To the Editor:
Ruben Navarrette’s column titled “Newt Gingrich wants to use language as a club” (December 7, 2011) is incorrect in its claims about the Official English movement. As the Chairman of U.S. English, a 1.8 million member organization that promotes these laws, I am all too familiar with Mr. Navarette’s arguments.
As an immigrant myself, I now speak six languages—and I maintain fluency in my native Spanish. The U.S. Census shows that the number of people living in the United States who speak English less than “very well” rose more than 50 percent between 1990 and 2000. This November, 11.4 percent of Hispanics were jobless, compared to 8.6 percent of the rest of the population. Sadly, a life without English is a life of low paying, low skill jobs.
Official English is meant to reverse this trend. With our global economy, bilingualism is an asset to anyone. But knowledge of English is essential to provide all immigrants with the opportunity to fully live the American dream. Official English is far from “offensive,” as Mr. Navarrette suggests. Rather, it is one of the strongest acts of inclusion our government can offer.
Mauro E. Mujica
Chairman/CEO, U.S. English, Inc.
You can view Mr. Mujica’s letter on the San Jose Mercury News website by clicking here.