State Capitol News
4:57 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

State Senators Tighten Measure to Make English the Official State Language

Phoenix, AZ – The 2006 voter-approved amendment requires official state actions
to be conducted only in English. It does allow informal
discussions between government representatives and others, though
these are neither binding nor official. This new measure adds
another hurdle to that, saying a government employee cannot
communicate in any other language unless the other person first
makes a specific request. Sen. Don Shooter said he's simply
trying to underline that English is the unifying language of the
country. And he said the measure is specifically aimed at
Hispanics.

(You know, if an Italian came in the office you wouldn't expect
the state of Arizona to issue a response in Italian, nor in
German or Swahili or Russian or any other thing. So it's not what
people are making it out to be. It's just saying that if you come
here, you need to work with us and be part of our culture, too.
It's pretty much that simple.)

Senators also approved two other measures, both of those clearly
aimed at illegal immigrants. One requires public housing
operators to kick out families if any member of the household is
an illegal immigrant. The other requires proof of legal presence
to get a fingerprint clearance card -- essentially proof of a
clean criminal record -- which is a necessity to get certain
jobs. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.