America's economy might improve if more people spoke English

This idea is controversial, but two experts agree on it. Photo: Associated Press

OCALA, Fla., December 12, 2013 — The movement to make English the official language of the United States has to do with creating a future in which people from diverse backgrounds find common ground with one another.

It also pertains to dollars and cents. Despite the federal government’s numerous attempts to stimulate the economy, America remains caught within the Great Recession’s clutches. Might our lack of a national official language is somewhat to blame for this?

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“There is no question that we could easily reduce federal spending by eliminating unnecessary and costly translations services,” Robert Vandervoort, the executive director of ProEnglish, says to The Washington Times Communities. “An official English law would help save taxpayer dollars.

“To the extent that wasteful government spending on translations hurts our economy, this is one area we should all agree to cut. Also, the government discourages assimilation by continuing these unnecessary translations. To the extent that immigrants are not encouraged to learn English, it is another hindrance on our economy.”

Last year, Mauro E. Mujica, the chairman of U.S. English, told TWTC that “(s)tudies have shown that Americans who lack fluency in English trail the rest of the nation in education and economically. For example, an immigrant who speaks English well earns 33 percent more than an immigrant who speaks English poorly. An immigrant who speaks English very well earns 67 percent more.

“More than three-quarters of students who test ‘below basic’ in English fluency on 8th grade tests will drop out of high school, and as a result, will face added difficulty finding a job. It has been estimated that $65 billion a year is lost due to poor language skills.”

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Considering all of this, is adopting English as our official language an idea that can gain traction on both ends of the political spectrum?

“Official English has support from all sides of the political spectrum,” Vandervoort claims. “Polls show official English is supported by the majority of Americans, regardless of political party, race, education, income, etc. Even most recent immigrants support it.  Our opponents are a small, multicultural elite who nevertheless has the ear of many politicians and those in the media.”

Mujica mentioned that “(t)he English language is a bond that reaches far beyond political party. U.S. English recently commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a poll to gauge the support for Official English laws among the American people. This poll found that 96 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Independents agreed that English should be the official language of the United States.”

Placing polls and financial matters aside, how might adopting English as our official language help recent immigrants, or those in the process of immigrating legally?

SEE RELATED: English should become America’s official language

“If immigrants know that English is our official language, it will encourage more of them to assimilate and learn English,” Vandervoort remarks. “Studies show that immigrants who know English earn higher wages than immigrants who do not know English. This is not surprising, and is all the more reason why we should make English our official language.”

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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