September 9, 2012 by mramirez2
The Republican Party advocates the “English only” proposal, greatly affecting the Latino population. Spanish is the second most widely used language in the United States, with 34.5 million speakers, according to the 2010 U.S. census. The number might be slightly different had there not been fear by those who are undocumented to fill out the census forms. The level of English spoken by the Spanish speaking population varies as some are fluent and some cannot speak English at all. If the Republican proposal of establishing English as the official language of the United States goes through, a large portion of the American population would lose the freedom to communicate, the right to petition the government, and the availability of resources for the minorities including education and other government benefits. Also, anything written to petition the government must be in English, so Spanish speaking representatives would only be able to speak English to the Spanish speaking constituents, and address issues in English as well without competent interpretation. The legal immigrants in the United States, and even some illegal immigrants manage to pay their taxes each year, yet their right to be heard in their native language within this diverse country is being challenged. If Latinos are expected to play a role in favor of the government by paying their taxes, which is also following the law, then the English only law only inhibits the “equality” promoted by the founding documents of this “free country.
The irony of the Republican Party is that in their attempt to recruit Latino votes, a key demographic group for elections, Romney attempted to speak Spanish in his ads and also used his fluent, Spanish-speaking son to promote his campaign, while attempting to pass the English only law. The attempt to lure Latino voters turned out to be somewhat offensive as Romney not only directly translated from identical ads in English without seeking proper marketing skills and translation, but also used slang terms which seemed derogatory to certain Latino cultures. “At this point, it is going to be easier to pick up white, blue-collar voters in the Rust Belt than it will be to pick up Latino votes.”
The Democratic Party, on the other hand, does the exact opposite as they do not even attempt to establish an official language. Aside from their already Latino-friendly proposals, the Democratic National Convention featured key Hispanic speakers such as the journalist Cristina Saralegui, the state representative of Texas Joaquin Castro, the San Antonio mayor Julian Castro (first Latino keynote speaker at the DNC), a Dreamer, and various Latino participants to promote the many benefits for Latinos through the democratic vote this upcoming election. English only laws make assimilation for immigrants much more difficult as well as contradict the equality and liberty promoted by the founders of this country. America was founded by immigrants and the American dream is searched by not only Latinos, but vast amounts of diverse cultures who do not speak English. The English only law can greatly affect the Latino population, which is why it is imperative that Latinos vote in the upcoming election, to make sure that our voices are not muted, and that our large population is equally represented in such a diverse country.