FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Phil Kent
June 11, 2012 Phone: (404) 226-3549
Arlington, VA — ProEnglish applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for passing an amendment that stops taxpayer dollars from funding unlimited translation services at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The agency was required to provide written and oral interpretation services in any language requested by the public under a Clinton-era executive order (EO 13166).
The amendment offered by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) passed by a bipartisan vote of 224 to 189 last Thursday (Roll Call 362). Rep. Steve King stated: “We got along fine without this executive order up until the year 2000, and we’ll get along fine without it after 2012.”
“The assimilation component doesn’t take place if you facilitate foreign language speaking within government,” Rep. King continued. “87 percent of Americans support this policy – the policy of English as the official language. There is nothing in it that prevents Justice or emergency services from using language services from taking care of the people.”
There is no federal reimbursement for enforcing this executive order and it covers tens of thousands of state and local government agencies as well as government contractors. It affects schools, libraries, hospitals, unemployment offices, fire and police departments, public health clinics, and countless private agencies that receive direct or indirect support from the federal government.
Rep. King offered this amendment on the heels of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent decision to implement a nationwide “language access plan” after an unnamed illegal alien filed a complaint with USDA. The illegal alien alleged that the U.S. Forest Service violated her “civil rights” by calling Border Patrol for back up and translation assistance when she was discovered to be without identification in a national forest.