English already official here
Arizona Republic
Oct. 10, 2006

Nostalgia can be sweet. But Arizona doesn't need to go backward.

So keep in mind that the state legislator who cited a rights-abusing 1950s deportation scheme as a solution to today's illegal immigration problems is also the moving force behind a ballot measure that asks Arizonans to make English the official language.

That déjà vu you're feeling is entirely appropriate. Voters were asked the same question in 1988. By a scant 50.5 percent, they approved an English-only amendment. It remains in the Constitution, despite having been declared unconstitutional in state and federal appeals courts.

Now Proposition 103, shoved through the Legislature and onto the ballot by Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, brings this divisive issue back before voters.
This measure would repeal the English-only amendment that was the subject of a decade of court battles and replace it with an amendment that is supposed to be able to withstand a constitutional challenge.

We don't need this.

English has been this nation's official language since before Betsy Ross could sew. Previous waves of immigrants did not unseat English, despite fears such as those expressed by Benjamin Franklin in 1751 that Germans would never assimilate.

Every immigrant knows the importance of learning English. They always have and they always will. Every child of an immigrant knows that mastering English is the key to a better life. English speakers who would like to hurry that learning process along should get behind efforts to help students and their immigrant parents learn the language.

What's more, the influence of English on mass culture around the world is undeniable. In international business, it is as close to the universal language as you can get in this ever shrinking world. Our national language is fit and spreading.

It doesn't need to be called "official." It is official.

Let's be honest: The current push for an official English amendment is part of a backlash against illegal immigration. The anger and frustration over that unsolved problem is legitimate. So are calls for Congress to do its job and enact comprehensive reform.

But it would be a mistake for Arizona to pass another official-English amendment. It would lead to years of costly litigation and give the state the kind of backward image it has been trying to shed for decades.

The future is not behind us.

Arizonans should vote "no" on Proposition 103.