Earlier this month Utah launched, with little fanfare, www.espanol.utah.gov, a Spanish-language companion to the state's Web site at www.utah.gov. The site contained 10 pages of information about taxes, health care, and so on in Spanish. A few days ago they took it down in the face of complaints that it violates Utah's "English as the official language" law. I think I'm going to be sick.
Don't get me wrong. I think that we'll all be better off if immigrants are assimilated into mainstream culture, including language, rather than forming a separate sub-culture. But I'm also a realist and realize that that change happens over generations and the best place to make that happen is in the schools.
The level of xenophobia and insecurity required to say that government shouldn't make useful information available in a variety of formats and languages is just stunning. This is really about erecting barriers, not assimilation. I'm embarrased.
I wonder if putting a link to Babelfish on each page at Utah.gov that said "see this page in Spanish" would violate "official language" laws? From my reading of the law, I don't think so.