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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions - English Language Unity Act of 2013

Floor Speech

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Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, today I would like to introduce a piece of legislation that I believe is of great importance to the unity of the American people--the English Language Unity Act of 2013.

That English Language Unity Act of 2013 recognizes the practical reality of the role of English as our national language and makes English the official language of the United States government, a status in law it has not had before, and calls on government to preserve and enhance the role of English as the official language.

Let me be clear, nothing in the bill prohibits the use of a language other than English. The bill specifically exempts certain actions from requiring English, such as actions necessary for national security, trade, and protecting the public health and safety. The English Language Unity Act is an attempt to legislate a common sense language policy that a nation of immigrants needs one national language. Our Nation was settled by a group of people with a common vision. As our population has grown, our cultural diversity has grown as well. This diversity is part of what makes our nation great.

However, we must be able to communicate with one another so that we can appreciate our differences. When members of our society cannot speak a common language, misunderstandings arise. Furthermore, the individuals who do not speak the language of the majority miss out on many opportunities to advance in society and achieve the American Dream.

The English Language Unity Act of 2013 requires the establishment of a uniform language requirement for naturalization and requires that all naturalization ceremonies be conducted in English. I want to empower new immigrants coming to our nation by helping them understand and become successful in their new home. I believe that one of the most important ways immigrants can achieve success is by learning English.

There is enormous popular support for English as the official language according to polling that has taken place over the last few years. A large majority of Americans support making English the official language of the United States. There is also widespread and bipartisan support for this legislation, and I hope that you will join me this Congress in supporting the English Language Unity Act of 2013.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

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