Former Bush Commerce Secretary Chastises Gingrich’s Call To Make English Official Language

MIAMI, Florida — During an immigration roundtable at the conservative Hispanic Leadership Network conference, former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez scolded those (primarily on the right) calling for the United States to adopt English as its official language.

Gutierrez, who served during President George W. Bush’s second term, singled out former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for criticism, telling the audience he “was surprised a little bit with the comment today of Speaker Gingrich of one government language.”

The former Commerce Secretary noted that adopting English as our official language wouldn’t be merely a symbolic measure, but would have ramifications for those who speak a different language because government documents would only be permitted to be printed in English. Currently, many government forms, from the census to election ballots, are often printed in multiple languages, depending on the needs of the community.

“Why not” allow government matters to be conducted in other languages, Gutierrez asked, rhetorically. “Why not?”

GUTIERREZ: We need more than one language in the sense of doing business with the rest of the world. So I was surprised a little bit with the comment today of Speaker Gingrich of one government language. What that means is that if you do the census, you can’t have a questioner in Spanish. Why not? Why not? We’re an international country. We do business around the world. The Chinese pick up a U.S. plan and they read it. We pick up a Chinese plan and we get dizzy. We need more people to… [applause]

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Gingrich’s call to make English the official language follows his 2007 comments when he declared that Spanish was the “the language of the ghetto.”

Yet Gutierrez’s preferred presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is not squeaky-clean on the issue either. In fact, Romney’s desire to make English the official language is identical to that of Gingrich’s.