SOURCE: U.S.English

U.S.English

February 08, 2012 15:46 ET

U.S.English Praises Arizona Supreme Court Ruling Upholding English Speaking Requirement

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Feb 8, 2012) - The Arizona Supreme Court this week chose to uphold a lower court's ruling that a San Luis City Council candidate be disqualified due to her lack of English proficiency.

"The English language has always been a unifier among the diverse people of the United States," said Mauro Mujica, Chairman of U.S.English, Inc. "Especially in a state like Arizona, where English has legally been named the official language of government, any and all government officials should recognize the value of speaking a common language to ensure effective communication."

Last month, a Judge in Yuma County Superior Court ruled that Alejandrina Cabrera was unqualified to be placed on the ballot because she was found to be less than proficient in English. Cabrera appealed the ruling, arguing that in the heavily Spanish-speaking San Luis, she knew enough English to get by.

The Arizona State Constitution states that members of the State legislature must know enough English to fulfill their official duties, and a 2006 law establishing English as the state's official language calls for the disqualification of any candidate to elected office who is unable to speak, read and write English. Cabrera's attorneys claim that the court decisions are discriminatory and violate her constitutional rights because Arizona's laws do not clarify what level of English fluency is required to run for office.

"For Ms. Cabrera's attorneys to call the decision to have her removed from the ballot a violation of her constitutional rights is absurd," Mujica added. "To become a citizen of the United States, one must be able to read, write and speak English. As a political candidate at any level, being unable to correctly respond to simple questions in English is unacceptable. English is the language of more than 90 percent of Americans, and all candidates should be expected to meet at least the most basic standards. I commend the Arizona Supreme Court for maintaining the dignity of the state's official English laws and ensuring that Arizona continues to encourage the unifying of its residents through a shared language."

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