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Dear Mr. *********
Thank you for contacting me about the status of the English language in the United States. I appreciate hearing from you.
In the 110th Congress, S.1335 was introduced to declare English as the official language of the Government of the United States. S. 1335 was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and continues to be debated. Although I do not sit on this Committee, please know I will continue to monitor its progress. Should S. 1335 or similar legislation before the full Senate in the 110th Congress, I will certainly keep your views in mind.
In addition, as you may know, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) proposed an amendment on March 13, 2008, to prohibit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from bringing a claim against companies who require their employees to speak only English, regardless of whether their job function requires them to speak English. Through both Republican and Democratic administrations, the EEOC has not prosecuted claims against companies that have a real need to have their employees speak English. Rather, it has focused on companies whose required English-only policies could easily allow discrimination against people from other countries. For those reasons, and others, I voted against Senator Alexander's amendment, but it was passed by a vote of 54-44 and S. Con. Res. 70 passed the Senate.
Strong economic and social pressures already compel most Americans and those living in America to learn English. I strongly support policies that encourage people to learn English to hasten their integration into American society and to maximize their economic competitiveness. Towards this goal, we should provide better support for public and private efforts to teach English.
As a U.S. Senator, I have worked hard to fully fund child and adult literacy programs, such as English as a second language (ESL) education. I believe it is critical to promote community initiatives that give Americans the skills they need to succeed, including the ability to speak English.
Once again, thank you for contacting me. Please stay in touch.
I hope all is well in *********