Bush Takes Both Sides In English As Official Language Dispute
President George Bush strode, head-up-high into the controversy over English being declared the United States’s second language — and took both sides of the issue, the AP reports.
The White House took both sides in a dispute over English being the national language Friday as a broad immigration bill moved toward a final Senate vote next week with one conservative predicting it will never become law.
Bush’s support for the dueling sides doesn’t stray from his long-held view on learning English, said White House press secretary Tony Snow.
“What the president has said all along is that he wants to make sure that people who become American citizens have a command of the English language,” Snow said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Will the White House demand a retraction from the AP?
Or was Snow doing damage control due to this report?
President George W. Bush has long opposed making English the country’s national language, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Friday, the day after the Senate voted to do so.
The vote came in an amendment to proposed legislation overhauling U.S. immigration law and directed the government to “preserve and enhance” the role of English. Opponents said it could affect the status of some multilingual services offered by government organizations.
Adding to the confusion, the Senate also adopted a softer amendment calling English the “unifying language” of the United States. Senators take both versions into negotiations over a final bill with the U.S. House of Representatives.
Gonzales did not directly address Bush’s position on the controversial amendment because the Senate has not yet voted on the whole bill. But he said that Bush has in the past rejected such efforts.
“The president has never supported making English the national language,” Gonzales said after meeting with state and local officials in Texas to discuss cooperation on enforcement of immigration laws.
He said Bush has instead long supported a concept called “English-Plus,” believing that it was good to be proficient in more than one language.
“English represents freedom in our country and anybody who wants to be successful in our country has a much better chance of doing so if they speak English,” Gonzales said. “It is of course a common language.”
But, Gonzales said, “I don’t see the need to have laws or legislation that says English is the national language.”
So if you want to know where George Bush stands, who should you believe?
Tony Snow? Or Alberto Gonzales?