This year Representative Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) has brought forward a bill for the third time in the state legislature, HF0064, to make English the official and only language of Minnesota. Senator Bill Ingebrigsten (R-Alexandria) is putting forward the same proposal in the Senate, SF0175.
This bill is nothing more than a racist attack against immigrants in Minnesota that speak other languages. Historically in this country, efforts to suppress other languages are part of racist campaigns to demonize and reprsess non-white, non-European people.
For example the European colonizers of this country committed genocide against the Native Americans. One aspect of that genocide was the attempt to destroy Native American cultures through prohibiting Indigenous people from using their own indigenous languages, and forcing them to speak only English.
Africans brought here as slaves were also prohibited from speaking their own African languages, and were forced to speak English. This was also with the goal of destroying Africans’ culture and spirit once they were brought in chains to the United States.
This current proposal in Minnesota to prohibit the use of other languages for official business like the drivers test, legal proceedings, etc, is a continuation of this shameful legacy of racism and oppression in this country.
It’s part of the well-organized and well-financed campaign by powerful and racist people in this country to attack Latin American immigrants and also immigrants from other places. It comes in the context of SB1070 in Arizona and similar proposals in many other states, and also the anti-immigrant and racist proposals in many states to cancel the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees citizenship to all who are born in this country. It also comes in the context of a rise in deportations, raids, and firings of immigrant workers all over the country. It’s part of the same attack, and we must defeat it.
The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc) is against the racist bill HF0064/SF0175, as we are also against any other anti-immigrant bills.
We believe that no human being is illegal, and we struggle for unconditional legalization for all immigrant workers in this country. We think that while capital can cross borders freely, workers have the same right to cross borders to work and live where they want, with equal rights.
We call on all who live in Minnesota to oppose this bill. To show your opposition to this racist anti-immigrant proposal, contact your state representative and senator. If you don’t know who your reps are, you can find them here. Lets send them the message: “Minnesota is not Arizona! Vote against the racist HF0064 and SF0175!”
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