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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2003
Contact: James Lubinskas
202-833-0100

U.S.ENGLISH SUPPORTS INTRODUCTION OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE UNITY ACT OF 2003

Polls Show 84 Percent of Americans Support Making English the Official Language

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. ENGLISH, the nation's oldest and largest non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the Unites States, today announced its support for the English Language Unity Act of 2003. Introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the bill would make English the official language of the United States government.

"We congratulate Rep. King for his bold and timely bill, H.R. 997, which would make English the official language of the United States," said U.S. ENGLISH Chairman and CEO Mauro Mujica. "At a time of war when we are all coming together as Americans, it is more important than ever that we recognize that historically, the common thread binding individuals of differing backgrounds in this country has been the English language."

"Twenty-seven states have already made English their official language and polls show over eighty percent of Americans support similar legislation on a federal level," said Mujica. "Official English is vital in America, where 329 different languages are spoken according to the 2000 Census. With so much diversity, we need something that can spread unity. We are confident that H.R. 997 can accomplish this goal."

Recognizing that fluency in English is necessary for full integration into the American mainstream, the English Language Unity Act of 2003 would require the United States government to conduct official business in English. Specifically, H.R. 997 would make it so that "all laws, public proceedings, regulations, publications, orders, actions, programs and policies" are conducted in the English language. Numerous common sense exceptions are included in the legislation to protect the well-being of all Americans, including public health and safety, national security, international relations, trade, tourism and commerce.

"Rep. King's bill does not prevent anyone from speaking languages other than English nor does it take away a person's heritage or culture by encouraging them to learn the nation's common language; it simply mandates the federal government to conduct its official business in English," said Mujica. "The government must lead by example so that everyone has an equal chance to go as far as their skills, talent and dreams can take them."

"As an immigrant from Chile, I know first-hand the obstacles facing non-English speakers and understand that knowing English is the key to unlocking opportunities and realizing the American Dream," said Mujica.

"English is the common bond of our citizenry, and understanding it is the only way an individual will be able to participate fully in commerce, education, society and democracy," said Mujica. "It is the language of business, diplomacy, the Internet and science. In the Unites States, English is the language of our historical documents, of communication and of safety. We urge the United States Congress to swiftly pass H.R. 997 into law so that all Americans have an equal chance at success."

U.S.ENGLISH is the nation's oldest and largest citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States (website: www.us-english.org). Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S.ENGLISH now has more than 1.7 million members nationwide.





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