chapter  8
28 Pages

Debunking Ten Myths about Language Assistance

Debunking Ten Myths about Language Assistance1

Advocates of making English the “official” language of the United States malign the use of nonEnglish materials and assistance in elections. They insist that bilingual ballots and assistance are unnecessary and harmful. They maintain that language assistance is “a great threat to our national unity” that risks breaking our country up “into many ethnic enclaves”2 of non-English speaking communities.3 Congressman Steve King of Iowa asserted in 2006, “Multilingual ballots divide our country, increase the risk of voter error and fraud, and burden local taxpayers. The multilingual ballot mandate encourages the linguistic division of our nation and contradicts the ‘Melting Pot’ ideal that has made us the most successful multi-ethnic nation on earth.”4