Pawlenty: Minnesota Should Consider Switch to English-Only
Minnesota should consider making English its official language, Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) said Tuesday, in the latest of a spate of moves that appear to be brandishing his conservative image in anticipation of a run for president.
The governor floated the idea, but gave no new proposals, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported:
At a news conference outside the governor’s residence, Pawlenty said that as the country becomes more diverse, some people might question which language to use in official documents. He said it might be helpful to clarify that the official language is English.
Immigrants rights advocates in the state told the Star Tribune that making English the state’s official language would penalize legal residents who do not speak English, and could harm public safety if the government could not communicate to non-English speakers during emergencies. A recent move to English-only in a Twin Cities suburb has been called hostile to immigrants, as our sister publication, The Minnesota Independent, reported.
Pawlenty will leave his post before the state legislature comes back into session, so any push for legislation would come under the next governor. Still, his statement seems to be a useful way to cement his conservative image without actually enacting a law. English-only measures seem to have at least theoretical support: 87 percent of Americans said they think English should be the official language of the U.S, according to a May Rasmussen poll.
Pawlenty has not said whether he plans to run for president, but has generated buzz through visits to early primary states — he visited Iowa this weekend — and efforts to raise his profile as a strong conservative.