Opponents of a bill making English Iowa’s official language gathered at the statehouse today. Laotian native Dara Phaisith came to Iowa 22 years ago, and she spoke out against the bill. Phaisith says the bill is insulting, disappointing and unnecessary. Some business leaders say it’ll be more difficult to attract new residents to the state. Rabbi Neil Sandler of Des Moines agrees. Sandler says an “English Only” bill will send a negative message to potential immigrants. But republicans who’re pushing the bill say it sets in law what’s already the practice — and any immigrant who needs a translation to get a drivers license or other government service will get it. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says immigrants who don’t learn English can’t succeed here. The Iowa Civil Liberties Union says Alabama’s “English Only” law is being challenged in the U-S Supreme Court, and it might make Iowa’s proposal unconstitutional.
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