Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, introduced a bill Thursday that would make English the official language of the United States. In a statement, Vance said the "commonsense legislation recognizes an inherent truth: English is the language of this country." Under his plan, immigrants seeking U.S. naturalization also would have to pass an English-proficiency test. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo
March 30 (UPI) -- Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, introduced a bill Thursday that would set English as the official language of the United States.
"This commonsense legislation recognizes an inherent truth: English is the language of this country. That is why the overwhelming majority of the American people support this proposal," Vance said in a news release.
"The English language has been a cornerstone of American culture for over 250 years. It is far past time for Congress to codify its place into law, which is exactly what this bill does," Vance said.
The legislation, named the English Language Unity Act, would require government functions to be conducted in English and require immigrants seeking to become naturalized citizens to pass a language test, according to the news release.
Vance wrote in the bill that all citizens of the United States "should be able to read and understand generally the English language text" of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and other laws in the country. He added that "all naturalization ceremonies shall be conducted in English."
"The United States is comprised of individuals from diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds," the text of the bill reads. "Throughout the history of the United States, a common thread binding citizens of differing backgrounds has been the English language."
In the news release, Vance cited a Rasmussen poll conducted in May 2022 that found that 78% of Americans agreed that English should be the official language of the United States.
A report from the U.S. Census Bureau published last year found that English is the most common language spoken at home in the United States and that the use of English has increased steadily since 1980.
Vance noted that many Western nations have legally recognized a national language, including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Brazil, and Denmark, and that at least 31 states in the United States already have made English their official language.
The lawmaker added that the legislation, if passed into law, would not apply to the teaching of languages, requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, communication necessary for national security, or international relations among other exceptions.