Georgia’s H.B. 72 and the Pak Amendment (2011)
Georgia’s H.B. 72 and the Pak Amendment
“This multicultural approach has failed, utterly failed.”
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, October 17, 2010
During the 2011 state legislative session in Georgia, ProEnglish supported a bill, H.B. 72, that would have:
- Required that driver’s license examinations are given in no languages other than English.
- Required that all permanent residents take their written driver’s license tests in English.
- Applied only to those here on temporary visas for a combined period of 10 years in Georgia.
- Honored driver’s licenses of international business executives, tourists, and foreign students.
Even though English has been the official language of Georgia since 1996, the Georgia DMV still allows driver’s license written exams to be taken in 13 languages other than English—including Arabic, Bosnian, Cambodian, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese—despite the fact that all road signs are written exclusively in English.
Despite overwhelming public support for the bill in Georgia, February 9, 2011, State Rep. BJ Pak (R-Lilburn-102nd) fell prey to the multiculturalists’ demands and offered an amendment toHB 72 on the Georgia state House floor, which passed by a vote of 88 to 78, and effectively rendered the original bill meaningless.
The Pak Amendment stated:
“(e) Not later than January 1, 2012, all written and oral examinations required pursuant to this Code section shall include not fewer than five examination questions which necessitate an ability to read warning signs in English that are more than three words long, including but not limited to, warning signs reading, ‘use caution hazardous conditions ahead,’ or similar warnings and signs that provide alert information regarding criminal abductions.”
What was wrong with the Pak Amendment?
- Maintains the confusing and dangerous foreign language driver’s license exams currently in place in GA (currently in 14 languages).
- Preserves the loophole in Georgia’s longstanding official English law (adopted 1996).
- Adds a single requirement that at least 5 additional English language road signs that contain more than three words to be included in the written and oral driver’s exams.
- Invalidates the meaning, intent and overall effect of the original legislation (HB 72) and imposes a guise of requiring increased English-language proficiency to pass a GA driver’s license test.
The Pak Amendment maintained the status quo in Georgia of fostering immigrant isolation. Non-English-speaking or limited proficient immigrant groups (or non-proficient native-born Americans) are harmed when the learning of English is delayed, but the Pak amendment ensures that incentives to learn English remain removed. Policies like the Pak Amendment keep immigrants dependent on taxpayer-funded, state-run multilingual services in order to carry out their day-to-day activities, i.e. driving a car.
Those opposed to HB 72 worked hard to defeat this bill with their decades-long misinformation campaign.
- A common tactic used by the opposition to intimidate and threaten voting legislators is to claim that limiting driver’s license exams to only one language, English, violates existing federal law and therefore jeopardizes all federal funds received by the Georgia Department of Safety. This claim, which is routinely made by multiculturalists and opponents of official English laws in every state or locality where such laws are proposed, is FALSE.
- When Congress debated and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, language (or the impact of English fluency) was never discussed or included in the meaning of “national origin” discrimination, and rightfully so. The law simply states: “Sec. 601. No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
- It is self-evident that a person can choose to learn a new language, but they can never change their national origin, and as we all know, a person’s inability to speak English does not always mean that person was not born in the United States. The courts have regularly upheld that national origin and language are not the same and cannot be treated as if they are. Except for narrow requirements in education, the Supreme Court inSandoval v. Alexander (2001) rejected attempts to equate the failure to provide services in languages other than English with national origin discrimination.
How will the Georgia state legislature undo the damage from the Pak Amendment?
SUPPORT STRIPPING THE PAK AMENDMENT FROM HB 72
AND VOTE “YES’’ ON PASSING THE BILL AS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
Update 4/4/2011: The Georgia state session for 2011 has come to an end without HB 72 becoming law. ProEnglish will work diligently in 2012 to see that this much-needed bill reaches the Governor’s desk.
“If you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community.
And if you don’t want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France.”
Nicolas Sarkozy, French President, February 10, 2011