Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts regarding English as the official language of the United States. I appreciate hearing from you.
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, S.2611, which passed in the Senate in the 109th Congress, included an amendment dealing with this issue. I voted in favor of Senate Amendment No. 4073, declaring English as the common and unifying language of the United States. I supported this proposal, introduced by Senator Salazar (D-CO), as did the majority of my colleagues, because it is important for people who want to become U.S. citizens to learn English.
In 2007, Senator Inhofe (R-OK) introduced an amendment to S.1348 which stated that, no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English. I voted against this amendment because I do not support restricting the ability of people to obtain information about vital health care or important government services such as public safety in only one language.
Although you and I may not completely agree on this issue, we share the view that all individuals in the United States should learn English. The question of how to deal with a non-English speaking population is controversial and admittedly difficult to address, but I wholeheartedly support measures to teach English to those who do not know the language. Proficiency in English is extremely important when looking for work or even seeking out basic information, and I am optimistic that, given the opportunity, non-English speakers would welcome the opportunity to learn the language.
Again, Linas, thank you for writing. I am pleased to know your views on this matter, and I will keep them in mind in the future.
United States Senator