Rep. Steve King Hits Lack of English Proficiency

Rep. Steve King Hits Lack of English Proficiency

April 30, 2009
Contact: Phil Kent
Phone: (404) 257-0542

ARLINGTON, Va.—“We are delighted Congressman Steve King, R-Iowa, is speaking at the National Press Club today and unveiling a new Lexington Institute study on the value of English proficiency in the United States,” says K.C. McAlpin, executive director of ProEnglish. The Arlington, Va.-based organization advocates making English the official language of the United States.

“We were astounded to learn the U.S. loses $65 billion annually in wages and income due to the lack of English skills among immigrant workers in our nation’s workforce,” McAlpin says. “

The Congressman cites the study, which draws on Census data and existing research, to comment on its implication for what needs to be done at the policy level. King is the author of the English Language Unity Act, H.R. 997, a bill designating English as the official language of government in the United States.

“President Obama says investing in the skilled workforce America needs for the 21st century should be a priority. The Lexington Institute study shows that one sure way to accomplish that goal would be to expand access English as a second language classes for adults and scrap the failed experiment known as bilingual education in our public schools,” McAlpin says.

“The Obama Administration also should stop removing incentives for immigrants to learn English by mandating multilingual government services through bureaucratic rule-making and heavy-handed threats. Earlier this month for instance the U.S. Department of Justice threatened to sue Oklahoma if the state passed legislation making English its official language and failed to offer multilingual services as a consequence,” McAlpin adds.

Joining Congressman King at today’s National Press Club event is the author of the report, researcher Don Soifer, who is the executive vice president of the Lexington Institute.