March 11, 2011
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Presented by ProEnglish
ARLINGTON, VA.— ProEnglish, the nation’s leading advocate for English as the official language of government, commends Congressman Steve King of Iowa and Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma for reintroducing the English Language Unity Act (H.R. 997 / S. 503) this week. Rep. King introduced his bill on March 10th with 60 original cosponsors, which is almost double the number of original supporters in the past Congress. If passed and signed into law, H.R. 997/S. 503 will make English the official language of the United States, require the establishment of a uniform language requirement for naturalization, and set the framework for uniform testing of English language ability for candidates for naturalization.
“ProEnglish believes that legally recognizing and encouraging English as our common, unifying language is good national policy,” said ProEnglish Executive Director Jayne Cannava. “English is the language of every founding American document, and studies continue to prove that those who know English get better jobs, earn more money over a lifetime, are more successful in school, and receive better health care than those who cannot speak the language. Encouraging English proficiency quite simply decreases reliance on the federal government.”
In a recent survey conducted by the Rasmussen Group in 2010, 84 percent of likely voters expressed their support for making English the official language of the United States. Other polls taken on a state-by-state basis have indicated a similar threshold of support and thirty-one states have now adopted English as their official language because Congress has failed to act. The latest state to do so was Oklahoma, which voted by a margin of 76% on the November 2010 ballot to amend the state constitution and make English its official language.
“There is also no doubt that H.R. 997/S. 503 would help to decrease the severely bloated federal budget, narrow the annual deficit, and remove an unjust burden off the backs of taxpayers,” said Cannava. “Simply put, the financial burden to subsidize immigrants and non-English-speaking Americans to avoid learning English should not fall on American taxpayers.”
Canada, a country with roughly one-tenth the population size of the U.S., spends about $1 billion annually to provide multilingual documents as well as translation and interpreter services needed to conduct its government business in just two languages. In the U.S., over 300 languages are spoken.
“The American people want to see the new Congress pushing popularly supported, common-sense legislation that has been neglected in recent years,” concluded Cannava. “The time has come for Congress to restore much-needed cultural unity in our nation and to pass the English Language Unity Act.”