SOURCE: U.S.English

U.S.English

February 28, 2014 11:58 ET

U.S.English Chairman Condemns Illinois Bill Requiring Translators at Government Agencies

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Feb 28, 2014) - U.S.English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica today expressed great concern over a bill in the Illinois General Assembly that would require state agencies to provide foreign language interpreters and translations.

Senate Bill 3099, the Access to Governmental Services Act, was introduced by State Senator Martin Sandoval. It would require Illinois government agencies to provide a foreign language translator in counties where more than 5 percent of residents speak a language other than English. 

"In 1969, the State of Illinois recognized a statute declaring English the official language of the state," Chairman Mujica said. "Unfortunately, State Senator Sandoval and other government leaders are taking the wrong approach to assist the state's foreign language speakers. With 140 languages spoken in Illinois, providing translations in multiple languages will not only be costly to taxpayers; doing so will also be a headache for staff to manage. Furthermore, as measured by the Census, a percentage of those who speak a language other than English at home may also speak English, which would render government translations unnecessary for these language groups."

"Twenty-two percent of Illinois residents speak a language other than English at home, and close to 10 percent of them considered limited English proficient. Rather than providing the crutch of native language translations, the Illinois state government should instead focus on adding an incentive for these residents to learn English. Rather than paying for foreign language translators, the government could better serve its limited English speaking constituents by providing English language learning programs. In Illinois and across the United States, learning English is essential -- not optional -- for success. I urge Senator Sandoval and his colleagues to reconsider their approach and instead choose to arm Illinois residents with English proficiency," Chairman Mujica continued. 

SB 3099 has been referred to the State Government and Veterans Affairs Committee, where it is scheduled for a hearing on March 5.

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.

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