Schwarzenegger urges immigrants to avoid Spanish-language media
Associated Press
Jun. 14, 2007

SAN JOSE - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told a gathering of Hispanic journalists that immigrants should avoid Spanish-language media if they want to learn English quickly.

"You've got to turn off the Spanish television set" and avoid Spanish-language television, books and newspapers, the Republican governor said Wednesday night at the annual convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

"You're just forced to speak English, and that just makes you learn the language faster," Schwarzenegger said.

"I know this sounds odd and this is the politically incorrect thing to say, and I'm going to get myself in trouble," he said, noting that he rarely spoke German and was forced to learn English when he emigrated from Austria.

Schwarzenegger was responding to a question about how Hispanic students can improve academically. Many journalists for Spanish-language organizations in the audience were surprised by the remarks.

"I'm sitting shaking my head not believing that someone would be so naive and out of it that he would say something like that," said Alex Nogales, president and chief executive of the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

Hispanic immigrants need Spanish-language media to stay informed and "function in this society," Nogales said.

Schwarzenegger has garnered more Hispanic support than most Republican governors in the past two elections, despite some seemingly anti-immigration blunders - such as praising the Minutemen border militia group on a talk radio show.

Schwarzenegger also lauded President Bush's push for immigration reform, saying the country has its first opportunity for change in decades.

But he also said the Senate's current immigration reform proposal, which failed last week, still needs more fine tuning so it can be enforced.