Late Wednesday night a Yuma County Superior Court Judge ruled that Alejandrina Cabrera, candidate for the city council the the border community of San Luis, Arizona should be removed from the ballot because she did not speak English proficiently. The ruling came after the San Luis City Council approved a motion on Jan. 13 asking for verification that Cabrera meets the requirements of a state law that any person holding office in the state, county or city must speak, write and read English.
The ruling has sparked controversy over what “proficient” means, especially for border communities and residents like San Luis and Cabrera.
As part of the removal process Cabrera had to be evaluated by linguists. In this case, the linguist, William G. Eggington, a professor at Brigham Young University in Utah testified that based on his interviews and tests Cabrera had “basic survival level” English. The judge concluded this was enough to warrant removal from the ballot since those skills likely fell below what is needed to participate in city business.
Cabrera and her lawyers are considering an appeal of the decision.
What do you think? Should states have English-proficiency requirements for elected leaders?
Photo from HowardLake via flickr.
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