Congressman Doug Collins (GA-09)
Imagine that every member of your family or workplace spoke a different language. If scheduling, completing projects, and general communication isn’t already enough of a challenge in your household or at your job, I’m sure you agree that the level of difficulty would reach a whole new level if no one understood anyone else.
If this basic principle is true in the home and workplace, consider how vital it is on a large scale, when millions of people from vastly diverse backgrounds strive to be part of one great nation.
Generations of immigrants to the United States have gladly accepted the considerable challenge of learning English. While some continued speaking their native tongue at home, immigrants accepted English as the common language in their new land. English was necessary for conducting business, government and conversation with neighbors. Despite this basic understanding, English was never established as the official language of the United States.
Recently, the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials threatened Hall and Gwinnett counties with a lawsuit in order to intimidate these jurisdictions to provide Spanish-language ballots, voter guides, poll workers and website information for future elections. While these counties are home to naturalized citizens whose first language is Spanish, these folks had to demonstrate some proficiency in English before receiving citizenship.
If there is any day for the American people to be united, it should be the day we make our voices heard at the ballot box. But making English the official language of the United States isn’t only a matter of national unity. It would also save our budget-impaired federal government money. Each year, thousands of dollars are spent on the duplicative publication of materials in multiple languages, even if they are rarely used.
This waste of taxpayer dollars makes no sense. That’s why I’m a proud cosponsor of the English Language Unity Act (H.R. 997), which would make English the official language of our nation for the first time in our history. In addition to requiring all official functions of the United States government to be conducted in English, this legislation establishes a uniform language requirement for naturalization.
Millions of immigrants, past and present, have shown great courage and determination in their efforts to master the English language. As America continues opening its doors to the best and brightest around the world, we should honor the centuries-old example of our nation of immigrants uniting around English by making it the official language of the United States.