Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Anti-Immigration Group Applauds Oklahoma's English-Only Bill

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Anti-Immigration Group Applauds Oklahoma's English-Only Bill

Article excerpt

A Washington, D.C.-based organization, U.S. English, heralded the passage of Senate Bill 163 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives this week with a press statement on its main Web page. The organization has more than a passing interest in Oklahoma's legislation.

U.S. English is part of a network that shares goals of limiting immigration and ensuring U.S. residents speak English in their legal and business transactions. State Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, who introduced the current language of SB 163, said the bill was drafted with the help of U.S. English affiliate ProEnglish, based in Arlington, Va.

Though efforts to declare English the official language may put states and local governments in conflict with federal policies requiring them to make official documents available in other languages, U.S. English and its affiliates have seen a measure of success in a majority of states.

"S.B. 163 would make English the official language of Oklahoma, requiring the majority of state business to be conducted in English and minimizing the use of government multilingualism that may discourage assimilation," reads the posting at U.S. English's Web site. "The legislation is carefully drawn to comply with federal law and legal precedent, and leaves agencies the flexibility to address public health concerns, the needs of the justice system, and the rights of Native American tribes."

The chairman of U.S. English Inc., Mauro E. Mujica - who immigrated to the U.S. from Chile - thanked Terrill and state Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee, and the majority of state representatives for approving the legislation.

"In a state where residents speak more than 100 languages, government agencies should promote the common language of English, not separate groups along linguistic lines," said Mujica.

Oklahoma is one of a handful of states where U.S. English and its affiliates are working either to pass a new declaration of English as the official language or a measure to strengthen a past declaration. For instance, Colorado's lawmakers are currently considering a constitutional amendment also praised by U.S. English and similar to the one under consideration in Oklahoma. …

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