NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

An American Quebec?

August 15, 2003

Hispanic immigration and birth rates raise concerns about the emergence of an American-style Quebec, says Mauro E. Mujica of U.S. English Inc. Although most U.S. Hispanics are native English speakers, and most immigrants acquire English proficiency, there is a growing group of U.S. residents who lacks English skills. Due to their numbers, many of these are Hispanics.

From 2000 to 2003, Hispanics accounted for half the national increase in the U.S. population -- including those born here and immigrants. At 39 million strong, they will soon comprise the majority in much of the American Southwest. They already comprise a majority or near majority in cities such as Miami, Denver, Houston, San Antonio and Los Angeles.

According to the 2000 Census:

  • Some 21.3 million Americans (8 percent of the population) are classified as "limited English proficient."
  • This is a 52 percent increase from 1990, and more than double the 1980 total.
  • More than five million of these people were born in the United States.
  • Canada's dual-language requirement costs approximately $4 billion each year.
  • Canada has one-tenth the population of the United States and spent that amount accommodating only two languages.
  • A similar language policy would cost the United States much more than $4 billion a year as we have a greater population and many more languages to accommodate.

Declaring English the official language of the United States government would bring back the incentive for immigrants to learn English, says Mujica. The "English Language Unity Act," H.R. 997, was introduced earlier this year and the bill already has 74 co-sponsors.

Source: Mauro E. Mujica, "Are we creating an American Quebec? Why Congress should pass the English Language Unity Act of 2003," Human Events, July 14, 2003.


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