Democratic Underground

Not English? Bob Stump Not Interested
April 14, 2001
by Rodney Jay C. Salinas

In March, Congressman Bob Stump, from Arizona, introduced a piece of legislation that has serious implications for the Asian Pacific American community. Introduced into the Congress with little notice, the bill, called H.R. 969, seeks to accomplish several things.

It would nullify Executive Order 13166, titled `Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency' (August 16, 2000; 65 Fed. Reg. 50121).

This Executive Order was issued under President Bill Clinton and was a heroic effort to provide desperately needed Federal dollars to support programs for people who are not proficient in English. The other important section would effectively prevent any President from issuing a similar Executive Order in the future.

Section Two of H.R. 969 prohibits the use of Federal funds to execute or enforce similar dictates.

This bill has the potential to rob the Asian Pacific American community of millions of dollars from programs and services that help those who cannot easily communicate in English. Why is Congressman Stump so opposed to using Federal money for such programs anyway?

He, along with all the other English-only proponents, seems to be deathly afraid of waking up one morning and finding out that he can't understand a darn thing because it's not in English. Well, it's time to wake up and smell the coffee, Mr. Congressman. This nation is only getting more and more diverse.

The government has a responsibility to take care of and protect the rights of all its people, even if their English is not so perfect. If we ignore those with limited English proficiency, we would be abandoning a large segment of the American population. And that is not what America is all about.

And does Congressman Stump really believe that those with limited English proficiency will be forced to learn English, simply because they won't receive Federal assistance otherwise? That's flat out wrong. Instead, the Congress should be passing bills to provide more funds for outreach and for classes to help these individuals get a better grasp of the English language.

This seems to be the only real solution if we are truly interested in helping these individuals.

Rodney Jay C. Salinas is President of the Rainmaker Political Group LLC, publishers of, the premier online source for political news and information for the Asian Pacific American community


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