SOURCE: U.S.English

U.S.English

October 10, 2011 15:36 ET

U.S.English Chairman Rebukes NY Gov. Cuomo, Calls Multilingual Mandate Wasteful

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Oct 10, 2011) - U.S.English CEO and Chairman of the Board Mauro E. Mujica today expressed stern criticism of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's multilingual translation mandate, calling it detrimental to immigrants.

Late last week, Gov. Cuomo issued an Executive Order requiring certain state agencies to offer free translation services in six languages -- Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Russian, French and French Creole. Among agencies that will offer multilingual services are the state's health department, prison system, welfare agencies and department of motor vehicles. This initiative is expected to cost New York's taxpayers $1.5 million in the midst of a projected $2 billion budget deficit.

"Governor Cuomo's multilingual mandate does nothing to improve the economic success of immigrants," Chairman Mujica said. "As a native Spanish speaker myself, when I immigrated to the United States from Chile, I learned firsthand what a necessity it was to be fluent in English in order to succeed in this country. There are times when the government should provide translation services, as in the case of public health and safety and related instances. Governor Cuomo's mandate, however, unilaterally declares seven languages to be official languages in New York."

"Rather than using his influence to create programs to help immigrants assimilate into American society, this mandate encourages non-assimilation and isolates those who speak languages not included in Mr. Cuomo's guidelines," Mujica continued. "If New York State has room for things like this mandate in its budget, funding should instead be provided to create programs that teach English to immigrants."

U.S.English continues to advocate for policies that encourage immigrants to assimilate into the American culture while keeping their native language and customs and by learning English to increase financial, economic and social success.

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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    KARIN DAVENPORT
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