September 16, 2014

Opposition to an ‘English-only’ bill

Among those responding to a proposal at the Capitol to make English Wisconsin’s official language includes Voces de la Frontera. The group’s executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz says the legislation is an embarrassment to the Badger State. She says it’s unAmerican.

“It really discriminates by disenfranchising people who are limited English speakers from key parts of society, such as the court system, the schools, hospitals, the voting booth in terms of bilingual ballots.”

State Representative Andre Jacque’s (R-De Pere) bill (AB-340) would require state and local governments to use just English for written documents, perhaps even saving taxpayer money. Neumann-Ortiz says it’s an embarrassment to a Republican Party trying to mend what she calls “a dismal relationship” with Latino voters. She says the measure is completely out of touch with reality, it’s insulting, and it’s divisive.

“Wisconsin is ranked 44th in the nation in terms of job creation. Instead of wasting his time on this kind of divisive, discriminatory and irrelevant legislation, he should be rolling up his sleeves and getting to work on creating good jobs here in Wisconsin.”

About 30 other states have enacted similar English-only laws. Supporters say making English our common language does not limit an individual’s freedom to speak a language of his choosing; instead, it ensures consistency in government communications.