Americ Ficial English Debate

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‘When in America’: The Official English Debate A classic aphorism that exemplifies the methodology behind the assimilation process is “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” While usually interpreted on a personal level, the phrase has immense bearing on the political debate over immigration. Immigration has changed in the past few decades. Many states experienced a numerical surge in immigration of over eighty-eight percent from 1990 to 2000. Additionally, immigrants are migrating in sizeable groups and forming cultural enclaves, segregating themselves from the rest of society and retaining their own language (Sox, 312-18). These enclaves pose a vital question: should immigrants ‘do as the Americans,’ and assimilate to the popular language of …show more content…

Proposed legislation is referred to as ‘English Plus’ rather than ‘English Only,’ placing no regulation on an individual’s right to speak their language, but merely eliminating government responsibility for supporting minority languages (“Does U.S. Need Official Language?”). The United States was founded on the principle of majority rule, minority right, yet our current legislation undermines majority rule (“Majority Rule, Minority Right”). Under English Plus legislation, individuals who choose not to learn English retain their rights as Americans, but lose the ability to bend the nation’s government to an underwhelming minority. The designation of English as our official language removes a major financial burden from the United States, both in the cost of translated documents and interpreting services. Current laws require federal documents and programs, including drivers examinations, voting ballots, public education classes, health care, welfare, court cases, and government statements to be made available in any language that crosses a numerical threshold, at a high cost to taxpayers (“Facts and Figures”). Although the cost of government-paid health care has been a heated topic of debate, the cost of patient interpretation services remains overlooked by the public. Yet, providing an English interpreter in hospitals exceeds the

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