0

LETTERS: No reason speaking English can't be official

No reason speaking English can't be official

I certainly agree with Ester Cepeda's viewpoint that non-English speaking immigrants generally learn English as quickly as they can because they correctly realize that speaking English is the gateway to success ("Not everyone speaking same language on English push," Sept. 2, 8A). But she fails to acknowledge the reasons why English should be the official language of our nation and she failed to acknowledge the growing numbers of immigrants who no longer feel the need to learn English.

First and foremost, perhaps the adoption of English as our official language would put a stop to the madness of the legal requirement for our doctors and hospitals to furnish at their own expense translators for any of the more than 300 languages known to exist in our country, thanks to Clinton's Executive Order 13166. Shouldn't they provide their own interpreter? Why should drivers license tests be given in other languages when street signs are in English?

In some cities, even ballots are printed in other languages. Why should an immigrant who has become a citizen be given a special ballot if they have not yet learned English? I don't believe that anyone has an automatic entitlement or right to government services or documents in a language other than English, yet there is decreased emphasis on learning English.

The overwhelming majority of other nations have an official language, and woe be to any American immigrant to any of these countries that services be provided in English. Certainly, we should offer assistance to immigrants in learning English but just how far are we to go in catering to non-English speakers?

In spite of what Cepeda claims, many recent non-English speaking immigrants do tend to cluster into areas where they have no need to speak English. If one would venture to Doraville and Chamblee, there they will find communities where the aspiring will move on to more fertile fields but they will also find a growing core of long-time residents insulated from the need or desire to learn English and are heavy users of public services. As a senior citizen, I certainly sympathize with the older immigrant who has difficulty learning English as I took extensive Spanish lessons and only learned "muy poco" Spanish (Yes, my translation was meant to be funny).

Cepeda never answered the real question: Why can't we have English as our nation's official language if, as she claims, there is no real need to do so?

So, Cepeda, what's the damage?-- Ernest Wade

Loganville