Language Debate in Georgia


If state Rep. Timothy Bearden's resolution passes, voters will decide if the state constitution should call English Georgia's official language.

"We're having to adapt to them rather than them adapt to us, and I just don't think that's fair," said Valdosta resident Stephanie Jaramillo.

"I would counter with that; define for me what American culture is. Our culture is unique because it's a blend, it's a salad bowl, if you will, of all the things that are great," said Valdosta resident Vince Alcazar.

Bearden wants his resolution to move through the committee process this year and to get voted on by the general assembly by next year, which would allow Georgia residents like John Dalton to vote on it in 2008.

"I think it will help the immigrants, it will give them a better chance in this society," said Dalton.

Vince Alcazar grew up speaking both Spanish and English in his home. He says the piece of legislation stems from fear.

"If you ask me today it's more of a xenophobic reaction then it is a genuine concern about integration or a perceived need to get people to assimilate into our society."

If the resolution does get past committees and the general assembly, one thing is certain; Georgia voters will have the power to decide themselves.

Rep. Bearden submitted a similar bill earlier this year that would have forced state and local governments to issue paperwork only in English. It was shot down in a House subcommittee.


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