On November 6, citizens of Bogota, New Jersey will have the opportunity to vote on whether English will become the official language of the Bergen County town. The nonbinding referendum, proposed by Mayor Steve Lonegan, was approved for the ballot by the Borough Council in a 4-2 vote. A heated debate ensued at a town council meeting after the plan was put on the ballot. Watch the video.
Mayor Lonegan has said that the approval would ensure that English would serve to unify his town. "Ultimately, this is for our children," Lonegan said, adding it would help people assimilate. "It's about what we're going to do for our culture." Some citizens have called the mayor and his referendum as anti-immigrant.
If the mayor's ordinance is passed, it would require that all business in the town be conducted and written in English, unless federal or state law require otherwise. No town in New Jersey has an official language.
Last month, Mayor Lonegan tried to force a McDonald's to change a billboard to English from Spanish. McDonald's refused. Watch the video.
FNC wants to know what YOU think — Do you agree with the New Jersey mayor's initiative to make English the official language of his town?
Click on the links in the box on the right to read recent stories on this topic, then e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and jump into the debate!
Check out what FOX Fans are saying:
“Yes. Even though the U.S. is a melting pot, we must remember and respect the language of our Founding Fathers. The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and our Bill of Rights were all drafted and written in English. I'm sure that a lot of Americans populate regions in other countries as well, and I can guarantee that those countries would never even dream of changing their official language to English. Each country has a history, and I don't think it should be changed just to accommodate newcomers.” — Sara (Los Angeles, CA)
“I hope nobody from this town decides to take a trip anywhere in the real world and isn't subjected to having to speak Hungarian, Chinese or whatever in a country that decides to invoke such a law. One thing is having official documents printed in English; another thing is to demand that no other language is uttered outside the family home.” — Zita
“I think every city, county, and state should adopt this English-only policy.” — PK
“It sounds interesting, but not quite what the framers of the Constitution had in mind. They wanted this country to have a diverse background, and allow peoples from all over the world to come here to avoid persecution. Otherwise, they would have made English the national language, as so many other countries of the time had done with their respective languages. That said, we do need to promote assimilation into American society. Determining that it is against the law to speak a language other than English would be a foolish act of isolationism.” — Larry (Corpus Christi, TX)
“Why wouldn't English be the official language in any town in America?” — Dale (Stroudsburg, PA)Jim (Bremen, GA)
“I'm so glad this mayor has the guts to stand up for what most Americans have wanted for our nation for so long. It's about time someone started fighting back.” — Frank (Plano, TX)