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Which Side Do I Take On The English Only Issues?

1075 words - 4 pages

When the United States of America was established, the leaders during that time never passed a law indicating a specific national language for the new country. Born from European immigrants, many European languages were spoken across the nation but English was the un-official universal language used to communicate between the different groups of people. Today immigrants are now settling in the United States whose origins span from all around the world. Even though the majority of America’s known population speaks English as their first language, there are many other growing communities that speak other languages like Arabic, Mandarin, and Spanish as their first language. Within these communities exists a growing communication problem in that they have an inability to communicate effectively in the un-official language of English (although since the middle of the 19th century, more than half of the states in the US have declared English as their official language) and it is making it hard for these communities to thrive and function well within America’s society.
Looking at the many reasons as to why people in other nations choose to immigrate into the United States (wars, famines, religious persecution, disease, etc…), I understand that the hope of freedom to live a better life when they get to America is their number one priority. The language barrier is usually among the least of their concerns. Yet once here, the immigrants quickly realize that it is of great importance in different areas of their life, especially in the areas of employment and education. Over the years, communities of settling foreigners have gone to court in order to fight for rights that would help them adapt better to their new American way of life. Bills like The Bilingual Education Act of 1968 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were historic victories towards supporting the non-English speaking communities. These actions, along with many others, caused longer established English speaking American citizen’s to feel as if they needed to rise up against bi-lingual legislations in order to promote the un-official position that the United States of America is an English-only speaking country. English-only speaking American Citizen’s seek to pass English-only legislation by proposing bills like the National Language Act of 1995 and the Declaration of Official Language Act of 1995.
According to West's Encyclopedia of American Law (2008), “English-only laws apply primarily to government programs.” These programs include health care, educational institutes, social services, the judicial courts, voting ballots, etc… These programs are necessities to America’s way of life and some serve as crucial support systems for current foreign immigrants. Therefore it is only logical to understand how important it is for non-English speaking foreigners to make demands that these government programs should provide communication which they can understand and benefit...

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