The National Language
English would be declared the "national language" of the United States under a measure the Senate approved Thursday, a largely symbolic move that supporters said would promote unity and encourage assimilation by immigrants.
The measure would not reverse government practices of providing some materials and services — including voting ballots and emergency advisories — in other languages. But it would establish that people have no right or entitlement to ask government officials to provide services or materials in other languages, unless authorized by law.
Minutes after adding the provision to the immigration bill it is debating, the Senate passed a second amendment with less pointed phrasing. Declaring English the country's "common and unifying" language, it specified that the "existing rights" under which the government provides bilingual services and assistance would not be diminished.