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H.R. 997 (108th): English Language Unity Act of 2003

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

2/27/2003--Introduced. English Language Unity Act of 2003 - Amends specified Federal law to declare English to be the official language of the United States.Gives representatives of the Federal Government an affirmative obligation to preserve and enhance the role of English as the official language of the Federal Government, including encouraging greater opportunities for individuals to learn the English language.Requires the official functions of the United States (meaning, in this case, the States and the District of Columbia) to be conducted in English. Sets forth exceptions to and rules of construction for such requirements.Requires a uniform English language rule for U.S. naturalization, and all naturalization ceremonies to be conducted in English.Amends specified Federal law to declare, as a general rule of construction, that English language requirements and workplace policies, whether in the public or private sector, shall be presumptively consistent with the Laws of the United States.Requires the Department of Justice to issue for public notice and comment a proposed rule for uniform testing of English language ability of candidates for naturalization, based upon the principles that: (1) all citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Laws of the United States; and (2) any exceptions to this standard should be limited to extraordinary circumstances, such as asylum.