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Proposition 63: 'Se Habla Ingles'

September 13, 1986

Del Olmo's article confuses vital issues. As I understand it, Proposition 63's main thrust is to make English the official language of government. That is, to print laws, ballots, directions, directives--any official communication--in English only. Such a law would indeed save millions, encourage non-English speakers to learn English, and prevent the kind of divisiveness that Canada has experienced with Quebec Province.

There is such a diverse linguistic mix in America that it would be impossible to please every group. It is a matter of practical necessity to insist on English, the language of the vast majority and the language of business, the universities, mass media, and the government. Such insistence is not "mean-spirited, anti-immigrant" and "a cruel joke," as Del Olmo says.

I admit that immigrants are at a terrible disadvantage when they come to this country and cannot understand English, but that is the lot of every immigrant group. Newcomers cannot expect the government to print laws, directives, and ballots in their native tongues. They must learn English if they want to participate meaningfully and fully in the main stream. To help them I am certainly in favor of special English classes and trained teachers to help them.

DEWEY D. AJIOKA

San Marcos

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