English only is being Debated Once Again
However, critics of the English Language Unity Act of 2007, H.R. 997, say it would not help to promote more learning of English. It would rather exclude immigrants who have not become sufficiently proficient in English. Documents, translations and services would not be available any longer for the majority of official transactions. The debate as to whether English should be the official language has again surfaced. Typically, the interest in these types of laws spike during periods of increased immigration. That prompts a number of advocates to question the true motives behind the legislation.
It tends to promote separation and alienation of immigrants that happen to speak in a language that is not English. It also tends to make people suspicious if someone is speaking to a friend in Spanish or speaks English with a certain accent.
During a hearing on the legislation, Democratic Representative Charles Gonzalez of Texas said that immigrants were trying to learn English as quickly as possible. He said that learning English has become generational. Meaning each new generation born in the U.S. is learning more and more English. He said the country does not need any bills that are English-only.
A Pew Hispanic Center report in 2012 found that the majority of first generation Hispanic immigrants often struggle with English, but the second generation and beyond speak English predominately. The bill would require that U.S. citizenship testing be offered in just English. At present, immigrants, most of those older than 50, can take the test in the language they choose.