JANUARY 27, 2012
Liberals are crying racism in the aftermath of an Arizona judge’s ruling that a city council candidate be removed from the ballot because she doesn’t speak English proficiently enough to hold public office in the state.
The case comes from San Luis, a Mexican border town in southwestern Arizona with about 25,000 mostly Hispanic residents. U.S.-born Alejandrina Cabrera, who graduated from a public high school in Arizona, is running for a spot on the town’s council yet she barely speaks English. Her attorneys claim that forcing her off the ballot over the language barrier is a violation of her civil rights.
But since 1910, Arizona law has required “that ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language sufficiently well to conduct the duties of the office without the aid of an interpreter shall be a necessary qualification for all state officers. . . .” Additionally, a measure making English the official state language was approved by an overwhelming 74% of Arizona voters in 2007.
This week Yuma County Superior Court Judge John Nelson ordered Alejandrina’s name stricken from the March ballot after a lengthy hearing that started in the morning and continued into the night, according to a local newspaper report. The judge heard testimony from a sociolinguistics expert who said Cabrera failed to demonstrate English proficiency and Cabrera was not able to respond to questions posed to her in English in court proceedings.
Judge Nelson ruled Cabrera wasn’t qualified to run for office because her English language skills were “only a minimal survival range.” The case reached court after the San Luis City Council approved a motion earlier this month asking for verification that Cabrera meets the state requirement that any person holding public office must speak, write and read English.
In the days leading up to the court hearing, Cabrera was quoted in a mainstream newspaper story admitting that she speaks “little English” and, though she graduated from an Arizona high school, she spent much of her childhood in Mexico. She said in San Luis, few speak English; “You go to a market, it’s Spanish,” Cabrera said. “You go to a doctor, it’s Spanish. When you pay the bills for the lights or water, it’s Spanish.”
As if to justify this, the same article points out that more than 90% of the population in San Luis is Mexican-American and that “Latino civil rights leader” Cesar Chavez died there. Typical of mainstream media coverage of these sorts of matters, the story seems to omit a very important fact; San Luis is in the United States of America.
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