"We have one language here and that is the English language." - Theodore Roosevelt
Arizona Proposition 103, which will appear on the ballot on November 7, 2006, would make English the official language of Arizona.
What this means is that the current waste being expended on providing documents and other government business in multiple languages would be ended. The burden would be put onto those who do not speak English to provide for their own translation services if they either don't know English or refuse to learn it.
I am 100% positively for this Proposition and those like it. I have no idea why the taxpayers should carry the burden of providing translation services. If you are a non-English speaker take some personal responsibility and provide your own translation services. If you are one of those bleeding hearts who think this is some form of humanitarian concern, form your own non-profit providing these services free of charge. Don't make taxpayers who don't believe as you do foot the bill for your cause.
While arguments against declaring English as the official language in the United States seem to fall along the lines of welcoming those of differing cultures into our country, what it really has come down to is allowing those who come here to not have to assimilate into America. This is not good for America.
Proposition 103 is strictly on government and does not affect private business and other services.
Here's what those opposed to Proposition 103 have to say.
All examples are from the Arizona Secretary of State Website (I've bolded portions)
The United States was founded on the principle that by granting people freedom and opportunity, they will work hard to create a better life for themselves and their families. I know Arizonans still value this principle and that is why they will see the following flaws in Proposition 103: That we need to help people learn English, not grandstand, and That Proposition 103 undermines core constitutional First Amendment protections. ... However, at this same election, the legislature hypocritically also asks you to vote on another measure (Proposition 300), which restricts the ability of adults to take classes to learn English. We must oppose efforts to make English the official language when we refuse to help people learn the language.
The Supreme Court said that declaring English as the state's official language deprives people of their fundamental First Amendment rights to access government and deprives government officials of their rights to free speech.
- State Rep. Steve Gallardo, District 13, Phoenix
Let me address the Proposition 300 issue first. Proposition 300 restricts taxpayer funded English classes. The taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for someone to learn another language. I once again state that if you want to help people learn another language set up a business - either for profit or non profit - to provide this service. Taxpayers should not have to fund these classes. If you want to learn English and fit in do so at your own expense. If you want to remain outside of the rest of this country, yet live here, then accept the burdens that are placed on you. It's all about personal responsibility.
As for the First amendment right to free speech and access to government, there is no such restriction imposed. Government officials are still allowed to communicate in an "unofficial capacity" in other languages, but all official documented business must be done in English. Where does this restrict their free speech rights? Next thing you know someone will be doing official business in Klingon. That's actually a good idea. Some politician out there should do up some official government business in Klingon just to show the absolutely ridiculous nature of the way business is currently done.
This bill in no way restricts access to government. Government will give you your request, it is simply up to you to properly interpret and submit requests in an acceptable manner. This is nothing new. There are tons of English documents that most Americans don't understand, such as complicated law documents when buying a house. Do Americans demand that government provide a translator for these documents because they don't understand them? No they hire an attorney and pay out of their own pocket. And yes, there are some non-profits out there who provide free law services to those who are poor and don't understand the documents. The same should apply to those who don't understand a government document.
The fact is that English classes in adult education programs are so full that they have to turn people away. Since there is not a rational basis to make English Arizona's "official" language, we are left to conclude that Proposition 103 is directed at Spanish speakers.
Representative Pearce and other legislators who support Proposition 103 have continuously blocked attempts to increase funding for English classes through Adult Basic Education, giving the lie to their stated concern for people learning English. Hate for a language or a people is not a basis for amending Arizona's Constitution.
Jorge Luis Garcia, State Senator, Chairman, Legislative Latino Caucus
Ben Miranda, State Representative, Chairman, Legislative Latino Caucus
Paid for by "Jorge Luis Garcia"
Back to hate. It's all about hate and racism with those opposed to this measure. It seems that anything pro-American is racist or hateful.
English classes are too full, so we must have the government do more, but those who support this oppose increasing taxpayer funding to these schools, they say. Sounds like a business opportunity to me. The main problem is that people taking these classes don't want to pay for the opportunity to learn English, they want others to pay for it for them. We should bend over backwards to give them opportunities.
Particularly with pro illegal immigration groups this is true. That government should increase funding so the illegal aliens can stay here more easily, not that the illegal aliens should not come here in the first place.
Rural Arizona has a deep history with other languages, from the Spanish spoken along the border to the Native Americans throughout the State to the small pockets of Basques whose ancestors first came here as shepherds. Faith-based organizations and other non-profit groups have a long tradition of overseas service and acculturation.
Some people say that Arizona should follow a business model, and business provides us with a great example here. Arizona companies routinely market their products in a variety of languages to an increasingly diverse population. No law requires (or prevents) a company from reaching out to language minorities - it is simply good business. So it should be with government...
Gary Restaino, Phoenix
This law does not affect the rural areas, the culture, general daily conversation or church groups, it's a straw man argument.
As for business, yes they market their stuff in multiple languages, but they don't expect the government and taxpayers to foot the bill for it.
We, the members of the Coalition for Latino Political Action hereby ask the voters of Arizona to vote no on Proposition 103, which would make English Arizona's "official language." We recognize that English is already the official language of our state and country and this proposition will do nothing to change any language policies,
Immigrants want to learn English and know that learning it would allow them to prosper in this great country. Let's instead work on increasing the infrastructure to allowing this to happen by appropriating more funding in schools for children to learn English and increasing the number of adult English classes.
Lydia Guzman, Chairman, Coalition for Latino Political Action, Glendale
Delia Torres, Co Chair, Coalition for Latino Political Action, Glendale
Paid for by "Lydia Guzman"
Translation: "Arizona taxpayers should give Latinos more money."
Those who have seen their immigrant parents or grandparents struggle to learn English understand that allowing them to communicate and interact with their government in their native language is not only humane, it is more efficient.
Michael J. Valder, President, Arizona Advocacy Network, Phoenix
Eric Ehst, Treasurer, Arizona Advocacy Network, Phoenix,
Paid for by "Arizona Advocacy Network"
Maybe the "Arizona Advocacy Network" should be spending its money on opening free English language classes rather than spending money on lobbying against ballot measures.
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Arizona Proposition 103 passed!