Essay on Should English Be the Official Language of the United States
2657 WordsAug 26th, 201211 Pages
Should English be the Official Language of the United States
April 30, 2012
Should English be the Official Language of the United States The debate on whether the United States should make English the official language has been raging within the borders of the country for decades. Several bills have been presented to Congress over the years, but have stagnated due to the opposition on either side. Though there would certainly be drawbacks to introducing English as the official language of the United States, there would also be immeasurable benefit. Not only would an official language streamline government processes and reduce government spending, it would also aid the United States by unifying its’ people.…show more content…
English, 1995). The federal government also spends millions of dollars funding the Immigration and Naturalization Services’ which is currently required to translate the citizenship test into multiple languages. In all, U.S. taxpayers shell out $13 billion a year funding a multi-lingual government (U.S. English, 1995).
The laws currently in the books are even being used to squeeze more money out of the government and businesses. Executive Order 13166, which was signed by President Clinton and later enforced by President Bush, requires all federal agencies and recipients of federal funds to provide translation services for non-English speakers. This requirement is at the American tax payer’s expense. An Iranian immigrant in Oklahoma recently used the Executive Order as grounds for complaint asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to investigate the state because it failed to give the driver’s license exam in Farsi (McAlpin, 2008). The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the argument citing an individual may not sue for foreign-language services by charging discrimination under the “nation origin” category of the Civil Rights Act.
Even the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Health and Human Services (HHS) are rallying support for those citizens who do not currently speak English well or at all. The EEOC is fighting
Theodore Roosevelt once stated, “The ultimate way to bring this nation to ruin, or preventing all possibility of it continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities. We have but one flag; we must also learn one language, and that language is English” (Roosevelt). Indeed, in the United States, English should be the official language because we need a strong central language to unite all citizens, and it will help immigrants connect and succeed in America.
Throughout our history people from nations all over the world have come to America to make it their home, bringing with them their own languages. However, in order to become an U.S. citizen, immigrants should be required to have a good understanding of the English language, at the very least, enough knowledge of it to be on a solid communication level. James M. Inhofe, U.S. Senator from Oklahoma, is very passionate about this cause. Inhofe had this to say in a speech statement on August 3rd 2006: “A nation certain of its language and culture can continue to be a welcoming nation to legal immigrants. A nation with uncontrolled borders and no convictions about what it expects immigrants to do once they arrive will soon become a nation in name only” (Inhofe). Senator Inhofe also has a pole on his website. On this pole viewers are asked to vote on whether or not they think English should be the official language of the United States. An astounding 89% are in favor with only 12% in disagreement. English is the most commonly used language in the States, and making it the official language would aid and benefit immigrants in their education, business, and social networks, as it is the central language for success here in the states (Inhofe). “English is the language of business, higher education, diplomacy, aviation, the Internet, science, popular music, entertainment, and international travel. All signs point to its continued acceptance across the planet” (Mujica).
Understanding that America is a very good place to live, a land of many opportunities and freedoms, and why foreigners would want to come and live here, they should be willing to learn our language, English, in return. The late Senator S.I. Hayakawa writes in his essay in The Power of Language, The Language of Power, “English unites us as American-immigrants and native born alike. Communicating with each other in a single, common tongue encourages trust, while reducing racial hostility and bigotry” (Hayakawa 129). As an immigrant himself, he understands the importance of learning and keeping English in the States. U.S. ENGLISH, Inc, a website for the public interest group founded by Hayakawa, states about their group that “U.S.ENGLISH believes that the passage of English as the official language will help to expand opportunities for immigrants to learn and speak English, the single greatest empowering tool that immigrants must have to succeed” (“Making English”).
If we did not have a central government to rule and protect the people, it would lead to a disunited states. Likewise not having a central language to unite the people and government together, would also lead to devastating and disunited chaos for our country and our futures! “Declaring English to be our official language would bring back the incentive to learn it. Specifically, this step would require that all laws, public proceedings, regulations, publications, orders, actions, programs, and policies are conducted in the English language” (Mujica). Everyone would then learn English, and we could all communicate and learn more efficiently with and from each other. No longer would there be a need to print in more than one language–which could lead to lower manufacturing and commercial costs, on top of the other social and political benefits.
All that is written here is not meant to suggest that English has to be the only language spoken in the United States, only that all means of government, laws, advertising, programs and public affairs, etc be handled in English. “Official English laws are not directed at the language people themselves choose to speak but, rather, in what language the Government speaks to the American people” (Inhofe). Each and everyone has and should have the right to speak their native tongue in their own homes in order to continue their heritage and beliefs.
The need has never been greater or the time better to take a stand and make English the official and professional language of the great United States Of America! Let us all unite and work towards progressing and championing for this cause!