U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and U.S. Rep. Steve King (IA-05) today reintroduced legislation in their respective chambers declaring English as the official language of the United States government.
The legislation, titled the English Language Unity Act of 2013, would require the federal government to use the English language when acting with binding, legal authority. All naturalization ceremonies would also be required to be conducted in English. The bill makes common-sense exceptions to permit the federal government's use of other languages, such as in cases of national security, international relations and trade, tourism, public safety and health, and protecting the rights of victims.
"By declaring English as the official language of the United States, this will obligate the federal government to preserve, protect, and enhance the role of the English language within our government," said Inhofe. "One of the most important ways for immigrants to achieve success in the United States is by learning English, and this bill will help to encourage that unifying bond as they integrate into our society. Congress will likely be debating comprehensive immigration reform this summer, and any reform to our immigration laws must include English language provisions. We are a nation built by immigrants, and it is important we share one vision and one official language."
"There is no more unifying force in the world than a common form of communications currency," said King. "We must make assimilation of our legal immigrants a top priority and learning English is an important first step in that process. The English Language Unity Act is bipartisan legislation that will enshrine English as the official language of our nation, and ensure that this powerful force binds us all together so that all have the ability to achieve the American dream."