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Letter to the Editor: A fare language rule

U.S. English Chairman Mauro Mujica submitted the following letter to the editor of the New York Daily News, in response to a story about new regulations that would allow New York taxi drivers to work for four years without being required to learn English.

April 23, 2012

To the Editor:

In New York City, 3.7 million people, or 49 percent of the residents, speak a language other than English. Of these, 1.8 million, or 23 percent, speak English less than ‘very well,’ according to the 2010 Census, which classifies them as limited English proficient. As an immigrant myself, English is not my first language. But upon arriving in America, I knew learning it was the key to my success here.

Imagine my dismay upon reading Pete Donohue’s recent report “Livery cab drivers who want to pick up street hails don’t have to know English” (April 18, 2012). According to proposed Taxi and Limousine Commission rules, drivers would be allowed to pick up riders for four years before being required to become proficient in English. Having been a non-English speaker, I know the challenges of learning the language. But I have also seen firsthand the doors that open upon doing so.

Given my experience learning English, and the three other languages I have learned, one year is a more realistic time period to require drivers to become somewhat proficient. Giving drivers one year to learn English provides them with the incentive to learn quickly, rather than giving them an extended grace period under the guise of protecting their livelihood.


Mauro E. Mujica
Chairman of the Board
U.S. English, Inc.

NOTE: To read the portion of Mr. Mujica's letter published by the NY Daily News, please click here. To read the original New York Daily News Story "Livery cab drivers who want to pick up street hails don't have to know English" (April 18, 2012), please click here.

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