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Make English official

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This important issue should receive attention

Hal Rhodes from NM News Services Editorial piece in the April 61 Los Alamos Monitor “English Only Please” was a disappointing example of the misunderstanding many have of the official English movement.
More than 90 percent (177) of the world’s nations have enacted an official language. English is the most common official language on Earth.
The universal language of science, commerce and industry is English.  Air traffic control the world over is conducted in English.  
In order to facilitate unambiguous communication in engineering, protocols are adopted.  Adopting English as our official language helps make our government more efficient and is effectively simply a protocol.
It is expensive to have to provide government services in more than one language.  At a time when we are trying to save money in government this is important.
The Canadian government spends $260 million annually to do governmentbusiness in both of the nation’s official languages. This figure was 0.16 percent of the Canadian federal budget. If the U.S. was to spend 0.16 percent of the federal budget to government business in two languages, the cost would be $3.8 billion. (Source: Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Canada.)
The Canadian Government spends $24 per Canadian resident per year to do government business in both of the nations official languages. If the U.S. was to spend $24 per person per year on government multilingualism, the cost would be $5.7 billion. (Source: Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Canada.)
The total annual cost for the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to provide language services is $2.2 million. (Source: U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Report to Congress: Assessment of the Total Benefits and Costs of Implementing Executive Order No. 13166: Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency, March 14, 2002)
It costs $1.86 million annually to prepare written translations for food stamp recipients nationwide. The cost for oral translations skyrocket to $21 million nationally per year. (Source: U.S. Office of Management and
Budget, Report to Congress: Assessment of the Total Benefits and Costs of Implementing Executive Order No. 13166: Improving Access to Services for Person with Limited English Proficiency, March 14, 2002) 79 percent of Americans, and 81 percent of first and second generation Americans favor making English the official language of the United States.
Majority support for official English was recorded among every subgroup, including age, gender, race, and political affiliation. (Source: Zogby International, June 2005)  31 States have English as their official language, with more to come.
English-Only is an inaccurate term for any piece of official English legislation. U.S. English, Inc., has never and will never advocate for any piece of legislation that bans the use of languages other than English within the United States.
Please ensure that all references to U.S. English legislation and legislative efforts accurately reflect efforts to pass official English, not English-Only.
Our opponents have a first Amendment right to use this phrase, but it is not an appropriately neutral term to use in news coverage. For example, consider the outcry if news sources used pro-abortion as its neutral label for self-described pro-choice organizations.
When he introduced official English legislation in front of congress in 1982, Sen. S.I. Hayakawa told his colleagues, Nothing I say in this amendment encouraging the use of an official language in the United States is intended to discourage the study of all languages around the world so we, in business and diplomacy, will be better represented around the world.
As evidenced in our legislation, official English would not affect the diversity of languages spoken in the home.
Making English the official language of the United States refers solely to the language of the government, not of the people, private business, classrooms.
Passage of official English legislation would not make the United States English-only, just as Nigeria is not English-only and Mexico is not Spanish-only.
This is an important issue, not to be treated in such a cavalier fashion as Mr. Rhodes has done.   
New Mexico is the only state of the union to be officially bilingual, as specified in our state constitution.  
That does not mean that federal government business in New Mexico can not be done in English exclusively

Jon Sollid
Los Alamos