Sen. Klobuchar says English should not be US national language; reverses 2007 stand

(Image: HBO screenshot)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar has reversed her position on English being the official language of the U.S.

The Minnesota Democrat and Democratic presidential hopeful announced that she now holds a “strong position against” the English-language amendment which she voted in favor of back in 2007.

“I think that when you look at a state like this state, and a country like ours that is so diverse, you don’t want to have that provision in law because then it would be very difficult to have, say, government documents and other things translated into other languages,” she said at a campaign event in Las Vegas on Friday, according to The Associated Press.

Her remarks come a week ahead of the nation’s third nominating contest in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries set to take place in a state with a large Latino population.

“So that is not a position I take. I did vote that way, but way back then, along with many other people,” Klobuchar said, referring to the vote aimed at reversing former President Bill Clinton’s executive order requiring that government materials be made available in other languages in addition to English.

Klobuchar voted along with 16 other Democrats in favor of the amendment that would have reversed Clinton’s 2000 order requiring federal agencies to come up with a plan on how to provide their services to people with “limited English proficiency.”

The three-term Minnesota senator joined other moderate Democrats at the time to vote yes on the amendment which was sponsored by Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, who said then that it was about “preserving our culture and heritage” and would “send a message to all those who have come to our country and all those who will immigrate here in the future that English is the language of our land.”

Then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama had voted against the amendment as did Klobuchar’s current 2020 rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“I embrace immigrants,” Klobuchar said this week.

“Immigrants don’t diminish America — they are America,” she said in Reno on Friday, lamenting that she took “a lot of heat” for being too soft on immigration in her 2006 bid for the Senate.

Riding on the success of her third-place finish in the New Hampshire primary this week, Klobuchar is coming under scrutiny for her voting record and policy stances.

“I’ve heard some people say that, you know, my experience is not relevant because you have to have Washington experience in order to become a president,” former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Thursday.

“But some of those same voices are among those who voted to confirm Kevin McAleenan as the CBP head who presided over, for example, the horrifying conditions that children were kept in, and we have to look at what kind of judgment that experience has brought,” he added, without mentioning Klobuchar by name.

But the Minnesota Democrat reacted to the remarks by telling the AP Friday that she “vehemently” disagrees with Trump’s immigration policies. She also pointed out that Obama officials and other Democrats voted for McAleenan as well. Klobuchar’s 2020 competitors, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren had voted against confirming McAleenan.

In a new poll released on Friday. Klobuchar and Buttigieg were tied with 10 percent support from likely caucus-goers in the state with a more diverse electorate. The poll, conducted by WPA Intelligence for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and AARP Nevada scored Sanders with 25 percent support followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 18 percent.


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