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Introduction The debate on whether the United States should declare English as its official language has been a topic thoroughly discussed among the halls of Congress for some time now. It is an issue that affects millions of individuals and has implications that may not be entirely known to those that it most seriously affects.
Currently, there are 23 states that have declared English as the official language of their respective states. However, for the majority of these states this declaration is viewed as symbolic, comparable to selecting a state flower.
For other states such as California and Georgia, Official English statutes that are more restrictive, i. Proponents of Official English policies, as they are termed in brief, argue that English has been the dominant language for the better part of this century and should be made the official language in order to simplify government processes.
Many feel that by accommodating non-English speakers, one is performing a disservice to them by discouraging assimilation. While these individuals state that speaking a language other than English may be beneficial and do not discourage its use in the home, church or private place of business, they do not feel that the government should have to ensure that these individuals are able to participate in our government through their native tongue Sen.
This movement is primarily being headed by members of the Republican party, as well as organizations such as U.
English and English First. The organization known as English First considers itself to be a national, non-profit grassroots lobbying organization whose goals include making English the official language of the United States, eliminating ineffective multilingual policies, and giving every child the opportunity to learn English English First.
Opponents of Official English policies argue that this type of legislation is unconstitutional.
Restricting federal and state employees from communicating with individuals, especially immigrants, in a language other than English violates the first amendment according to these opponents.
Opponents also fear that this type of legislation will lead to ethnic and racial intolerance, and confirm to non-native English speakers that they are second class citizens in the eyes of the government of the United States ACLU.
As may be expected, many Democrats including the Clinton administration have tended to lobby against Official English policies along with other organizations such as the ACLU, various pro-bilingual associations, minority based non-profits groups as well as the National Education Association.
History Although not often acknowledged, the United States has a history of multilingualism. Before White settlers founded what is now known as the United States of America, this continent was occupied by indigenous people who spoke many different languages, none of them English.
Early on in American history, English co-existed with German, and then eventually with French and Spanish. Thus, the Articles of Confederation along with other documents printed by the first Continental Congress were published jointly in German and English.
This eventually lead to the Pennsylvania law which required schools to provide instruction in both of these languages, establishing the first ever bilingual education law. Similarly, California also established laws declaring the state officially bilingual in existence for only 30 years and printed its first state constitutional proceedings in Spanish and English.
By the turn of the century, Czech, Dutch, Italian, Norwegian and Polish bilingual education programs had also been implemented throughout the country National Education Association. It was because of this sentiment that 20 Midwestern states created legislation that prevented any type of instruction in German.
Accordingly, legislation was passed that made English the official language of Nebraska with the enactment of the Nebraska Act of National Education Association. This particular decision however, was shortly overturned in by the U. Supreme Court in the case of Meyer v. The Supreme Court overruled the restrictive act by stating that, "The protection of the Constitution extends to all; to those who speak other languages as well as those born with English on the tongue" National Education Association.
The Supreme Court case of Lau v. Nicholsconcerning the failure of the San Francisco school system in providing English language instruction to Chinese immigrants, also exemplified the courts sentiment when they "ruled that instruction solely in English deprives students of an understanding of the curriculum and of an equal opportunity in education" National Education Association.
As stated previously, 23 states have declared English as their official language. Arizona et al, No. In a referendum was passed amending the state constitution by not only designating English as the official language of Arizona, but also deeming it the official language of all state forms, ballots, and schools.
Exceptions were made for emergency and law-enforcement situations, as well as foreign language instruction in schools.May 19, · Under the Inhofe proposal, the federal government is directed to "preserve and enhance the role of English as the national language of the United States of America.".
PLSC CHAP 2. STUDY. PLAY. Common Sense, written by _____, argued in favor of declaring independence from Great Britain and establishing a new government for the citizens of a new country.
thomas paine. The President of the United States checks the Supreme Court by. This division of the United States into separate language groups contributes to racial and ethnic conflicts.
Designating English as the official language will help reverse this harmful process." In , The Idaho Senate has voted in favor of SB , declaring English to . A new national survey has reaffirmed clear and strong public support for English as the official and unifying language of the United States, with 73% of likely .
This bill, similar to H. R. , seeks to amend title 4 of the United States Code by declaring English the official language of the Federal Government.
H. R. although, is not as appeasing to non-English speakers. A new national survey has reaffirmed clear and strong public support for English as the official and unifying language of the United States, with 73% of likely voters agreeing that Official English legislation should be.