"English Only" would mean I would no longer have to punch one on the telephone
for English. If the aliens wish to reap the benefits of our social system they should
learn to speak english when they ask for these benefits.
The Case For English Only
By Harris R. Sherline
June 23, 2008
Enough already! How many languages should we be expected to speak in America? And,
how many languages should our government and other institutions, such as hospitals
and schools, be required to accommodate? The problem is not just Spanish speakers.
It's the more than 320 other tongues that are spoken in America today.
Hispanics now comprise about 35% of the population of California, many of whom do
not speak English. So, should we be required to print all government documents in
both English and Spanish, teach school in Spanish, give civil service exams in Spanish,
hire people who don't speak English?
But, it's not just about communication, although that's certainly important.
It's also a pocketbook issue, about the economic impact that trying to accommodate
multiple languages has on our society. Alameda County (CA) Medical Center, which
"has 18 full-time interpreters or staff in addition to 19 on-call translators,"
is but one example of the burden that such laws can place on public institutions.
U.S. English, Inc. offers some interesting facts about the situation:
-- "Since 1980, the number of U.S. residents who are limited English proficient
has more than doubled, from 10.2 million to 21.3 million." (Source: U.S. Census
-- "In 2000, 11.9 million U.S. residents lived in linguistically isolated households,
meaning that no one in the household spoke English at home or spoke English 'very
well.'" (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
-- "Immigrants who speak English 'not well' or 'not at all'
have median weekly earnings approximately 57 percent of those of U.S. born workers."
-- "Poverty and the need for public benefits, such as food stamps, are more
closely related to limited English proficiency than with citizenship or legal status."
-- "The Canadian Government spends $260 million annually to do government business
in both of the nation's official languages."
-- "The cost of multilingual ballots and translations represented one-eighth
of Los Angeles County's $16 million expense in the Nov. 2004 general election."
-- "The City of San Francisco must spend $350,000 for each language that a
document is translated into under the city's bilingual government ordinance."
-- "79 percent of Americans, and 81 percent of first and second generation
Americans favor making English the official language of the United States."
-- "Air Canada spends more than $9,265,000 per year conforming to Canada's
bilingual requirements, requiring the airline to generate an additional $185,000,000
in additional sales to cover these costs."
Trying to accommodate all cultural groups costs big bucks. For example, the National
Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences reported in 1997, "More
than $100 million have been spent in the last 30 years to assess the value of bilingual
education. The study concluded: (1) There is no evidence that a program of native
language instruction has greater benefits than any other type of education program,
and (2) Teaching children to read in English first, instead of in their native tongue,
has no negative consequences." The federal government was already spending
$665 million a year on bilingual programs at the time.
President Theodore Roosevelt addressed this issue in 1907 when he said, "In
the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith
becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact
equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such
man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the
person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There
can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something
else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American
flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...
and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American
"The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey reveals that 83% of
likely voters place a higher priority on encouraging immigrants to speak English
as their primary language." ("English-First Still Favored By Most Americans,"
Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2008).
So, what is the "English Only" movement all about? Quite simply, it's
about making English the official language of the United States. A bill to accomplish
this (H.R. 997) was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2007, and U.S.
English, Inc. reports that it is supported by more than 80%of all Americans and
almost two-thirds of Hispanics, according to polls taken in 2006.
Thirty states already have some sort of English only law and, to my knowledge, it
hasn't had any significant negative impacts in any of them.
"The English Language Unity Act of 2007 would require the United States government
to conduct official business in English," while still retaining the flexibility
to permit or require that other languages be used to protect public health and safety,
national security, or for the needs of commerce and the criminal justice system.
I'm all for it.