WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is considering doing away with the telephone prompt that asks callers to “press two for Spanish” says a published report, and doing so may save American taxpayers billions of dollars.
“The government must stop placing this onerous and costly translation and interpretation burden on Americans, and President [Donald] Trump has the ability to do so on a speedy basis via a new executive order,” Stephen Guschov, executive director of ProEnglish, an organization which advocates for English as the United States’ official language, told The Washington Times.
The prompt, which callers reach when requesting services and official documents from the U.S. government, was put in place by then-president Bill Clinton in the year 2000.
Clinton “required federal agencies to examine the services they provide, identify any need for services to those with limited English efficiency (LEP), and develop and implement a system to provide those services so LEP persons can have meaningful access to them,” according to the description provided at LEP.gov, a website created to facilitate the program..
Guschov says the Trump administration held meetings with his organization on the matter late last year. “The 2018 meetings were productive, informative and helpful,” he told the Times.
According to public records, the Office of Management and Budget allocated $2 billion annually to cover the costs of the service during President George W. Bush’s first term. That equates to $30 billion in costs since the program was established.
A Rasmussen poll in August 2018 showed Americans overwhelmingly favor efforts to declare English as the nation’s official language.