DE PERE - A renewed push to make English the official language in Wisconsin is getting mixed reviews.
As we've reported, State Rep. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) is again behind the proposal.
A similar push fizzled out in the Legislature back in 2009.
"It's something that really promotes English as a vehicle for advancement, climbing the societal ladder in pursing the American Dream," explained Jacque.
Jacque says his plan would make state and local governments stick to English when it comes to official documents, with exceptions to individual cases.
"There are certain exceptions that are written in for public safety and public health, the court system as far as victims’ rights and defendants," Jacque said.
The proposal would also prohibit the government from blocking anyone's efforts to learn a foreign language.
"Why are we wasting time for this?" said Gabriela Gamboa with the Hispanic Community Council of Northeast Wisconsin.
Gamboa feels it's unnecessary.
"It's part of your freedom not to stereotype something, not to say this is what we are now? I do care about this country, that's why I'm here. I do care about people, I do care about everything, it's me who chooses to learn," Gamboa said.
Immigrant advocacy groups like Voces de la Frontera call Jacque's proposal an embarrassment.
In a statement, the group wrote: "English-only legislation only serves to disenfranchise our New Americans, and promote artificial divisions in communities across Wisconsin."
But Jacque stands behind the proposal saying it would encourage individuals to learn the language and improve their prospects.
"This isn't saying that English is the only language, it's saying that English is the official language," Jacque said.
According to U.S. English, Inc., a citizens group that works to preserve the language in the U.S., 31 states have made English their official language.
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