Hampshire (Illinois) makes English official language!

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Sat Apr 21 10:45:11 UTC 2007

Hampshire, IL adopts English as official language

 By Theresa Gutierrez

April 20, 2007 - Illinois is one of 29 states with English as the official
language. Now Hampshire is the first municipality to adopt English as the
official language. Hampshire is a small town located northwest of Elgin
and 60 miles from Chicago. It is a quaint town reminiscent of another era
-- a barber shop, not a salon, freight trains, not commuter trains. That
is all about to change. With that in mind, the village trustees voted
unanimously on a resolution declaring English the official language. The
village president signed and approved a resolution this morning.  "There
is documentation in the board minutes, agendas, resolutions, and
ordinances will only be provided in English. If it is something for
safety, public health, emergency situations. They will be provided in the
languages needed," said village president Jeff Mangussen.

The American Civil Liberties union calls it bad policy. "If the people of
Hampshire or anywhere else are concerned about assuring that people are
English proficient, then they ought to make classes available. They ought
to make training available and education available that helps people move
more quickly and more rampantly to English predominance," said Ed Yohnka
of the ACLU. The village doesn't have any classes being offered. The
town's population is over 4,000 and is expected to triple in the next five
years because of all the construction that is taking place.

"Just to protect the village in the future, that if the need arises, the
village has an official resolution that we're not going to do that to save
taxpayer dollars." "This resolution doesn't seem to bother me. It is just
for village purposes, because the time of putting it into a different
language, whether it be German, Japanese, Spanish or something else is too
much,"  said Village Clerk Linda Vasquez. The village president says the
resolution does not negatively impact diversity, but rather the cost of
those limits.



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[N.B. note from moderator: When I was a high-school student in Elmhurst,
IL in the 1950's, the official language of Illinois was the *American*
language.  Guess they changed it at some point... (HS)]

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