Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard about the ongoing immigration debate. Over the last few months, protesters and politicians demonstrated that there are obviously two sides to the story, but the question is, how will the end-result directly affect the cleaning industry?

At press time, the U.S. Senate had just returned a vote regarding language barriers in the United States. With an initial 63-34 vote, politicians made English our national language.

Following static they received from critics, lawmakers then went back to the ballots and voted 58-39 to make English the nation’s “common and unifying language.”

Some feel that regardless of the bills verbiage, the Senate’s decision on language will have a strong impact on the cleaning industry where many workers have little or no English speaking capabilities. Observers believe the bill could impact hiring and training, as well as the possible loss of funding for companies employing workers who do not speak, read or write English.

The second Senate ruling will still make it difficult for persons speaking limited English to find work, but it will allow them to receive language assistance as required by an executive order enacted under former President Bill Clinton. Cleaners will also be happy to hear that the new version of the legislation will carry fewer penalties than the initial vote.

Only time will tell what type of impact the Senate rulings will have on the industry. Both versions of the legislation will be included in an immigration bill, which the Senate is expected to pass. It will then be sent to conference within the U.S. House of Representatives, where officials expect differences to be resolved.