Colorado Republican Congressmen Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn have co-sponsored a bill that would make all federal government operations use English and require all people undergoing citizenship testing to demonstrate their ability to speak English.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-MN, is the bill’s primary sponsor.
The English Language Unity Act of 2011, authored by Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, was introduced by Bachmann and 59 other Republicans last week.
The bill’s purpose is to “declare English as the official language of the United States, to establish a uniform English language rule for naturalization, and to avoid misconstructions 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.”
It would prohibit federal employees from conducting official functions of government in languages other than English, with certain exceptions. It would not apply to teaching foreign languages, communicating with disabled Americans such as in American Sign Language, communicating on issues of national security and international relations, conducting census activities and in court proceedings.
The bill also requires immigrants to know English and would make the citizenship testing services in English, only with the exception of those seeking asylum in the United States.
A companion bill has been offered by Republicans in the U.S. Senate.