English-speaking person essentially impossible.” If this were the case, we would hear of shocking stories pouring out of Arizona, Kansas and Idaho, three states which made English their official language in the last 27 months. The fact that we haven’t suggests that the doomsday predictions are nothing more than empty rhetoric.

Nashville voters are entitled to have their say on whether they believe the government should encourage English fluency by doing the overwhelming majority of business in the English language. They are also entitled to a fair and honest debate on the issue. It is my hope that both sides will refrain from using outright lies to plead their case.

Sincerely,
Mauro E. Mujica
Chairman
U.S. English, Inc.

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.