No hablo inglès. That's the refrain for a record amount of people in the U.S., at least at home. A new analysis of Census data by the Center for Immigration Studies finds that an all-time high of 67 million U.S. residents do not speak English in their home. That figure has nearly doubled in the last 27 years. In Houston, about half (49%) don't speak English at home. As a state, Texas is second only to California for percentage of non-English speakers.
These numbers are a troubling trend for America economically, according to Stephen Guschov, executive director of ProEnglish.org. "When 67 million people are not speaking English at home, then they are not doing their utmost to reach the American Dream," he tells KTRH. "As soon as you immerse yourself in English and become proficient in English, it's going to give you better job opportunities, better economic opportunities, and you're going to be able to make more money."
In some communities, the issue of language has gotten out of hand. Last week, a Taco Bell in Florida reportedly turned away a customer because nobody working at the restaurant spoke English. Guschov believes Taco Bell could learn a lesson from one of its fast food competitors. "McDonald's has a wonderful program called English Under the Arches---an English language learning program that it offers for free for all of its employees," he says.
Ultimately, learning and speaking English bodes much better for economic quality of life in America. "We encourage (immigrants) to immerse themselves in English, become proficient in it, practice it and use it as much as possible," says Guschov. "Because they're going to be in a better position to achieve the American Dream."