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March 1997 English-Only Legislation

The JCRC reaffirmed and communicated to the MO House and Senate, its March 1996 opposition to “English Only” legislation.

The stated goal of the English-Only movement is to make English the official language for the purpose of integrating immigrants into American Society. Some of the reasoning of English-Only proponents might on its face appear to be unobjectionable. Of course, all Americans should be encouraged to learn to speak, read, and write English. Probing more deeply, however, English-Only proponents send a message that is inconsistent with the open society that is at the heart of American Democratic pluralism.

The Jewish community understands the pain of new immigrants as it recalls its own experiences as new immigrants in America, particularly at the turn of the 20th century. The JCRC has long held the view that democratic pluralism is central to the security and well being of all Americans. It is within the context of these views that we oppose any legislative measure making English the official language of Missouri.

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