Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, campaigning for Iowa Republicans on Friday, said that while the United States should embrace its diversity, all students should be immersed in the English language.
"If you're going to be successful in America, you have to speak the language of the land," Romney told a group of about 60 Dallas County elected officials and Republicans on Friday in West Des Moines.
Romney spoke at a fundraiser breakfast for state Rep. Ralph Watts, who is seeking re-election in November. Watts, of Adel, faces Democrat Russ Wiesley of Waukee.
Romney is eyeing the 2008 presidential nomination. This is his seventh trip to Iowa since 2004. The 2008 Republican presidential nominating process is scheduled to begin with the Iowa caucuses.
Romney said he has been a proponent of "English immersion," in which a bilingual student is placed in a classroom where all materials, books and instruction are in English.
Voters in Massachusetts approved a ballot initiative for English immersion in 2002, the same year Romney was elected.
Romney vetoed legislation the next year to soften the law and allow bilingual education to continue, but his veto was overridden.
Romney said English immersion has worked in Massachusetts, where fourth- and fifth-graders this year rated first in the nation on standardized English tests.
Having grown up in California and living in Latin America (immersing myself in their language and culture), I agree that English Immersion is the only way to go. It's better for EVERYBODY in the long term and helps UNITE rather than divide our populace.