On January 22nd, residents of Davidson County in Tennessee will vote on an English-only policy for Davidson County employees and officials.
Opponents of an English-only policy stand behind Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and that it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and First Amendment free-speech protections. They claim that this referendum would prohibit fire and police personnel from speaking to crime victims in any language other than English and translators would be forbidden in parent-teacher conferences and courtrooms. This is their scare tactic. They don't want Davidson County voters to know that exceptions will be made in regard to health, safety, and other key issues. What school would not want a parent to understand what they are trying to communicate regarding a child's education which ultimately affects our nation's future? It is a ridiculous argument by those against an English-only policy.
Opponents reach even further by arguing that American Sign Language is not English. They question if signers will be allowed to translate during public hearings and court proceedings. Sign language is not spoken, it is signed. It is used for communication for those with a disability and not for those who refuse to speak English. But what about non-English-speaking tourists? Will they not be able to report a crime or a fire? Once again, exceptions will be made in regard to health, safety, and other key issues.
Not enforcing an English-only stance, along with government benefits for illegal immigrants, employers looking for cheap labor with no apparent ethics or scruples, and sanctuary cities, in this country have contributed to our constant flow of illegal labor. U.S. citizens are required by law to speak, write, and understand English. Why isn't this being enforced? New Haven, CT; San Francisco; New York City; Washington D.C.; Los Angeles; Chicago; Salt Lake City; Portland, Maine; Santa Ana, CA; San Diego; Phoenix; Dallas; Baltimore; Miami; Detroit; Minneapolis; Jersey City; Houston; and Denver have ordinances banning city employees and police officers from asking people about their immigration status. Come on in! We make it easy for you to obtain employment and benefits without even proving you're a citizen!
To succeed in this country, you need to be fluent in English. Name one immigrant who didn't learn English that was or is successful here. When immigrants came through Ellis Island they wanted to assimilate through a common language. Why are we so against it today? Governments across the world conduct business in their native languages. If you choose to live in a foreign country, and you want to be successful you need to learn their language. You don't expect them to meet your first language needs.