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OfflineEllis Dee
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(HR 997) English Language Unity Act of 2003
    #1461771 - 04/15/03 10:11 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

English Language Unity Act of 2003

About the Issue:

Declaring English the official language means that official government business at all levels must be conducted solely in English. This includes all public documents, records, legislation and regulations, as well as hearings, official ceremonies and public meetings.

Official English legislation contains common-sense exceptions permitting the use of languages other than English for such things as public health and safety services, judicial proceedings (although actual trials would be conducted in English), foreign language instruction and the promotion of tourism.


HR 997

English Language Unity Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)

HR 997 IH

108th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 997
To declare English as the official language of the United States, to establish a uniform English language rule for naturalization, and to avoid mis-constructions of the English language texts of the laws of the United States, pursuant to Congress' powers to provide for the general welfare of the United States and to establish a uniform rule of naturalization under article I, section 8, of the Constitution.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 27, 2003
Mr. KING of Iowa introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A BILL
To declare English as the official language of the United States, to establish a uniform English language rule for naturalization, and to avoid mis-constructions of the English language texts of the laws of the United States, pursuant to Congress' powers to provide for the general welfare of the United States and to establish a uniform rule of naturalization under article I, section 8, of the Constitution.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `English Language Unity Act of 2003'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

The Congress finds and declares the following:

(1) The United States is comprised of individuals from diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, and continues to benefit from this rich diversity.

(2) Throughout the history of the United States, the common thread binding individuals of differing backgrounds has been the English language.

(3) Among the powers reserved to the States respectively is the power to establish the English language as the official language of the respective States, and otherwise to promote the English language within the respective States, subject to the prohibitions enumerated in the Constitution of the United States and in laws of the respective States.

SEC. 3. ENGLISH AS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE UNITED STATES.

(a) IN GENERAL- Title 4, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new chapter:

`CHAPTER 6--OFFICIAL LANGUAGE

`Sec. 161. Official language of the United States

`The official language of the United States is English.

`Sec. 162. Preserving and enhancing the role of the official language

`Representatives of the Federal Government shall have an affirmative obligation to preserve and enhance the role of English as the official language of the Federal Government. Such obligation shall include encouraging greater opportunities for individuals to learn the English language.

`Sec. 163. Official functions of Government to be conducted in English

`(a) OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS- The official functions of the Government of the United States shall be conducted in English.

`(b) SCOPE- For the purposes of this section, the term `United States' means the several States and the District of Columbia, and the term `official' refers to any function that (i) binds the Government, (ii) is required by law, or (iii) is otherwise subject to scrutiny by either the press or the public.

`(c) PRACTICAL EFFECT- This section shall apply to all laws, public proceedings, regulations, publications, orders, actions, programs, and policies, but does not apply to--

`(1) teaching of languages;

`(2) requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;

`(3) actions, documents, or policies necessary for national security, international relations, trade, tourism, or commerce;

`(4) actions or documents that protect the public health and safety;

`(5) actions or documents that facilitate the activities of the Bureau of the Census in compiling any census of population;

`(6) actions that protect the rights of victims of crimes or criminal defendants; or

`(7) using terms of art or phrases from languages other than English.

`Sec. 164. Uniform English language rule for naturalization

`(a) UNIFORM LANGUAGE TESTING STANDARD- All citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Laws of the United States made in pursuance of the Constitution.

`(b) CEREMONIES- All naturalization ceremonies shall be conducted in English.

`Sec. 165. Rules of construction

`Nothing in this chapter shall be construed--

`(1) to prohibit a Member of Congress or any officer or agent of the Federal Government, while performing official functions, from communicating unofficially through any medium with another person in a language other than English (as long as official functions are performed in English);

`(2) to limit the preservation or use of Native Alaskan or Native American languages (as defined in the Native American Languages Act);

`(3) to disparage any language or to discourage any person from learning or using a language; or

`(4) to be inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States.

`Sec. 166. Standing

`A person injured by a violation of this chapter may in a civil action (including an action under chapter 151 of title 28) obtain appropriate relief.'.

(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of chapters at the beginning of title 4, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 5 the following new item:

`Chapter 6. Official Language.'.

SEC. 4. GENERAL RULES OF CONSTRUCTION FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEXTS OF THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES.

(a) IN GENERAL- Chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

`Sec. 8. General rules of construction for laws of the United States

`(a) English language requirements and workplace policies, whether in the public or private sector, shall be presumptively consistent with the Laws of the United States; and

`(b) Any ambiguity in the English language text of the Laws of the United States shall be resolved, in accordance with the last two articles of the Bill of Rights, not to deny or disparage rights retained by the people, and to reserve powers to the States respectively, or to the people.'.

(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 7 the following new item:

`8. General Rules of Construction for Laws of the United States.'.

SEC. 5. IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS.

The Department of Justice shall, within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, issue for public notice and comment a proposed rule for uniform testing English language ability of candidates for naturalization, based upon the principles that (a) all citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which are made in pursuance thereof, and (b) any exceptions to this standard should be limited to extraordinary circumstances, such as asylum.

SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE.

The amendments made by sections 3 and 4 shall take effect on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.


_______

Now my opinion on it.

Ooo. I hope this one gets defeated and the xenophobes don't get their way o nthis one. English is a fine language and the only one I speak fluently, but I see no need to discriminate against anyone wanting to speak other languages. It'll be harder for foreigners to get drivers licenses even if they understand the road laws and signs and are a great driver.

Why the need to make an official language? English has always been the defacto language spoken in America since it's inception. The fact is that the anglo-white establishment now feels threatened by spanish. They're scared because it's different, and if it's different it must be evil. It's pure xenophobia.

Besides the underlying xenophobic motives of those that would force english on everyone, theres the fact that I'll speak whatever language I want. I don't want the government forcing english on me or anyone else. Why should the government be able to tell you what langage you'll speak, or what gun you can own, or what sexual practices you can engage in? They shouldn't.


--------------------
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,


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Anonymous

Re: (HR 997) English Language Unity Act of 2003 [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #1462017 - 04/15/03 11:15 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

the bill seems to just state that english is to be the official language in american government and law. it doesn't intend to force english on everyone. it just means that laws are to be recorded in english, court sessions to be conducted in english, sessions of law-making bodies conducted in english, etc.



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InvisibletrendalM
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Posts: 19,378
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Re: (HR 997) English Language Unity Act of 2003 [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #1462051 - 04/15/03 11:25 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Here in Canada we have official languages, being English and French. All government buisiness is conducted in one or both of these languages and, as far as i know, ONLY these languages.

Having two is kinda silly though, IMHO.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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OfflineEllis Dee
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Re: (HR 997) English Language Unity Act of 2003 [Re: ]
    #1462053 - 04/15/03 11:26 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

NO, this is a bad and dangerous law. Read my comments at the end of the bill. It forces english as the official language to all people and to government at all levels even local where many communities, especially border town may wish to use spanish and english both or even just spanish. If this law was passed 150 years ago a lot of our ancestors would never have been allowed to be US citizens.


--------------------
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,


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InvisibleEvolving
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Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 5,385
Loc: Apt #6, The Village
Re: (HR 997) English Language Unity Act of 2003 [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #1462084 - 04/15/03 11:33 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

If this law was passed 150 years ago a lot of our ancestors would never have been allowed to be US citizens.



150 years ago they didn't have ballots in the language of your choice, every official function was conducted in English. All this bi-lingual stuff is a fairly recent. When my mother went to school (as a Polish speaking child) the teacher only taught in English. There were children who spoke French, Italian, German, etc. At the end of her first year, all the kids spoke English.


--------------------
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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InvisibleGabbaDj
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Re: (HR 997) English Language Unity Act of 2003 [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #1462642 - 04/16/03 02:17 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

If this law was passed 150 years ago a lot of our ancestors would never have been allowed to be US citizens.




Not true... If they wanted to they would just have to learn english before comming here.

Im all for this but I remember it comming around before and got shot down...


--------------------
GabbaDj

FAMM.ORG          C8.com                    http://www.beatsopjefiets.com/   


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
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Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 33,778
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Re: (HR 997) English Language Unity Act of 2003 [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #1462966 - 04/16/03 06:03 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

This bill is a very good idea.

Why should the taxpayers of the US be forced to pay for those who refuse or don't know how to speak English? I forget the exact number of languages you can choose between when taking your test for a drivers license when I lived in the NYC area but it was in the dozens.

I would take it even further and BAN any languages other than English from being used for any official business. I would also add an immigration requirement that at least a smattering of English be spoken before being allowed to move to the US.

Quote:

Why should the government be able to tell you what langage you'll speak, or what gun you can own, or what sexual practices you can engage in? They shouldn't.



You didn't read that bill very well if you think the government is telling people they can't speak whichever language they choose. It only refers to government business.

Thanks for the heads up. I just finished writing to my elected representatives encouraging them to vote in favor of this bill.


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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Offlinezeronio
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Re: (HR 997) English Language Unity Act of 2003 [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #1462999 - 04/16/03 06:22 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

I forget the exact number of languages you can choose between when taking your test for a drivers license when I lived in the NYC area but it was in the dozens.




That's very nice - a big + for NYC :laugh:! It shows a very high level of tolerance for minorities. It may be expensive but IMO it's worth it. It would be boring otherwise. 


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OfflineJssMthrFcknChrst
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Re: (HR 997) English Language Unity Act of 2003 [Re: zeronio]
    #1463406 - 04/16/03 12:27 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

`Sec. 165. Rules of construction

`Nothing in this chapter shall be construed--
...
`(4) to be inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States.




Would that make it illegal to argue the Constitutionality of this if it becomes law?


--------------------



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InvisibleEvolving
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Registered: 10/01/02
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Re: (HR 997) English Language Unity Act of 2003 [Re: JssMthrFcknChrst]
    #1463451 - 04/16/03 12:49 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

Would that make it illegal to argue the Constitutionality of this if it becomes law?



It's always legal to argue the Constitutionality of a law. I think it means that interpretation of the laws should be in line with the Constitution.


--------------------
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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OfflineAzmodeus
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Re: (HR 997) English Language Unity Act of 2003 [Re: Evolving]
    #1463539 - 04/16/03 01:24 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Well i live in vancouver and let me tell you it would really help the situation here if some of the oriental immigrants that flock here could read "stop" on the stop sign.  If you can't read english you shouldn't be able to drive.  Things like "one way" and "merge" they just dont know, or are still "learning". :tongue:


--------------------
"Know your Body - Know your Mind - Know your Substance - Know your Source.

Lest we forget. "


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