Judge: Hispanic City Council Candidate Cannot Speak English Well Enough To Hold Office

Alejandrina Cabrera, a Hispanic woman running for City Council in San Luis, Arizona, was singled out by city officials to take an English proficiency exam to prove she was eligible to hold office. Cabrera noted, “I speak little English,” but that in a city where 98.7 percent of the residents are of Hispanic origin, “my English is fine for San Luis.” But yesterday, Yuma County Superior Court Judge John Nelson decided otherwise and ruled that “she didn’t qualify to run for office based on her language skills,” adding that she had “only a minimal survival range” in English. He made it clear that she didn’t have an “intelligence” issue, just a “proficiency issue.” Arizona’s law making English the official language of the state, passed in 2006, declares “the ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language sufficiently well to conduct the duties of office without aid of an interpreter shall be a necessary qualification for all state officers and members of the state legislature.”