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US state bars political hopeful for poor English

Thursday February 09, 2012 12:30:20 PM, EFE

Tucson (US): The Arizona Supreme Court has ended the aspirations of Alejandrina Cabrera to run for city council in the border town of San Luis because she does not have sufficient knowledge of English.

"...I can't believe it," John Minore, the attorney representing Cabrera, told EFE Wednesday, adding that in denying his client the chance to appear on the ballot the high court is violating her constitutional rights.

Also, he said, the court's decision could set a "dangerous" precedent for any Hispanic candidate who tries to run for political office in Arizona.

The high court decision ratifies the Jan 27 ruling of Yuma County Superior Court Judge John Nelson.

As a result, Cabrera's name will not appear on the ballots in the primary election being held March 13.

The candidate was running for one of the four available council seats in San Luis, where, according to census data, 87 percent of the residents speak a language other than English and 98 percent are of Hispanic origin.

Cabrera's legal team had argued that although the state of Arizona requires that its public servants have an adequate knowledge of English, it does not specify what knowledge level that should be.

The case arose in December when San Luis Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla began legal proceedings to get the judiciary to determine if Cabrera has sufficient command of English to serve as councilor.

Following the orders of the court and after performing an evaluation, an expert determined that Cabrera, a graduate of an Arizona high school, has enough command of English to be able to get by day to day but not to fulfill the responsibilities of a council member.

Cabrera also had trouble responding to some questions put to her in English by the judge who heard the case.







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(Photo: IANS/Amlan Paliwal)



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