King introduces bill to make English the official U.S. language

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Mar 7 01:06:10 UTC 2005

>>From the DesMoines Register

Published March 2, 2005

King introduces bill to make English the official U.S. language


Washington, D.C.  U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa embarked on a new push
Wednesday to establish English as the official language of the United
States, introducing a bill that's drawn the support of 57 other members of
Congress. The bill would require that the federal government conduct
business in English, with some exemptions. It would also mandate that
rules be developed to test the English language ability of immigrants who
want to become U.S. citizens.

King said in a printed statement that "English is the language of
opportunity in America," and learning English opens the doors to better
opportunities for immigrants. "The only way to fully learn about American
culture, and what makes America truly unique, is through our common bond
of the English language,"  he said. King, a former Iowa state senator, led
support of bill signed into law in 2002 by Gov. Tom Vilsack that made Iowa
the 27th state to adopt English as its official language.

Ben Stone, head of the Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union,
which opposed the bill in Iowa, said he believes the Iowa law has had
little impact because it had so many exemptions. "The law was written to
just be a law on paper," he said, and to boost national efforts to approve
English-language bills. King's bill brought praise from U.S. English Inc.,
a group that supports the establishment of English as the nation's
official language.

But Raul Gonzalez of National Council of La Raza, an advocacy group for
the Hispanic community, said King's bill is "a solution in search of a
problem" because a vast majority of people in the United States already
speak English.

Copyright  2004, The Des Moines Register.

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