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English - the American Language

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Submitted By acasler
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Press 1 for English…. Press 2 for Spanish…
Why English Should Be Declared the Official Language of the Unites States of America

Declaring English as the official language of the United States is a very controversial issue. We have one flag, one government, however no official language. Making English the official language would unite all Americans, no matter the race, creed, culture, heritage or ancestry. In 1907, US President Theodore Roosevelt wrote, “We have room for but one language in this country, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationally and not dwellers in a polyglot boarding house” (English-only movement/Wikipedia). There were as many as twenty different languages that could be heard around the time of our founding fathers. Today, there are presently three hundred twenty nine languages in the United States (US Census 2010). Immigrants of many nationalities have built our nation. Just look our nations motto, E pluribus Unum, (Latin meaning – out of many, one) which was adapted by the committee of Congress on July 4, 1776 to design “a seal for the United States of America”, which is carried by the American eagle. The nation has but one flag which we “pledge our allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” (MacAuthur). However, 236 years later the United State still has no official language.

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Multilingualism is costing our country billions of wasted dollars every year and further dividing this nation. We only have to look north to see why a multilingual society brings about severe problems. Battles over language rage across the globe, but Canada offers the most instructive warning for the United States. “Canada’s policy of official multilingualism has proven to be costly and has led to disunity and resentment. Canada has one-tenth the population of the U.S. and has spent $260 million per year on accommodating just two languages” (Mujica). Depending on the exact number of languages accommodated of the total 329 in the U.S., the price tag would be upwards of $10 billion per year (Mujica). Currently, there is no official federal law making English the official language of the United States. Thirty-three states in the U.S. have passed legislation making English their official state language, but that is where it has stopped. The U.S. Senate voted on two separate changes to an immigration bill in May 2006. The amended bill recognized English as “a common and unifying language” and gave contradictory instructions to government agencies on their obligations for non-English publications. The bill was buried. In 2007, the U.S. senate again voted on the amendments. The bill again was not passed (English only movement). There is an executive order in place that in no way supports making English the official language. On August 11, 2000, President William J. Clinton signed Executive Order 13166 into law. With that act, the federal government officially became multilingual because it requires any entity receiving federal monies to provide services in any language. This most specifically impacts private physicians, clinics and hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid.
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The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reported that forcing physicians to provide multilingual outpatient services have cost an additional $180.8 million; hospitals $78.2; emergency room services $8.6 million. “In total, it costs our government provided healthcare an additional $276.6 million annually” (U.S. English, Inc.). Shouldn’t our nation’s healthcare providers practice medicine, not new languages? As of February 12, 2012, our national debt is $15,366,648,044,610.00 (U.S. National Debt Clock). I think the wasteful spending of $276.6 million annually would be better spent knocking down this debt.
Examples of this wasteful spending is a current situation my family is encountering. My father will be turning 65 in May, so he will be eligible for Medicare. Our mailbox is filled daily with information and booklets regarding his choices. I don’t have a problem with keeping him informed and making the right decision. However, what I have a problem with is that more than half of the information received is published in both English and Spanish. In fact, three of the pamphlets received were only delivered in Spanish. Are you kidding me? Not only has this company wasted paper and postage, they have wasted our time.
“Historically, our nation was forged out of millions of immigrants from all over the world who assimilated into our country and proudly learned English so they could melt into our culture as quickly as possible” (Gilleland). In 1927, my own grandfather at the age of 12, with his parents and three siblings came to this country from Italy to make a new life for themselves. They arrived at Ellis Island to a new country, a new dream. Their native language was Italian but they settled here and adapted by learning English. Did they lose their heritage or stop

Casler -4- speaking Italian? No. To this day, my family still practices traditions set forth by my grandfather’s family. However, my family are Americans through and through. Statistically, through extensive research, immigrants who learn and use English, raise their income levels by about thirty percent. “In 1999, the average employed immigrant who spoke and understood English well earned $40,741, more than double the $16,345 earned by immigrants who did not speak English well” (Immigrants who want English as the Official Language).
This does not mean in any terms that an immigrant or an American can’t keep their traditions, customs, food or heritage. This does not mean they cannot communicate in their native tongue in their own homes with their families. What this means is that immigrants in the United States must learn English to prevent the creation of a permanent economic and social underclass (US English, Inc.). Without knowledge of English, immigrants will never gain the advantages available to them in the U.S. It should not be the responsibility of the government to provide services in any other language except English. Each individual needs to do that themselves.
The government makes it too easy for immigrants and current Americans to function in their native languages through bilingual education, multilingual ballots, driver license exams and government funded translators and forms. “Providing essential services to immigrants in their native language is very expensive for the American taxpayers and keeps immigrants linguistically isolated” (Mujica). This is also supported by the 2010 Census. There is a rapidly growing population of people, often native born who are not proficient in English and who have chosen not to even learn the language (US Census 2010).
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Pro English, Inc. is a self-governing project of US, Inc. They are an American, non-profit lobbying organization currently engaged in promoting English as the sole language of the United States. According to one of their reports, immigrants that learn and communicate English empowers them (Pro English, Inc.). “By more than a 2 to 1 margin, immigrants themselves say the U.S. should expect all immigrants, new and old, to learn English. By a 9 to 1 margin, Hispanic immigrants believe learning English is essential to succeed in the U.S.” (Pro English, Inc.). Basically what I am saying is, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Show him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime” (Ritchie).
Another area of the nation’s problem of not having a unified language is Education. For example, according to the Phyllis Schlafly Report, “the billion dollar boondoggle called bilingual education has always been a fraud because, contrary to the term bilingual, it doesn’t teach two languages; instead it keeps immigrant children languishing in Spanish speaking classes for six years or more” (Schlafly). Lessons and exams are being given in Spanish; therefore these children are not being given the opportunity or incentive to excel in English. In 2007, California and Arizona decisively rejected bilingual education and test scores indicated that children progressed faster and excelled in these schools after they started immersing students in English only lessons at an early age (Gilleland).
Bilingual education alone is estimated to cost taxpayers billions of dollars per year. “The federal government has spent over $100 million to study the effectiveness of bilingual education, only to discover that it is less effective providing bilingual classes and bilingual teachers then English immersion programs are” (Mujica). In other words, education should be taught and learned in English. Does this mean our education system needs to do away with teaching other
Casler -6- languages? Absolutely not; just keep these classes as electives – not the majority of how everyday lessons are taught.
According to the 2002 World Almanac, ninety-two percent of the world’s countries have at least one official language. English is the sole official language in thirty-one nations. An additional twenty nations recognize English as one of two or more official languages (U.S. English, Inc.). In June of 2003, the PEW Research Center announced the results of an extensive survey on global trends, such as the spread of democracy, globalization and technology. According to the survey titled, Views of a Changing World, “many nations showed almost unanimous agreement on the importance of learning English” (Hakimzadeh).
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). Globally, countries agree on making one language official. Immigrants agree on making English the official language. I agree and support making English our national language of the United States. Do I believe that we should go as far as prohibiting others from speaking their native languages? No I don’t, far from it. The United States does not share one common heritage because the nation is a melting pot of many, however we do share a common future. That future should be one common language, English!
We are a democratic nation. Let the people of the United States vote on this debate. Not the elected officials, not the democratic or republican parties, not the Senate, not Congress. Let the American people vote that English is the official American language. Majority wins and the nation can be united once and for all.

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Works Cited

“2010 Census Data – 2010 Census”. US Census Bureau. www.2010census.gov/2010censusdata. Modified June 2011.

“English-Only Movement”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., www.en.wikipedia.org/English-only_movement.com. Modified January 31, 2012.

“Executive Order 13166”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., www.en.wikipedia.org/executive_order_13166. Modified February 28, 2011.

Gilleland, Donald L. “English should be the US National Language, Let’s finally make it
Official”. Scripps Newspaper Group. www.tcpalm.com. February 6, 2012.

Hakimzadeh, Shirin. “Hispanics in the United States”. Pew Research Center. www.pewresearch.com. November 29, 2007.

MacAuthur, John. D. “E Pluribus Unum”. Great Seal. www.greatseal.com. November 28,
2011.

Mujica, Mauro. “Why the U.S. needs an official language”. US English, Inc. http://www.worldandi.com. December 2003.

“Official English: Facts & Figures”. U.S. English, Inc. http://us-english.org

“Official English, Fact Sheets: Cost of Multilingualism”. Making English the Official
Language. US English, Inc. http://us-english.org.

“Overview of Executive Order 13166”. Limited English Proficiency, A Federal Interagency. http://www.lep.gov. “Pro-English”. Pro-English, Inc. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/proenglish.com. Modified January 4, 2012.

Ritchie, Anne. “Give a man a fish….” The Phrasefinder. www.thephrasefinder.org. 1890

Schiafly, Phyllis. “Americans Want English as our Official Language”. Eagle Forum. http://www.eagleforum.org. June 20, 2007.

“Should English be the Official Language of the U.S”. Opposing Views, Inc. www.opposingviews.com, 2008-2012,

“U.S. National Debt Clock: Real Time”. www.usdebtclock.org. February 18, 2012.…...

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