ALA opposes “National English Amendment” to Immigration Reform Bill

Contact: Bernadette Murphy

ALA Washington Office

(202) 628-8410
For Immediate Release:

May 22, 2006

ALA opposes “National English Amendment” to Immigration Reform Bill

(WASHINGTON) The following statement is from Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director of the Washington Office of the American Library Association.

The American Library Association (ALA) strongly opposes the Inhofe Amendment to S.2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006.

The “National English Amendment” would formally declare English the national language of the United States while failing to support the hundreds of languages in common use in thousands of diverse American communities. While ALA recognizes the vital importance of the English language in American society, we believe that Inhofe’s amendment would discriminate against non-English speaking individuals, limiting both their freedom of expression and their access to information and services. One of the essential principles of librarianship is the commitment to support all library patrons’ ability to gain equal access to information. This commitment is outlined in the American Library Association Policy Manual:
“We oppose any laws, legislation, and regulations which restrict the rights of citizens who speak and read languages other than English, and those language laws, legislation, and regulations which abridge pluralism and diversity in library collections and services.”

urge senators to strike this amendment from the Immigration Reform Act as the bill moves forward.