English Only

What does English Only mean?

English Only is a general term which refers to the efforts by state and federal legislatures to promote English as the official language of the United States. English Only efforts argue immigrants and citizens should be encouraged to learn English. For Americans, English has always been a common language and by encouraging everyone to learn a common language it is easier to unify peoples with diverse racial, ethnic, and religious beliefs. English is also essential to economic and social mobility in the United States.

Opponents argue English Only is nothing but a "mean-spirited" attempt of the Anglo community to require all persons to conform to their way of life, but proponents of the system recognize without a common language minorities have severely limited educational and financial opportunities. Learning English should not be optional. Most people recognize individuals are free to speak whatever language they choose in their daily lives, but the government should stress the importance of learning English and provide ample opportunities for residents to do so because proficiency in English is the key to opportunity and success in the United States.

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