According to a report in your latest issue (“Bills would boost Asian voter help, June 14, most editions), state Sen. Toby Stavisky and Assemblyman David Weprin demand that voters be provided information in 3 more languages: Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi, bringing a total of nearly a dozen languages for voting information.
I have a much better idea. Provide voting information in only one language — English. This is our common language for business, social and political communications. People who refuse to learn it should not have the right to vote, drive or collect welfare benefits or rent subsidies.
One reason for the rising tide of anti-immigration sentiment is that immigrants’ earlier goal of assimilaton — blending into the fabric of America — has been replaced by accomodation (also called multiculturalism) — clinging to their former country’s customs and traditions, including a refusal to learn English. Store signs in Flushing are a glaring example of this.
When my grandparents came here from Europe in the 1920s, they learned English in order to survive. Providing multilingual information discourages new immigrants from learning our nation’s common language.
During the GOP primaries, Mitt Romney stated that English should become the official language of the United States. But he’s softened his stance now that he’s courting the Hispanic vote in the general election. Voters should hold his feet to the fire on this committment. President Obama will pander to any ethnic group to get re-elected, so don’t waste your time on him.
Government has an obligation to provide English-language instruction for new immigrants. But it is not obligated to allow them to vote if they refuse to learn English. The Constitution has no provision for this privilege. The ultimatum for immigrants should be clear: Learn English or lose your right to vote.
Editor’s note: See a follow-up story on the bill in most of this week’s print editions, or at qchron.com.