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As I See It

No need for official language in Wisconsin




English only, por favor. That is the thrust of a bill being introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature seeking to make English the state’s official language. But this seems a solution in search of a problem. The bill would declare English to be Wisconsin’s official language, and would require all state and local governments to write their documents in English. But Wisconsin governments already write their official documents in English. This bill wouldn’t change that. The sponsors of the bill say knowing and speaking English would open doors for immigrants, that they can be more productive members of society when they speak English fluently. They say immigrants’ job prospects would improve if they can use the language. No one questions that someone from another country will assimilate better into this country by speaking the English language. But this bill does not force them to learn English, or require them to speak it. If approved, it is not going to suddenly turn those new to our country into English speakers. Our English language is not under some sort of threat. The United States does not list English as the official language, and neither should Wisconsin. This bill would accomplish nothing, perhaps other than to make the white authors of the legislation feel better.

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