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Arizona Poll: Make English Official State Language

AP | April 6 2006

More than four-in-five Arizona residents support making English the official language of the state according to a new poll conducted by Zogby International from March 30 to 31, 2006.

The poll of 510 likely voters in the Grand Canyon State found that 82 percent of Arizonans favor official English legislation, with more than two-thirds of respondents strongly favoring such a measure.

"Arizona residents have once again declared that they want the government to embrace our official language – English," said Mauro E. Mujica, chairman of U.S. English, Inc. "They understand that English remains the great unifier in a diverse state and that fluency in English is the key to economic self-sufficiency and personal growth."

Support for making English the official language of Arizona carried across nearly every demographic sub-group. The measure was favored by nearly six-in-10 Democrats and more than three-in-four Independents, along with 78 percent of Hispanics, 86 percent of senior citizens and 86 percent of those aged 18 to 29. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, with higher margins of error in sub-groups.

"As an immigrant and naturalized citizen, I understand that learning English is a critical component in becoming an American," continued Mujica. "Unfortunately, government today often undermines our common language by providing a lifetime translation entitlement. This law would strike a balance between assistance and assimilation."

Official English legislation in Arizona calls for government to conduct official business in English and ensures that the state does not have an obligation to provide foreign language services. The bill takes into account numerous common sense exceptions to ensure the constitutional rights of all Arizonans. Public health and safety information, law enforcement and courtroom translation are all exempted from the law.

Last month, the Arizona House passed HCR 2036, legislation that would allow the citizens of Arizona to vote on making English the official language of the state. The measure, approved on March 23 by a margin of 34 to 22 in the House, is now in the Senate for consideration. If passed, the citizens of Arizona would cast their vote in November.

Last year, the House and Senate both passed legislation that would make English the official language of Arizona, only to have it vetoed by the governor. A subsequent poll by KAET-TV/Channel 8 and Arizona State University found that the majority of Arizonans disagree with the governor's action.


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