Arizona woman off ballot after high court agrees her English isn't good enough
Alejandrina Cabrera answers questions about her ability to speak English in Arizona's Yuma County Superior Court.
February 8th, 2012
12:31 PM ET

Arizona woman off ballot after high court agrees her English isn't good enough

A woman trying to run for the San Luis, Arizona, City Council will not appear on the ballot after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a ruling that her English was not good enough.

Alejandrina Cabrera has been locked in a political battle regarding her proficiency in the English language.  But her story is more than a local election dispute, with possibly widespread implications in a country that prides itself as a melting pot.

In the border town of San Luis, 87% of residents speak a language other than English in their homes, and 98.7% are of Hispanic origin, according to 2010 U.S. census data.  Most of the people there, by all accounts, speak both English and Spanish.

“I think my English is good enough to hold public office in San Luis, Arizona,” Cabrera told CNN en Español in an interview conducted in Spanish.

“I am not going to help (at the White House). I will be helping here.”

Last month, Yuma County Superior Court Judge John Nelson ruled the woman's name should be taken off the ballot after testimony from linguistics experts and Cabrera. A U.S. citizen born in Yuma, Arizona, Cabrera moved to Mexico and then returned to Yuma for the last three years of  school, graduating from Kofa High School.

Cabrera was able to tell her attorney her name and where she was born but struggled with what school she had graduated from, according to the Yuma Sun. After being asked the question three times, without being able to answer in English, the judge allowed Cabrera to leave the witness stand and issued his ruling, the paper reported. In his ruling, Nelson said he wanted to be clear he wasn't saying that Cabrera had an "intelligence" issue but felt she should be removed from the ballot because of her lack of proficiency in English.

Cabrera appealed the ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court Tuesday. CNN has not been able to reach Cabrera, her attorneys and city officials for responses to the ruling.

“It is ordered that the trial court's judgment and orders filed January 27, 2012 are affirmed,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch said. “The City Clerk shall not include appellant's name on the March 13, 2012, City Council election ballot. A written decision of this court shall follow in due course.”

At present it's unclear what factored into the justices' decision, but Cabrera's story has caught the attention of people nationwide and sparked a debate about who is best able to represent the people of a certain community.

“When he took my right to be on the ballot, he took away the right of the people who want to vote for me,” Cabrera said after the judge's initial ruling.

As Cabrera's story attracted attention, much of the debate centered on two issues. First, some of CNN's readers said candidates for public office should be able to speak English well. But others argued that the people of San Luis could decide if Cabrera was qualified and choose whether or not to vote for her.

The dispute began when Juan Carlos Escamilla, the mayor of San Luis, said he was concerned that Cabrera might not have the proper grasp of the language for the job. Escamilla filed a lawsuit in December asking a court to determine whether Cabrera's skills qualified her under state law to run for the council seat.

Cabrera admits she isn't the most fluent in English.

Instead of the confident, strong way she speaks in Spanish, Cabrera talks a bit more slowly, and perhaps with less conviction, when she switches to English. She says she can communicate at the level she needs to in English, given where she lives. She grades her English proficiency as a 5 on a scale from 1 to 10.

“I am a very honest so I can tell you I’m not fluid in English, but I do understand it. I can read a letter. I can read a book,” Cabrera said. “Right now I have a private tutor helping me improve my English.”

In 2006, Arizona passed a law that made English the official language of the state. Nearly a century before, in 1910, Congress passed the Enabling Act, which allowed Arizona to become a state with certain requirements. Among them was one that addressed the English language.

"The ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language sufficiently well to conduct the duties of the office without aid of an interpreter shall be a necessary qualification for all state officers and members of the state legislature," a section of the act reads.

But Cabrera's attorneys argued in court that her disqualification was unfair and may be unconstitutional, saying there is no standard for a specific level of proficiency for a City Council candidate.

“Unbelievable,” John Minore, one of Cabrera's attorneys told the Yuma Sun after the high court ruling. “This is a fine example of judicial activism. Arizona now has a English standard to be on a ballot but doesn't tell you what that standard is. It's amazing that people in government who are in power can spend taxpayer money to keep people off the ballot. This is Hispanics keeping Hispanics off the ballot, compliments of the San Luis City Council.”

The court battle is part of a growing discussion about English in a country where people come from a variety of backgrounds. During a recent presidential debate, GOP candidates said that English should be the official U.S. language and should be the only one taught in school.

Bob Vandevoort of the advocacy group ProEnglish said that the country would be more cohesive if English were made the standard language in government.

"We are concerned as far as government goes; we don't want to see us become a multilanguage nation. We want to see a nation that has one language as far as government is concerned," he said, adding that what people speak at home is a different issue.

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, said there should be more opportunities to ensure everyone has the resources to learn English. He said there are long lines to get into classes in several cities, with so many people trying to learn English.

But Vargas argues a candidate doesn't necessarily need to have full English proficiency to run for office.

"I think it should be up to the voters to decide what kind of representative they want," he said. "I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to not be able, to not allow someone to present themselves to the voters as a candidate because of their language abilities."

It's unclear what Cabrera's next move may be, but there may still be one way for her to run for the San Luis City Council: as a write-in candidate.

Nevertheless, Cabrera's battle will surely advance the debate about language in America and politics.

Let us know what you think about the issue in the comments below. Do you think the right decision was made?

soundoff (2,004 Responses)
  1. Shawn

    Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin are rolling over in their graves.......

    This is America, we speak it or leave it.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • gremlinus

      Ironic statement, considering Franklin (as I recall) wanted German for the national language.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • PennyNot

      Then don't graduate kids from high school without the english language skills you want to require. She graduated from a high school in the same state that now says she can't speak english.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil in Oregon

      You can speak whatever language that you want in this country, BUT, you can't be a representative to the US govt unless you speak English.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • oiler_head

      Tell that to the INS office in Brownsville, TX. All signs and communications are done Spanish first – English only if asked. I went through this numerous times while awaiting my green card (I'm a Canadian citizen). The english only sentiment is a joke and not based in reality. The US should embrace the fact that Spanish is widely spoken in the lower 48 and should offically adopt it as a national language. Its happening unoffically anyways...

      February 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • nkm

      Not really ironic, Gremlinus. The founding fathers had to settle on a language and several were considered, including German, before they decided on English.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jarod

      @Greminlin.... You are absolutley wrong. Franklin was afraid that Germans and other immigrants coming into the colonies were bringing a culture and language that was unwanted by all the founding fathers including the T. Jefferson, who was a liberal. He famously asked, "Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us, instead of our Anglifying them?"

      February 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Watson

      >> This is America, we speak it or leave it. <<

      And exactly where to, Professor?

      She is an American, born here, and all that Jazz... And no American is required to leave America just because he or she is not proficient in English, and least so because some Tom, Dick or Harry with a keyboard feels that she should. Contrary to popular belief, this is a nation of laws, and no law compels an American citizen to leave this country, for any reason whatsoever.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flippity Flappity

      the founders entended us to speak american english and make emmigrents speak english. lern english spikos.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. boarddog

    Speak the official language of our country or no public office for you!

    February 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • everettreb

      Actually we don't have an official language. I wish we did but we don't.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • everettreb

      I meant to add that our government refuses to make English the official language.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drowlord

      English is the official language in most states, including Arizona. Several other states allow multiple concurrent languages to be used in state business, as long as English is one of them. The main reason we don't have a national language is because German was such an important language for so long in this country.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • nick

      what official language? we dont have an "official" language. some states have laws requireing people working in the government to speak english, but nothing requiring citizens to speak it. most just learn it out of necesity when moving here or because it is the right thing to do.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cal vet

      Arizona does have an official language...the US doesn't.

      February 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flippity Flappity

      shes probably on welfare anyway with 12 kids and foodstamps. lern english.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mandy

    If you can't answer simple questions in English, your English isn't good enough for politics. Like it or not, this country is based off of the English language. Yes, I know Spanish is a close second, but that isn't the main language. Also, she lived most of her life in Mexico. I would prefer to have someone who has lived their whole life in the US be in office.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      Tell that to Arnold.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      "lived their whole life in the U.S.?"

      That excludes Henry Kissinger, Gen. John Shalakashvili, Marco Rubio (I think), and lord knows who else. You might prefer that, but most people would agree that's an extreme standard for any office other than the Presidency.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RanXerox

    how did she even go through high school without being able to speak a lick of english? how is this possible? what were her grades? is this the ole just pass them thing no matter what their grades are like they do in ghettos?

    February 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drowlord

      Yeah, that's probably the thing that bothers me the most. How could she have even rudimentary school credentials (like a high school diploma or a GED) if she can't speak the official language of the state she went to school in. I speak better Spanish than she speaks English, having no Spanish culture, having never lived in a Spanish speaking country or taken a Spanish language class. There's just "enough Spanish" being spoken in Texas that normal people pick some of it up without trying.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    1st off, shame on the highschool who let her slip by without learning english. And 2nd. Rules are rules. we the citizens speak english and would like to ne able to communicate with our leades. Its like the billbord down the street. Why would I buy thier product if I cant understand the sign.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe blowsky

      do you call this babble english?

      February 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Madison

    Arnold became Governor of California, and he doesn't speak english. Obama speaks some hybrid version of obonics and jive, and he was on the ballot. Ain't no problem if you axe me.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • everettreb

      Arnold speaks perfect English, Maybe with a slight accent but his English is great.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe blowsky

      wow, the racists are really getting out of control. time to get a job, buddy.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Floridensis

      I warrant that the English of that Harvard Law School alumnus is far better than yours. You obviously have never listened to Obama speak; I have.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      WOW! Obama speaks what?? He probably has a better grasp of the Queen's language than you do! Are you a Harvard grad?? Guess you're a Repug.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Citizen

      Nobody axed you Madison but as ignorant as you are they should

      February 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drowlord

      Not speaking a language is very different from having an accent or using a bit of slang.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RanXerox

    when the teachers in high school asked her questions how the heck did she respond? how did she pass english class without speaking english?

    February 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. David Floridensis

    Did it occur to you that many people in the border region speak Spanish natively and probably have a longer family history of being in that part of the US than you might? Did it further occur to you that you do not speak the native language of any part of North America, but rather a language that was imported into North America ca. 1607 by land-thieves? Did it further occur to you that perhaps vulgarity in the public forum is considered at least as undesirable? How would you like it if someone were to demand of you that you speak Dine or Inde or Lakhota or Tsalagi (to you, Navaho, Apache, Sioux, or Cherokee) or get the (expletive deleted) out? And there are several posters who by their own logic should be disqualified from running for office because their English is atrocious.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • noodlez

      ahh, this is a great reason to make English the national language. because 98% of the United States as a whole, speak English. When you migrate to another country, you are doing so because you believe that country is better suited to you than the one you are leaving. therefore, does it make any sense to you that the country receiving you, should try to incorporate your countries language or customs or laws even? Absolutely not. If those things meant so much, and were so good, you would not have left your country to begin with. But now that you have, its time to show the respect deserved and learn the language of the country that is accepting you in and support their customs.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Good point! However try Switzerland, where three languages are spoken!

      February 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • mdubbs

      Because the COUNTRY (not the land of North America) was founded by ENGLISH SPEAKING EUROPEANS. Not Native Americans, not hispanics... If you weren't an illegal immigrant, you'd know the history of our country.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Mondana

      Wow, you are an idiot. Do you know just how dumb you sound when saying that the only indigenous people of North America are somehow foreign? By emphasizing COUNTRY over "land of North America" and using ENGLISH SPEAKING EUROPEANS you get even dumber. You even used the words NATIVE American.
      I guess I'll throw a bone your way. Europe uses many languages. By the time the country (as you seem to define it) was founded, there were large pockets of French, German, Dutch and a few others spoken throughout many of the states.
      Take a peek just North of our country and you get to Canada, a country founded by many of those same folks you speak of and guess what? They use French as an official language (yes, not everywhere) right along with English.

      One last little detail. Those English speaking founders aren't "native" speakers either. Today, many schools in the UK and former holdings of the Empire are teaching Gaelic and other native languages again. Look up the actor Rhys Ifans (I hope its spelled right) and he will gladly demonstrate "native" English.

      The funny thing is that I support the idea that any government employee needs to speak fluent English. English has become the unofficial "official language" of the country simply by default. Not because English is some kind of holy tongue that should be used as though it just tripped off the tongue of the Angels.
      Only mouth-breathers think English was somehow proclaimed as the only proper language to be used in America.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ivy

      Your version of the history of our country is full of holes. It was originally founded by the Spanish, until it was overtaken by the English colonies from up north! You are such an ignorant, please go back to your cave.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • nick

      realy???? english speaking people where the first europeans to settle texas, arizona,california,new mexico, and all the states the made up the louisiana purchase?? i thought they spoke spanish and french, but i guess im mistaken. strange.......considering i always paid attention in history class to......oh well

      February 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      Did it ever occurr to you that Spanish is a language also brought to the Americas by "land-thieves" Spain is also a European country remember? Or did you think the MAyas & Aztecs spoke Spanish?

      February 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • gTy

      Activist judge! Why not allow her to run and let the people decide if she should represent them?

      February 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Did it occur to you that she can't even properly pronounce the word "english?" How can you sit there and rightfully defend someone who cannot even pronounce the language she's also not able to speak? What does it matter that some people have more history in that region of the U.S. than other people? How does that automatically qualify them? It makes no sense. By no means am I saying that Hispanics or other ethnicities shouldn't be able to run for public office, but if you're on THIS side of the border, then you need to be able to speak THIS country's language. Which unfortunately for you sir, is not Spanish, and most certainly is NOT HALF-ENGLISH.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      did it occur to you that spanish is not a native language to north america either?

      February 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gerry Esposito

      The answer is simple. This is the United States. The primary language is English, not Spanish. If you want to speack it, then go to a country that does. We do need and should not accomadate those that live here and can not speak the language.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      And yet you typed your post in ENGLISH. Why didn't you use a different language, the so call native language of this land?

      February 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      This is the standard reconquista reply. Spanish is a colonial language, even now being imposed on indigenous people in Mexico and all over Latin America, their lands are still being taken from them by Spanish mestizos and landinos and European settlers, and as they are being deracinized. By your logic people in Mexico should also be learning Zapotecan, Nahautl, Quechua et al. I personally am in favor of having these languages taught. It is too late for most North American indigenous people, who are doing an admirable job of coming together to pool their cultural resources and create a power base. I read recently of a couple of girls who represent a group of people no longer using their settler imposer Spanish name, but their native American names. There is a project in California that lists many of the missions, with the names of the native Americans and the new Spanish names they were forced to take on. There is little moral difference between Eglish and Spanish as far as colonial/settler imposition goes. However it is almost too late here. In Mexico, however, the native Americans are not honoured or helped as First Nations. Even in the US hispanics mock and abuse and rob native Indigenes who come up from Mexico. So save your indignation, and get off the race card. There are many black, white and brown people here who also share indigenous blood. But the living indigenous communities that still exist are being attcked. It is often American volunteers with cameras who go to help and record what the Mexican government and its thugs are doing to these native communities. Why can't this lady just take a year and learn English? She is young, and it is not divisive or controversial, unless she wants to be a drama queen. I don't like demagogues who use these kinds of cheap tricks to get a local following, it is divisive.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat

      It's like that bumper sticker that says "why should I have to dial one for English" and has a US flag on it. It should have the flag of England on it.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Schwendler

      Yes. Please explain what you are babbling about.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • timmy

      if i was living in a country where that was the language I would learn it. In America, we speak english, not spanish.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • one-time86

      Technically mexico is in america just not the united states but in the americas the speak english french spanish potugese all kinds of c ra p i think we should all learn vulcan

      February 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • boarddog

      Did it occur to you that none of what you says matters today?

      February 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      She was running for a local office. The local level of government submits to the state level of government, and then of course the Federal government presides over it all yet apparently separate. My point is that while she may be qualified at the local level, she still has to deal with those above her at the state and Federal level to effectively do her job. They aren't bilingual, and why should they be? She isn't.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJ

      Spanish is not a native language.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • PA Bucks County Resident

      Are you serious? Please, the English, Spanish and French speaking people made land deals with the Native Americans and yes there was also land theft invoved. The English language was left to dominate, especially after the American Revolution. Which of the hundreds of Native American languages would you prefer? and many without any form of written expression except for pictograms, which would have made them oh so practical. Do you realize how competely naive and silly you sound? The country is an English speaking country. My family came to this country and learned English BEFORE they got here (German, Hungarian...but my Irish family were already forced to know English two hundred years in Ireland already). In fact my grandmother from Hungary could read, write and speak English, German as well has her Hungarian. What the heck is this lady's problem? English is a wonderful language that is the most influenced by other languages already. If this woman was serious she would have learned English better...and please, in that area of the US wouldn't you want to have your elected official to be bilingual? She isn't equipped to be a representative of ALL the people she would have to represent.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Oh God, get off your high horse. This is a states rights issue. The federal government gaveA rizona the ability to make laws such as this. They made the law, now people of that state must abide by it, or work to change the law through appropriate legislation. However, as you are probably an ardent supporter of illegal immigration, following laws probably isn't something you are very supportive of anyways.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Democrats are Good

      You are an idiot. The indians invaded the americas from asia. The mexicans from south america. Who cares what they think. Just redistribute their wealth and support Obama.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      David Floridensis – land thieves from the 1600's? Come on man, show me a point on the map that hasn't been "stolen" by one group of people from another. You can't do it. And you're right, it's not the "native" language of America, but it's been the language of the people who stole it for the last 500 years.

      Look, I'm all for immigration and being a melting pot. I wish I was as fluent in another language as she was in English. The bottom line is still that she wants to represent the people of the United States of America, where for the last 500 years we've been spreading English. Even if she's representing people who speak primarily Spanish in their homes, she needs to be able to communicate their needs to her legislative peers – in English. If she can't, then she shouldn't be put in that position, it's as simple as that.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • gumbalay

      u r peee-peee

      February 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Did it occur to you that your argument is based on events that took place centuries ago, and have 0 baring on events today? We can't change the past, we can only deal with the way things are today. And the way things are today, we speak English in this country. It may not be the legal official language, but it is the language spoken by the majority of the population, and it is the language which the law in that state says is required in order to hold office.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • davec0121

      Yes, all those things occurred to me, since I grew up in S. Texas. However, there are a some key points you are overlooikng. Firstly, in regard to 'imported' languages: that was then, and we need to deal with the reality of now. Afterall, Dine replaced earlier native languages, so should Dine speakers have to learn the language of the previous people? Secondly, besides being the law, requiring English to be spoken in government does not attack Hispanic culture. It doesn't forbid people from speaking whatever language they want elsewhere and doesn't prohibit any practices. All it says is that the government should be run in English. The example of Canada or Belgium shows the effects of having different languages represented in government. Thirdly (and most importantly), insistence on Spanish (or some other non-English language) is a mechanism of self-segregation and isolation for the people who do that. Like it or not, English is the dominant language not only in the U.S., but in the world. Proficiency in English is a requirement (both formally and informally) in business, education, the military and other fields, and not just in the U.S.. Not meaning to sound racist, but the fact is that in most major corporations, the only signs you see in non-English languages tell you the floor is wet. To insist on the primacy of Spanish (or any other language) isolates the people from the mainstream of the U.S. My grandparents spoke very poor English (they were Sicilian immigrants), but they insisted that their children speak American (my mother taught English). So, people can maintain their culture and language, but it behooves both them and the country that English be used as a common denominator of government.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      Did it ever occur to you that the people she will need to speak to in order to get anything done will be English speakers? Like it or not, English IS practically the language of this country and most importantly, the common language within which the US government operates. It's well and good that most of the folks within her district speak Spanish, but where does that get her in non-local government meetings where everyone else is speaking and expected to understand English, or when she's dealing with others in government? What you're saying is simply not practical in the day-to-day business of being involved with a state or national government operates within the English language, not the Spanish language.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just Me

      Wa, wa, wa, WA! The people who are alive today did not steal the land from the Indians or Mexico. Those folks are long dead. If you made every group move off the land they stole through war or expansion, everyone would be displaced. I'm not saying it's right, but that it's the past. If you continue to argue the past, then you won't go forward. Find a solution in today and stop whining.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • OhNo...

      Troll. Like it or not this is America now. I did not run off the American Indians or barter/fight with Mexico for land. Things change and evolve.

      February 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • emaercus

      There have been countless wars, genocides, displacements, etc ever since our ancestor monkeys could pick up a rock. Your rationale and calling others land-thieves is pathetic. Do you think there was someone in your own lineage who wasn't a land thief? Read some history books and post something intelligent amgio.

      February 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • nyrebel

      If I were immigrating to another country, I am sure I would want to and would be expected to learn their language. I know first generations from other countries that have come here and learned English (with great pride). They wanted to be part of this country. Most people speak English. It's just the way it is. It doesn't matter that it wasn't the native language. There were many native languages that are spoken only within their respective enclaves.

      February 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackola

      Fine and dandy but we need one language to unite us. English is the most logical one to choose (despite it being a hated language by many for it's difficulty to learn).

      February 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      Did it ever occur to you Mr. Arrogant, Whining, Hispanic, that the Spanish were the original land theives there?

      February 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy


      February 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • eb79

      I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but the world was a much different place back then. I feel horrible for the Native Americans and I'm sure everyone regrets the bloodshed, but I think the world is actually a better place because of it. Just imagine where you'd be if history was rewritten.

      But anyway, this is about today. Simply put, you have to be able to speak the language of your coworkers.

      February 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Parkerman

      Nice rambling, but meaningless. History is over, this is now the United States and we have a common language which unites us and that is English. You can know mulitiple languages, but one of them must be English fluently.

      February 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • topogeeeeeejo

      Too bad!! Too bad!! English (fluent) should be our national language, and to hell with all you mexicans who are too lazy to learn it, and too spoiled to get off your asses and study.

      February 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen


      February 9, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Doesnt matter. Laws have been set unto the land that many different people have long called home. One of those laws, is to speak english in a political or governing position. These laws come with benefits as well, and one of those is her not required to speak english in her day to day life. Job requirement: learn english. No? Then get another job.

      February 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • indie

      Land thieves? Maybe, but we are here now. Your ancestors didn't put up much of a fight to keep it. You are welcome to try to take it back if you like. Until then, we speak English now.

      February 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reflecto

      Did it occur to you that she could have avoided this whole mess by learning her native tongue? Government business is conducted in English, and a functional illiterate like Ms. Cabrera would be incapable of following the rules of government because she is not equipped to learn them.

      February 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      Did it occur to you that she should not be selfish and even run for office until she can speak fluently? It isn't about race, it is about being conducive to the solution and not causing more problems. There are plenty of office holders that are of Mexican descent; but guess what? They speak English very well. Also, according to your analogy if YOU live in the U.S. then you are a land thief as well. Just saying.

      February 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • pogojo

      borders of countries were created through wars, the indians, lost the war, the spanish lost the war, check out general. Santa Anna or the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. You lost get over it... In a soccar game when one side wins,, years down the road you dont take it away from them and tell them the other team won right? You lost move on.....

      February 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • stwbnc

      U mad bro?

      February 8, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • MEH

      Woulda had a lot more effect if you wrote this in one of those languages but you chose english. Haha

      February 8, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • AKat

      Oh, so Americans are "land-thieves"? Well, what were the Spaniards who took gold and land from the Indians in Central and South America?

      February 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Manuel J.

      Actually, a FEDERAL requirement for AZ being allowed into the Union in 1912 was lthat English be used in government business.

      Fast forward to today, my maternal grandmother and many "tios" came to this country from Mexico... LEGALLY. Many of my relatives, as myself, have served our country. We are all bilingual and speak English well.

      The rest of my relatives of Mexican decent have lived in AZ since at least 1850. If you include my Great-great-great Grandmother, an Apache Indian, my ancestors have lived in AZ for about 10,000 years.

      I also live in AZ and feel that if you cannot speak the language well, as is the case with this particular person, then how can she perform the simple of function of a city council member? In fact, she needed a translator during the court proceedings where an Hispanic bilingual judge presided. If any one of us were to reside in another country, it is expected AND mandated that you speak the language.

      That said, what's the issue with the judge's ruling???

      February 8, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Watson

      >>> And there are several posters who by their own logic should be disqualified from running for office because their English is atrocious. <<<

      As a foreign-born naturalized American, I could not agree more. Quite often it seems to me that I speak and write far better English than many Americans. If "English-only" were to be made an essential criterion for any aspect of citizenship, then, ironically, a huge percentage of "English-only" supporters would have to be disfranchised, if not de-Americanized altogether.

      Seems to me that this country won its freedom largely owing to the Englishman not being able to take any more assaults on his dear old language, and deciding to leave, under duress.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • ParadeFaith

      Did it occur to you that Spanish is a European language and by your twisted logic has no more right to be imposed than English. It doesn't matter what the history is, the point is that she cannot function effectually as a representative of her district if she isn't fluent in English as her duties require that she be able to read and understand the laws, regulations and policies and procedures of the city, county and state in which she resides and that she be able to communicate with those outside her district who speak English. The southwestern United States is not part of Mexico nor is likely to become so. Drop your irredentist fantasies and focus on what is best for the people. Think about it, would the lives of the people in the Southwest be better if that land reverted to Mexican control?

      February 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Just which one of the afore mentioned languages would you like to be the official language of the USA? Maybe every state should have it's own language, would that appease you? Sounds like you are ahamed to be here. That's the beauty of America, anyone who doesn't like the language or is ashamed to be here is free to relocate to any 3rd world crap hole they desire.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      All very good points, David, especially about the atrocious English of many posters! How many of them could pass a test on basic English?

      February 8, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • pogojo

      Az is part of America not Mexico, English is our language. Melting pot rember, melt into our culture, not the oppisite.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      As subjects of Rome had to learn Latin, so must citizens learn English in America.

      And for the Indian tribes, tell me of a nation not made by conquest and blood? Can't? Didn't think so.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • caffeinette

      This is an issue of whether someone can fulfill the duties of office when they cannot understand the language of said office. While it would be nice if anyone could use any language they wanted, it simply isn't practical. Regardless of the past, the present state of our country is one that is predominantly English in its governance. For the simple sake of being able to work with other people, learning English is important.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annabelle M

      THANK YOU! Thus far, the only comment I've read that is based in sense!

      February 8, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moi

      Under that logic there are no true "natives" anywhere on Earth since the history of every land is one of waves of immigrants. Yes, even the "Native" Americans came to the Americas from somewhere else. And, they came in waves with each subsequent wave displacing previous immigrants. No one has original rights on America, because we're all (including "Native" Americans) immigrants here. Whether we came from Europe or Asia (as many of the "Native" Americans did), we all came from other places. And, let us not forget, Spanish is the language of the "landthieves" as you called the European immigrants to America.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moi

      Under that logic there are no true "natives" anywhere on Earth since the history of every land is one of waves of immigrants. Yes, even the "Native" Americans came to the Americas from somewhere else. And, they came in waves with each subsequent wave displacing previous immigrants. No one has original rights on America, because we're all (including "Native" Americans) immigrants here. Whether we came from Europe or Asia (as many of the "Native" Americans did), we all came from other places. And, let us not forget, Spanish is the language of the "land thieves" as you called the European immigrants to America.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Realist

      “The conquerors do what they will; the conquered do what they must.”
      History of the world my friend, those who do not have the strength to protect their way of life are exploited. Why do you think that France, Spain, Portugal speak a language with Latin origins? Because said nations were conquered by the Romans. To further branch off of that, why do you think all of South America, Central America, and Mexico speak Spanish or Portuguese? Because the natives were conquered! The people that have “a longer family history of being in that part of the US” are still the descendents of conquerors. You may call modern Americans the descendants of land thieves, but they were descendents with guns and stronger germs and the ability to impose their will and the power to keep it.
      You can protest about the injustice of it all, but it is only an idealists’ fancy. It will not change the way things are because of a vast majority of people like me, who honestly do not care about past injustices, only about the present and future. The world will continue on its present course, uncaring.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • x3zy

      OK. Fine. I have no problem with that at all. I will admit that we are morally obligated to speak the language of the Native people. Just keep in mind that every country in Latin America will also have to abandon Spanish and Portuguese. You know, those horrible languages bought by the oppressive white man and start learning the language of the Aboriginal inhabitants. That's right. Totally transform your traditions, language, culture and start to change like we will have to do in the USA and Canada. Another point, how do you decide which state and which region should start to speak what Native Indian language. Most of Texas was originally ruled by the Apaches but the Commanche kicked them out and ruled most of Texas until settlers fought with them. The Apaches in North Mexico were also kicked into Arizona and Mexico and then fought with the Navajo, Hoppi and settlers. How do we decide which language we should learn?

      February 9, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Indeeds

      I'm a mut of religious refugees and Native Americans. I have no qualms with native languages being spoken in communities and households. I however do think it's important that we always be able to communicate with one another. The last few hundred years have made English the common language, and I think it's best we educate as reasonably possible, all people in this country with the common language. Not for our own welfare, but for thiers. The ability to defend oneselve is extremely important, and that's the issue at hand here. My position on this issue is easily confused with hate mongering, and I contest it is not as I harbor no resentment against my fellow human persons for thier God given right to free will and free speech.

      February 9, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      I am curious as to what your point is on the issue at hand. Do you think a person who holds public office should be proficient in English?

      February 9, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • rbr

      That is a stupid and irrelevant argument. English has always been the dominant language in this country for centuries.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Amen, David. Well said.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
    • DG

      David, did it ever occur to you that the language of the people who brought forth the present-day culture and society in this country, the one which more than any other on Earth has created the modern world, is English? Did it further occur to you that in the 19th century war with Mexico, we won? And did it further occur to you that in 1607, the native tribes who lived on what is now the East Coast of the United States lacked the conception of land ownership to which you and I both subscribe, and that when conflicts did arise with said tribes over land use, again, we won? The past is the past, but side with history's losers if you desire. You probably have a lot in common with them.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
    • twistedcross

      That argument is stale. Open a history book sometime. Mexicans are people originating from the state of Mexico. The area of discussion is within the territory of the United States. If you want to ignore modern demarcation lines, then we will have to also apply the same standard to "Mexico". This area belonged to tribes native to the region...

      The Akimel O'odham (Pima) Indians
      The Apache Indians
      The Cocopah tribe
      The Halchidhoma tribe
      The Havasupai, Yavapai, and Hualapai tribes
      The Hopi Indians
      The Jocome and Jano tribes
      The Maricopa tribe
      The Mohave tribe
      The Navajo tribe
      The Southern Paiute tribe
      The Tohono O'odham (Papago) tribe
      The Yaqui tribe
      The Yuma tribe
      The Zuni tribe

      You will notice "Mexican" isn't one of them. Aztecs would be the former empire you are looking for in your argument, except their territory didn't extend into this region of the United States. Also, Spanish is a European language. If an indigenous tribe such as Comanche want to speak Comanche in Arizona, more power to them. If a Mexican wants to speak Spanish in the United States, they are welcome to move off Comanche land, swim back across the river and live the the country they are so proud to be a part of.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Did it occur to you, or her, that regardless of living in a border region that the US government at all levels operates using the English language? She couldn't possibly be effective if she can't communicate in the language used in the processes of the job. My grandparents native language wasn't English either, but they learned it right away and effectively.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Flippity Flappity

      Dont give a rip. They need lern english.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • JimfromBham

      @ David Floridensis

      Great post, but your thoughts are lost on bigots – they are always right, not matter how wrong they are.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeyE

      so does spanish! It wasn't exist in America either.. please, look up on US consitution.. does it speak spanish? heck no! it's english!

      February 9, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • SGT J

      Yes yes yes, what you say may be technically true. But do you remember that whole "manifest destiny" thing? Has it occurred to you that despite what you say, this issue has been settled and over with. Has it occurred to you that the people in the United States of America, and the people born here are the one's who are now considered to be "Americans" Most know of the past, but we are not speaking of the past, we are speaking of the present, where English speaking should be at least, a minimum requirement to whole public office.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • SHRIKE


      February 9, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Nobama12

      Doesn't it occur to you that people who live in the Border is also United States of America. How silly can you get.. English is the only and official language that must be spoken in every 50 States. I don't give a pile of bean if you like it or not. If you don't speak English than that is your problems and not the State Court or the Supreme Court. I am Hispanic and I do speaks
      English and some Spanish. But I preferred English over Spanish. Why? Because I am an American..period...

      February 9, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • WassupMeathead

      Doesn't it occur to you that people who live in the Border is also United States of America. How silly can you get.. English is the only and official language that must be spoken in every 50 States. I don't give a pile of bean if you like it or not. If you don't speak English than that is your problems and not the State Court or the Supreme Court. I am Hispanic and I do speaks
      English and some Spanish. But I preferred English over Spanish. Why? Because I am an American..period...

      February 9, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Tanker

      The multi-cultural rah-rah aside.

      Law, policy and regulations in the US are written in English. It is not beyond the pale to expect elected officials to speak the language the nations laws are written in.

      Were I to run for office in Mexico, I would expect that I don't speak Spanish to disqualify me.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Lookingatsky

      1. Pre US population in Arizona was tiny.
      2. Spanish is not a 'native' tongue by your definition.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • nazman

      This is present day. Don't be ridiculous.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Who wants to know


      February 9, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      did it occur to you that spanish was imported from europe? Not to mention the slaughter of millions of mexican indians, the import of diseases and the elimination the Aztec, Inca and Mayan cultures by Spain. Why are they so proud of the spanish language?

      February 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reggie from LA

      Yes. That is quited correct in every aspect.
      Argument to the effect of your words are wasted. Had to agree. Don't think I could express it better. In a different context, perhaps, but better, no. Well said.

      February 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Nice ty – Did it occure to you that this is America, you can speak any language you wish, but if you want to run for office, learn the English – Why is that hard for you to understand. My people came from Italy – They spoke Italian until they did what?...Say it with me now...learned english. That's the problems with many from the south. They want to come to America, but don't want to be American. Assimalate to the cutlure or leave. I'm sure she can run for office in Mexico...See how that works out for her.

      February 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • usa#1

      Hey David, did it ever occur to you that being bi-lingual should apply for both english and spanish speaking peoples living down on the border or doesn't english count anymore? It's the law. Obviously, you've never been to Mexico and experienced their immigration laws! It can land you 2 to 5 years in a Mexican prison for teaching anything other than spanish in their country! ...geeeeez where do we get'em!!!

      February 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • retmdfed

      You HAVE to be kidding me??!! I don't care that they live close to the border, if they are in the US they should speak English. Period! Make it the offical language and get it over with. What if she were to get voted in and later run for a higher office and STILL could not speak English, how would she represent the people who didn't speark spanish?? Maybe they should learn spanish? What a fool!

      February 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tanker

      You keep repeating yourself.

      In the United States the law, policies and regulations of government are written in English. That 1000 years ago they were written in Mayan or Aztec is irrelivant.

      February 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • c

      Seriously? You do realize that Mexico lost its territory first to the Spanish conquistadors and then to the US, right? You do realize that Mexico was a Spanish colony hence, Spanish is the official language of Mexico, and the US was a British colony hence, English is the official language of the US. If you are upset about the SW being part of the US, why are you not living in Mexico? I suppose you could try to get the SW to secede from the Union, but why not simply enjoy the privileges that go along with being a US citizen as well as accepting your responsibilities as a citizen, and honoring your heritage privately and personally in your home and community?

      February 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Unit34AHunter

      English is the de facto language of the United States. It has only avoided becoming the statutory language of the United States in the past because immigrants USED TO embrace assimilation through English language proficiency. If people wish to run for public office, they have an obligation to BE proficient at English before becoming a candidate.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • EBase

      Here is a thought, maybe if the engines werent a bunch of animal loving women then maybe, maybe they would have kept there land but this thing i like to call supior fire power then you could have kept the land but the cards have been dealt. English has been the language of this nation longer than you have been alive so just suck it up, learn it, be proficent at it, and move forward.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      nobody told her to leave , she just needs to be understood if holding office

      February 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Wow, really? How many times are people going to use the "land grabbers" and "this wasn't your land until you stole it" crap? Can you name a single place in this world that is industrialized that wasn't taken from the natives that lived there? Humans, by nature, capture and change. So that point is retarded. Also, as others have pointed out, yes, this is a melting pot. However, in order to survive and thrive, one of the most needed concepts is an ability to effectively communicate with one another. English is the language that we use to do that in this country. If you can't communicate, what's the point? Sure, maybe the majority of the residents there can speak Spanish, but what about the other people holding office? It is, by law, deemed that the office holders must speak English because the meetings are held in English. So, what, punish a possible already elected official because he/she speaks English but not Spanish? And yes, the school is massively to blame for letting this woman graduate without being able to speak English well enough to even say where she graduated from.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • s

      I do not believe this is a matter of history, but as the poster above you pointed out, a matter of equal representation. While the majority in that region is Spanish speaking, there are still people who speak English as their only language. The person in question should be able to communicate using both languages effectively. To suggest that we are encroaching on Mrs.Cabrera's rights is a stretch, to say the least, as she does not qualify for such a public position. To shed another light on it, when was the last time you hired a mostly-Spanish speaking person to work in your office?

      February 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shaneeda Quit

      Majority rules.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bo Gosse

      Well said....

      February 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Did it ever occur to you that you might want to speak the primary language of the country you live in ? There have to be standards, and I speak 3 languages. Political correctness should never trump common sense standards.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      It doesn't matter what language the natives spoke in 1607. It doesn't matter where English comes from. What matters is that in 2012, that area where the natives used to live now belongs to the United States where English is the official language. If you want to run for office in this country, you must speak the language of this country. What was going on in that area 400 years ago has no bearing on the law today.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Owens

      Did it ever occur to you that people living in this country for that long should have learned to speak English by now?

      February 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jamcg

      @David Floridensis – Do stop with your nonesense. Every culture that has sustained itself into the modern era displaced another people sometime in their history. If you would like me to walk you through native american cultures subjection and in some cases erradication or their neighbors I would be happy to do. So let's just be honest by your definition every person on this globe is a "land theif" who is guilty of some "artrocious" act committed by their ancestors. So stop with your euro loathing which is short sited and more to the point blatently racist in itself. Many native americans peoples had real problems with communication with some of their neightbors (especially those that were nomadic) so they often created jargons (ie a common language they could use to communicate with people that didn't speak their language\dialect) ... A good for instance would be the Chinook Jargon used by many cultures throughout the columbia basin and northern great basin. The Cayuse, Nez Perce, Yakima, Crow, Northern Piute and Blackfeet seemed to think that being able to communicate with each other was a good The same point holds true here. In the public forum we all need to be able to understand one another so we need pull ourselves out of our comfort zone of speaking our ancestral language and use a common tongue for public affairs. No one is being persecuted here we all just need to be able to understand each other at the pow wow.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Did it ever occur to you that you are writing your comment in the language of the "land-thieves"?

      February 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • S

      Did it occur to you that had we lost WWII we might be speaking German? Did it occur to you that the ability to communicate is imperative in any office? Did it occur to you that most of the people of the USA/Arizona speak English? When she decided to run for office it became her responsibility to learn all of the duties/responsibilities of that office. One of those duties is proficiency to speak English. It became clear to the judge when she could not answer a simple question in English she was not proficient.
      Teddy Roosevelt even said in a speech as president that those who come to America must become fully American and learn English as our language.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzy

      Did it ever occur to you that white Europeans conquer all. We are the most productive, dominant, and civilized people on earth and that will never end. Get over it already!

      February 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Summer

      You are completely wrong. The language in this country is English. Yes there are other languages but if you are going to represent an office of a city/state/etc in America, then you need to know English fluently. PERIOD.

      February 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • 3fingeredjack

      You have many valid points.....BUT. The business of the city is conducted in English. If her reading comprehension is no greater than the speaking ability I heard her demonstrate on CNN then I would have doubts that she could make a rational decision about issues confronting the council.

      February 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ammo777

      It apparently has not occured to you that government and political actions/meetings are conducted in english... whether it's not a "native" language of NA or not, it's what we speak in this country and have since it's inception. Get over it. The "land-thieves" you speak of traded most land for trinkets or guns or new items to them at the time. Blame the ancestors back then for trading poorly. Plenty of land was taken by force i'm sure, but that's how things were done a few hundred years ago when lines were still being drawn for land... as I said before, get over it.

      February 9, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • JT

      The woman cannot speak the language in which the business of government is conducted. This is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story. It is factual, and it is simple. Anything else is made up nonsense.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Land thieves? Are we bringing up again for the 100 time that war that Mexico lost against the US when the Texas asked to join the union. After it had won independence from Mexico.

      I would hope that Dane would ask me to leave if I asked to run for office in his country and couldn't speak there language.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJJ

      Don't be so dramatic...nobody is telling her to speak English or "get the (expletive deleted) out." Also, none of the posters are trying to run for public office – they are making comments about a story on CNN. She is trying to join an organization that conducts its business in a single declared language, and he effectiveness in the role she is seeking (representing others) would be greatly diminished by her inability to understand and/or utilize said declared language.

      As for the rest of your post...what exactly are you getting at? Her having to learn English to participate in government is in no way a violation of her civil rights.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paola

      She graduated from High School in English, how could she have graduated if she cannot speak it!

      February 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob B

      Very foolish comment on your part. The United States is an English speaking country whether you like it or not. If I were a Mexican citizen living in Mexico, I whould be required to speak Spanish fluently before I became involved in any office. In Germany – German... in China – Chinese..., etc. Pretty obvious, I'd say.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob B

      Neither American Indian nor Filipino (or any other language, for that matter) are our national language. Only English is! If some posters can't communicate prooperly in English, then they would be disqualified from Public office, also. But they DO have a right to speak their peice. I would consider YOU unqualified for your refusal to abide by the State law. You seem content in trying to belittle others, while making a fool of yourself.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Your argument is nonsense. Whatever their family history in the region, it doesn't matter one bit in this particular case, nor does it in any way grant anyone superior rights or exception from certain laws. The law in this story is pretty clear about a requirement for holding public office, and she failed to meet it.

      As for your diatribe regarding native languages, if those were the government languages of the land, then anyone running for office should have to learn them. As it sits, the language of government in the United States is English, and therefore anyone wanting to run for any public office should be proficient in that language. I certainly wouldn't expect to run for office in Tijuana with my mediocre mastery of Spanish even if many there speak English.

      February 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    These judges are nuts! In the 19th and early 20th century there were thousands of immigrants in Minnesota who had no English, just Norwegian or Swedish, and they elected representatives just fine.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • RanXerox

      did they have an election law that stated you had to be able to communicate in english?

      February 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Dave, it is just a matter of time before Arizona passes a law if you can't speak English you can't vote....I'd be willing to put money on that...just a matter of time before they try it. I am surprised they don't stand at the voting locations and check everyone's "papers" that look like they are from Hispanic descent.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • RanXerox

      how can you tell by looking at a person if they are hispanic? 40% of whites in the USA identify themself as hispanic

      February 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Ran it is called profiling....just is case you never heard of it.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Finally

    Finally someone speaks up for the American people. I am happy that Arizona is saying enough to letting people who have no attempt to learn English into our society and run for office. You dont go to Hon Kong without Learning Mandarin or Cantonese, Germany with out speaking German or UAE without Arabic ... These people live right below our nation and yet SOMEHOW its difficult for them to attempt to assimilate into our country and they want us to yield ... Get real. Im cool with them coming here to look for work and have a better life ... but saying "well I want you to learn my language and do what I tell you to" when you migrate from wherever isnt going to fly.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jake

    Let me get this right...It is OK for Americans who are not proficient in English to clean your homes, work at fast food establishments, work your lawns and take on many of the jobs Americans who are proficient in English refuse to take on and often opt for welfare over because such work is below them...but when it comes to running for office if you are not proficient in English that is not good enough...what a load of bull.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • RanXerox

      you sure like to make up storys...maybe if you cant speak english it limits the knd of work you can get

      February 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Ran nothing made up there, take a look at who is employed in your local fast food store, who is doing the yard is a fact. And BTW I am a professional and work with plenty of other professionals that are successful and may not have a full grasp on the English language but they do fine and because the company values people for their skills and not based on one area we are extremely successful in these hard times.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      Good point, Jake. Equality at work in the good ole USA!

      February 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • dragonwife

      Holding any of the jobs you list wouldn't necessarily require that you have a good enough grasp of English to go into complex situations and understand what was going on. Being a US or state government official at any level DOES require that you be able to comprehend laws, regulations, propositions, etc. that will be written in English, not Spanish, and to be able to discuss these things intelligently with others involved. Let's put it another way – suppose I am a physician from another country, fully qualified in my field, highly intelligent, but with a limited grasp of English. Would you feel comfortable explaining your symptoms to me and trusting that I will understand and prescribe the right treatment? I certainly wouldn't if it were me, because things can be misunderstood no matter how intelligent both sides are, if you don't speak a common language.

      And by the way, your continued examples of deaf people, mutes, etc. are invalid. Assuming these people could indeed fully read, write, and understand English, being able to type something out on a keyboard or write it on paper is considered being able to "speak" the language; "speak" is understood in this instance as "communicate and make oneself understood". Otherwise, every time a person came down with laryngitis, he/she would have to resign the post because of "not being able to speak".

      February 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Yes Jake, you're exactly right, and bring up a good point. There are many jobs in the US that a person can take that doesn't require language proficiency, but other jobs do. It's simply a 'requirement of the job' and I can easily see where it is relevant.

      February 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. KT

    She would probably be a great city manager for her city considering the demographics. However since most legal things in this country are written and communicated in English, it would behove her to learn English better so that she may be an even better candidate for her city.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LouAz

    We are not forced to be free, as Sartre would so elegantly put it, but instead, we are forced to believe that we are forced to be free- and this has created many personal illusions and subsequent social problems.
    – Lyndon Page (Arlington)

    February 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. joe blowsky

    i do believe that the enabling legislation to make AZ a state (in 1912) had a provision about english proficiency to hold office.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lonnie Wild

    Hypothetical: An American soldier is kidnapped, tortured, mutilated by having his tongue cut out. Returns to his home town in Arizona, wants to run for mayor. Thomas Jefferson would surely not want this NON ENGLISH SPEAKER to run for office.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • RanXerox

      he would still be able to communicate in english even without a tongue.........

      February 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ScottRob10s

      While I don't necessarily agree with the judges ruling, I believe you have a fallacious understanding of it. It isn't about the ability to SPEAK English, but rather to understand it effectively enough to be able to function at the level required to perform the duties of the office. The hypothetical soldier in your scenario would probably understand the language fine, just need another way to communicate (whether that be sign language or writing).

      February 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56