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U.S.English Chairman Declares Pennsylvania Spanish Language Bill Exclusionary

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwired) -- 03/10/14 -- U.S.English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica today released the following statement in opposition to two bills in the Pennsylvania General Assembly that would declare Spanish the official language of the Keystone State and the United States.

Introduced by State Rep. Angel Cruz, House Resolution 665 would urge Congress to declare Spanish the official language of the United States. It would also urge Congress to require that all federal government acts occur in Spanish. Rep. Cruz introduced a similar bill, House Resolution 666, which would declare Spanish the official language of Pennsylvania.

Upon the introduction of these bills, Chairman Mujica explained:

"With 152 languages spoken in Pennsylvania, declaring Spanish the official language of the state would exclude all residents except the less than 4 percent who speak Spanish," Chairman Mujica said. "Pennsylvania is one of just 19 states that do not currently recognize English as the official language. Rather than honor one language group or heritage above another, Pennsylvania legislators should recognize the value of English as the state's common, unifying language.

"Furthermore, close to 500,000 Pennsylvania residents are considered limited English proficient, meaning they would struggle to carry on more than a basic conversation in English. Spanish speakers -- and all foreign language speakers -- should be free to speak the language of their choosing in their daily lives. But the government should set a standard that will unite all residents in their diversity, with English at its core. English speakers are more likely to have health insurance and are more likely to have better, higher paying jobs. Not to mention, proficiency in America's common language breaks down the walls of isolation and allows all residents to communicate, opening the doors to success and a life without language barriers.

"Declaring Spanish the official language of Pennsylvania would be offensive to speakers of the 151 other languages spoken in the state. Recognizing an official language, however, should not be an unwelcoming gesture toward any ethnic or language speaking group. Rather, declaring an official language should be an attempt at creating a cohesive and unified way for residents to communicate despite their differences. Rather than spending time on such legislation, I encourage the Pennsylvania General Assembly to instead honor the tradition of American culture through a common language that unites all people -- English."

Both pieces of legislation have been referred to the Pennsylvania House Committee on State Government for further consideration.

U.S.English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non-partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S.English, Inc. (www.usenglish.org) now has more than 1.8 million members.

CONTACT:
KARIN DAVENPORT
(202) 833-0100


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