Arizona passes law banning multilingual requirement for businesses
Ethel C. Fenig
legislation affirming that nothing in state law requires businesses to provide “trained and competent” interpreters when a customer comes in speaking a language other than English. Assistant Attorney General Michael Walker said that has probably always been the law.
If it was always the law, why the need for this law? Because of a lawsuit of course. A unilingual Spanish speaking woman in Arizona was treated by a unilingual English speaking optometrist in his Arizona office. The woman’s underage 12 year old daughter offered to be the interpreter; fearing legal, insurance and medical problems if the child misunderstood the optometrist refused, asking the mother and child to return with an English speaker over 18 or alternatively, visit some Spanish speaking optometrists. Instead, the Spanish speaker, whether legally in this country or not, understood enough of this country to file a discrimination suit against the English speaking optometrist. Refusing to settle, the optometrist finally won after the Arizona Attorney General took a year to decide no laws had been broken.
But the lawsuit and the trouble it caused the optometrist, Dr. Schrolucke, pushed him to reach out to
Sen. John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, who agreed to sponsor what he called “clarifying language” to the state’s civil rights law.”Nobody should be treated like this,” Huppenthal said. “It’s a nightmare to go through this. He was drug through the mud by us.”
Learning other languages, studying other cultures can be valuable, can be interesting but should not be a legal requirement for a person’s business. Learning the language, studying the culture of the country of residence for an immigrant should be legally required for such public activities as voting and obtaining such government documents as a driver’s license.
If the immigrant cannot or will not adapt and prefers to live in an ethnic ghetto that is the immigrant’s right. But imposing the alien culture onto this country, expecting the host culture–the US’s–to adapt to the immigrant’s culture by rule of law and suing to bring it about should be illegal.
Step by step Arizona is proving to be the little state that can!