Still no Espanol on WhiteHouse.gov

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) in an October 2016 file image. He has filed legislation to require the White House and all federal agencies to provide a Spanish-language version of their sites. "It's really just a matter of making government more transparent, more accountable, more effective for more people," Correa said. (Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Caption
Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) in an October 2016 file image. He has filed legislation to require the White House and all federal agencies to provide a Spanish-language version of their sites. "It's really just a matter of making government more transparent, more accountable, more effective for more people," Correa said. (Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Credit: Glenn Koenig

Credit: Glenn Koenig

The day Donald Trump became president, the Spanish-language translation of the White House's website went down. An aide quickly said the Spanish version would return once the site was fully updated.

Nearly two months later, there is still no Spanish version of WhiteHouse.gov, and Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., is turning to his colleagues in Congress for a fix.

Correa has filed legislation to require the White House and all federal agencies to provide a Spanish-language version of their sites.

"It's really just a matter of making government more transparent, more accountable, more effective for more people," Correa told the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau. "At the end of the day it doesn't matter what language you speak, you're ultimately still a taxpayer."

Correa represents California's 46th Congressional District, where more than half of residents speak Spanish at home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 American Community Survey.

He said the bill could be expanded to include other languages.

Correa began asking the White House to restore the Spanish version of the site shortly after it went down and has received no response, he said.

"I look at it as a public policy decision that the White House has made," he said. "You don't need to take the darn thing down, you just leave it up; it was a public policy decision to take it down. Based on why, I'm not going to speculate."

Helen Aguirre Ferre, the White House director of media affairs, said the day after the page came down in January that it would be rebuilt and that removing the Spanish translation was not deliberate.

On Friday she said the English-language version of the site is still being rebuilt and a Spanish-language version will also be built. She said there was no promise to restore it quickly.

In the meantime, she directed people to a Twitter account, @LaCasaBlanca, which publishes tweets in Spanish and English.

Spanish-language versions of department and agency websites popped up after President Bill Clinton signed an executive order in 2000 that required federal agencies to provide them for people with limited English proficiency. A Department of Justice guideline issued with the order states that federally funded agencies have to make information available either in text or audio to people who don't speak or read English well.

The order led to the creation of GobiernoUSA.gov, the Spanish-language portal to government websites, but most of the major federal departments still provide spotty non-English access to their sites.

The websites for Housing and Urban Development and the Departments of Justice, Transportation and Labor all have links prominently displayed on their home pages directing people to Spanish translations.

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