The next part in our series… English Only Laws. Compiled by Texas superstar Greisa (Texas A & M, College Station).
English-only ordinances are a bad solution to a problem that does not exist. Government business is already almost exclusively done in English.
English Only advocates complain bitterly about expenditures to translate federal documents into other languages. But the U.S. General Accounting Office investigated the practice and could find only 265 such documents over a five-year period, out of 400,000 titles produced by the Government Printing Office between 1990 and 1994.(1)That is, 99.94 percent of the publications were printed in English. GAO, “Federal Foreign Language Documents,” D-95-253R (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1995).
English-only ordinances would place the health and safety of all Americans at risk. Federal agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are critical in the case of a natural disaster like Katrina (1), an Avian Flu pandemic, or an act of terrorism. If LEP persons do not understand instructions or written information from FEMA or the CDC, all Americans will be negatively impacted. In the Eye Of The Storm: How the Government and Private Response to Hurricane Katrina Failed Latinos:, NCLR
Our immigrant community understands that English-language acquisition is important. English-only ordinances do nothing to/would not increase the use of the English language. Immigrant adults want to learn English but have few opportunities to do so. All over the country, English language learners face long waiting lists for adult ESL classes. “The ESL Logjam” NALEO Educational Fund, Oct. 06’
English-only laws are a violation of our fundamental civil rights.
Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act along with Executive Order 13166 determines that any local government department receiving federal funds must provide its services in multiple languages, because the law says we cannot discriminate against individuals based on national origin. Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.,Sec. 42.104