By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
The Wyoming Republican Party is considering adoption of the position that English should be the official language of the United States.
Members of the Resolutions Committee at the GOP Convention held in Sheridan approved a resolution for consideration by all convention delegates that would declare English the country’s official language.
If approved by convention delegates during their meeting on Saturday, the resolution will become the official position of the Wyoming GOP.
Several delegates speaking in support of the resolution said such a declaration would help motivate immigrants to learn the English language and better “assimilate” into American culture.
Delegate Ben Decker of Campbell County said a nearly identical proposal was offered during the county’s convention by a non-native English speaking member of the party.
“He said, ‘Learning English makes it easier to assimilate into American culture,’” Decker said.
“American Culture Under Attack”
Several committee members also said they were concerned that English is becoming a minority language considered unnecessary in America, bringing traditional American culture under attack.
“Immigration without assimilation is an invasion,” said Scott Brown, a delegate from Lovell and Big Horn County.
Decker said he supports the concept of America being a cultural melting pot, but is opposed to American culture becoming a minority in any U.S. area. Such developments lead to the country becoming a proverbial house divided, he said.
Decker blames the rise of Mexican cartels in southern California on a move away from English-speaking dominance.
“Don’t just take your old culture and take over,” he said.
California is one of more than 30 states to have English language requirements while still offering election services in different languages. In Arizona, where there are also English language designation laws, the state offers a Spanish-language website for department of motor vehicle services.
Brown said he supports the designation of English as the country’s official language and added America needs to return to its Judeo-Christian roots.
Judaism and Christianity, although deeply intertwined with the founding of the country and its growth, were not the only religions followed by colonists and early Americans.
Brown did say “grace” should be shown to non-English speakers who have recently moved to America and have yet to learn much English.
Decker also said it is proper immigrants should retain their native roots.
“It does not mean you should have to let go of your heritage if you come here,” Brown said. “It does mean you need to assimilate. Otherwise, there will be division.”
There are 27 countries that have designated English as the official language including Ireland (co-official) and Canada (excluding Quebec).
During the first Continental Congress, it was decided that no official language would be chosen for the country due to the diversity of languages already being spoken in the country at that time.
Currently, all court documents and business contracts are required to be written in English in the U.S.
Bill Adsit, a committee member from Sheridan County, said making English the country’s official language would save money on printing and paper by eliminating the need to publish duplicates of official documents in foreign languages.
Adsit said learning English can also be a form of consumer protection for immigrants.
“There’s too many less-than-fine people to take advantage of those who don’t know what they’re getting into,” he said.
“It’s to their benefit to learn English,” he added. “When you move someplace you need to be able to assimilate to communicate.”
The fear of traditional American culture being tossed away also reared its head in in a few different discussions about education and the teaching of history.
A few delegates expressed their support for legal immigration with Larry French, a committee member from Park County, pushing for a quicker process for immigrants to become U.S. citizens.