WASHINGTON—In an effort to unite Americans under one common language, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) introduced a Constitutional Amendment that would declare English the official language of the United States. Reversing the recent trend of divisive and costly multilingualism, H.J. Res. 43 would ensure that government business is conducted in English, providing a common ground for communication and understanding.
A Constitutional Amendment to make English the official language was first proposed in 1981 by Senator S.I. Hayakawa, who later founded U.S. English. Since that time, more than 550 Members of Congress have either co-sponsored or voted for official English legislation, including 89 co-sponsors of H.R. 997, the English Language Unity Act of 2005, in the 109th Congress. That measure, introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is currently pending in two House committees.
“We congratulate Rep. Tancredo for emphasizing English, the unifying factor of our diverse nation,” said Mauro E. Mujica, chairman of U.S. English. “Through the Constitutional Amendment, we are focusing on our strengths, rather than allowing our nation to divide along linguistic lines. Senator Hayakawa’s goal of keeping our nation united is in good hands.”
According to the U.S. Census, 322 languages are spoken at home in the United States. Statistics reveal that more than 21 million, or 1-in-12 Americans, struggle with English. “Coming to the United States is a dream for many immigrants, but English proficiency is the key to achieving that dream.,” explained Mujica. “Immigrants who can speak English earn two-and-a-half times what non-English proficient immigrants earn. This is a significant gap that legislators ignore at their peril.”