US English

US English claims to be “the nation’s oldest, largest citizens’ action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States,” founded in 1983 by
Michigan native and resident John Tanton alongside former California Senator S.I. Hayakawa. US English counts among its victories the passage of “English-only” laws in 27 states. While the organization had close ties in its early years to the anti-immigration movement, over the past 15 years it has downplayed these connections and adopted the rhetoric of “English as an official language” and sought to portray itself as moderate and has avoided language that could be construed as racist or nativist. The group maintains that “the passage of English as the official language will help to expand opportunities for immigrants to learn and speak English, the single greatest empowering tool that immigrants must have to succeed.” US English is the largest official language organization with an annual budget of more than $7 million. In the 1980s, much of its funding was funneled through John TantonÂ’s US Inc operation that funded much of the anti-immigration movement. The group does not disclose its funding sources, but does receive money from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

Leaders, Members, and Others Associated with the Organization