‘Uni­fy­ing fac­tor’: Im­mi­grants fa­vor English as of­fi­cial lan­guage

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jen­nifer Harper

“Hola” may not be the greet­ing of choice among His­pan­ics liv­ing in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of His­panic adults — 65 per­cent — fa­vor mak­ing English the na­tion’s of­fi­cial lan­guage, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey re­leased Dec. 4.

“More than three-in-four im­mi­grants to the U.S. fa­vored the leg­is­la­tion, as did nearly 60 per­cent of first-gen­er­a­tion and 79 per­cent of sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Amer­i­cans,” the sur­vey from Zogby In­ter­na­tional found.

An­other 67 per­cent of re­spon­dents not born here fa­vored the idea com­pared with 64 per­cent of those born in the U.S. Fa­vor­able num­bers were high­est among His­pan­ics with less than a high school ed­u­ca­tion (73 per­cent), young adults age 18 to 29 years (70 per­cent), Repub­li­cans (69 per­cent) and those from Mex­ico (69 per­cent).

“Mak­ing English our of­fi­cial lan­guage­cel­e­brat­es­the­uni­fy­ing­fac­tor in our di­verse na­tion,” said Mauro Mu­jica, chair­man of Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based,1.8mil­lion-mem­berU.S. English, an ac­tivist group seek­ing to pre­serve English us­age in the gov­ern­ment and else­where.

“This poll should demon­strate to leg­is­la­tors that their ef­forts to make Englishthe­of­fi­cial­lan­guagear­e­sup­ported, not de­rided, by the His­panic com­mu­nity,” Mr. Mu­jica said.

Th­esur­vey­of903His­pan­i­cadults was­con­duct­edNov.17to20,and­has a mar­gin of er­ror of 3 per­cent­age points.

Cur­rently, 27 states have adopted laws mak­ing English their of­fi­cial lan­guage. On a global level, 92 per­cent of the world’s na­tions have adopted an of­fi­cial lan­guage, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Cen­sus and the World Al­manac. English is the lan- guage of choice in 31 of them.

Ac­cord­ing­tonew­fig­ures­re­leased bytheCen­susBureaulast­month,52 mil­lion­peo­ple­s­peakalan­gua­geother than English at home; 45 per­cent of them say they speak English “less thanvery­well.”Span­ish­wasthe­most preva­lent, spo­ken by 62 per­cent; al­mosthal­fofthat­pop­u­la­tion­saidthey were not pro­fi­cient in English.

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