October 1st, 2007
04:38 PM ET
7 years ago

Giuliani to make 'English only' cheesesteak stop

Giuliani plans a stop at the famous Geno's steaks later Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – It's almost a necessity for any presidential candidate who swings through Philadelphia - making a stop at one of the city's famous cheesesteak shops.

But the landmark Philly restaurant former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani plans to stop at later Monday is also famous for another reason: its controversial 'Please speak English' sign.

Joe Vento, the owner of Geno's Steaks, sparked controversy last year when he put up a sign at his store proclaiming, "This is America. When Ordering Please Speak English."

Rachel Lawton, the executive director of the city's Human Relations Commission (HRC), blasted the sign in June 2006, saying it amounts to discrimination against those who cannot speak English. A hearing on the sign was scheduled last Wednesday but was postponed because the city wanted more time to review Vento's motion to dismiss the case, according to the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.

Giuliani, a Republican presidential frontrunner, has taken a hard stance on illegal immigration, formally pledging last August to solve the problem if elected president.

According to his Web site, Giuliani also proposes that all "immigrants who want to become citizens must truly read, write, and speak English and learn American civics."

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Bron, Orlando Florida

    Mayeb if they sent all the damned illegals back who think we all owe them a living, a house, you fil in the blanks. And made everyone else who is foreign speak english the rest of the world wouldnt see this country as quite the joke it has become.

    October 1, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. joseph, austin, TX

    While I agree it is smart to learn how to speak other languages, we are in America, english should be the official language everybody here should be able to hold conversations and be able to read it(regarless of any grammatical errors i have made). People should have the right to demand english be spoken when you go into their businesses.

    October 1, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Arnold, Fresno CA

    Since our president cannot read, write, or speak English nor undersatnd American civics, i don't seee why we should require same of immigrants.

    October 1, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. Giuliani Hater, NYC, NY

    I believe Giuliani is very prejudice towards minorities or tourist, by supporting that establishment.

    October 1, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. Sylvia in Texas via Philly

    "A hearing on the sign was scheduled last Wednesday but was postponed because the city wanted more time to review Vento's motion to dismiss the case, according to the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin."

    Ahh, I don't where this info came from but the Evening Bulletan hasn't been printed in over 20 years. Someone in the media isn't checking their facts too well. Gee, imagine that.

    October 1, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    If you come to America and intend to live here, you should learn English instead of expecting us to accommodate you. Every immigrant who came to this country understood that until the current crop came in.

    Posted By Proud to be an English-speaking swine,

    NO you "swine" they created little Italy (probably like Geno's Grandfather) and Chinatowns (Major tourist attractions in all cities. And just like the old imigrants, the children of these immigrant will blend right in... Like the old imigrants it will take generations. These immigrants are facing the exact same hatred that past immigrants faced. It's JUST SAD THAT WE DONT KNOW BETTER BY NOW.

    ALSO, I dont think anyone is expecting to be accomodated... many of these people speak english WITH a thick accent but it is english non the less. I've heard a mexican guy speaking english WITH an accent only to hear "why dont you learn to speak english?" Most people are just too damn lazy understand the accent.

    Why don't you people just learn to listen

    October 1, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Amanda (Greenwich)

    That's a good one! I think history has shown that all immigrants (except the ones excepted by Ben Smith) learned to speak English in due time and assimiliated to American culture. Even if they don't, it hardly seems relevant if we are all prosperous and in peace with our neighbors. Besides, Mexican food is so good - and not only the Tex Mex stuff!

    October 1, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Dave, Atlanta, GA

    I have a better idea.

    Let's make english the official language. Then let's require all new immigrants to take an english class an american history class and a civics class. Then let's require all Americans who live in America now to take the SAT verbal. Any American citizen who scores less than 550 gets deported to Antartica. Then let's have everyone take history and civics tests as well. Anyone who flunks gets deported as well. Any American citizen who can't name their congressman and tell us who represents their state in the Senate gets deported too.

    I'm sick and tired of American-born people who scream for immigrants to learn english but can't speak the language themselves. So many US born Americans have the worst grammar, but they want to set language standards. I say we give everyone a writing test. Anyone who can't tell me when Martin Van Buren was elected vice president gets deported. Learn your history before challenging immigrants to do the same.

    Now all of you. Get out of my country!!

    October 1, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. M, Washington, D.C.

    Give me a break. Who gives a rat's behind that Giuliani went to an establishment that has rules.

    I was in the military for over 6 years and stationed in Europe. I never once expected Germans, French, or any other place I visited to conform to English just because I was American and it was my primary language! I tried to speak their language as best as I could, and I believe they respected me even more for it. But people can be LAZY, and disrespectful and figure, "why should I learn to speak English when all Americans are going to do is coddle me and give me lots o' benefits?"

    Get a grip. We need to take back OUR country! I guess some of you think it's okay that ENGLISH SPEAKERS can't get some jobs in Florida because they can't speak Spanish.

    October 1, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Karen, West Milford, NJ

    It's his perogative to put up this sign because it's his store. If you don't like it, don't go to his restaurant. Anyway, how hard is it to say, "One cheesesteak, please". Come on. If you can't learn that, go home because you really aren't making an effort at all. Why is it okay to not learn English if you LIVE here? Any other country in the world would expect any English-speaking person to learn the language so why are Americans blasted for expecting the same?

    October 1, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. CS Reading, PA becoming more like Mexico and Puerto Rico

    Reading, where almost the entire city is becoming Mexican and Latino you'll find anything but VIBRANT and THRIVING...live here in the US, speak English and learn our culture.....if not, walk or row back.

    October 1, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Heidi, Atlanta, GA

    Why do you have a problem with people learning english? I would learn French if I moved to France, or German if I lived in Germany. Get practical!!

    October 1, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. Jerry, Alexandria VA

    We've had no official language for 2 1/4 centuries and it's worked out fine. This anti-immigrant rhetoric that accompanies the demands for English as an official language is what I take offense to. I say we open our borders to the hard working immigrant, and deport the fat welfare slob who thinks s/he is entitled to all that America has to offer for simply being born here.

    These immigrants are EARNING their citizenship, while the xenophobes INHERIT theirs and whine about it.

    October 1, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Jo, Atlanta GA

    Can somebody please explain what's American history? The founding fathers and how they came here on a boat?

    Does that mean their history started elsewhere? That they were slave traders and hunch-men...Gun blazing and wide wide west... Guys.. that's not my history.

    If you say American Civic...fine....that's being though already...the three tiers of government, civic laws e.t.c..

    So what history are you talking about.

    Say what you mean Racist people...."I don't like you because you don't look like me." You all enjoy the British and French accents on TV... you bring as many of them you can find into your TV shows..

    I don't hear anyone complaining about that. When it becomes Spanish you complain.

    So its about those you don't like. Just say what on your mind. I will respect you better for that.

    October 1, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Pam Toronto, Ontario Canada

    Wish a Canadian Politician would take a stand like Rudy. It's a priveledge not a right to immgrate to another country, you need to give up something to get something. But like people immigrating to Canada, they came, they saw, they want more!

    October 1, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Heather, Leawood, Kansas

    It seems everyone is agreeing with the statement that people living in this country should be speaking English. If we all think that why are we making it so easy for everyone by having everything posted in Spanish also? Why does my daughter have to watch cartoons on a regular american channel that are partially in spanish.

    October 1, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. Mark, Rio de Janeiro

    Let the market decide. As a private business owner, he can put up whatever signs he likes. Those who are offended do not eat there. Those who agree do eat there.

    No need to pass a law, use force or make threats.

    October 1, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Pablo, Mexico, USA

    English!! Es LA LENGUA!! hee-hee!!

    October 1, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. sonny c. v.p.,la.

    Just what we need: Another "Uniter,not a Divider" President.

    October 1, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. Rick, Milwaukee WI

    What lousy customer service. No need for the "This is America" part, it just makes us look bad. The "English only when ordering" part should have sufficed. Idiotic owner.

    October 1, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Chris, Houston TX

    It's a good thing Geno's took down the "No cousin marriers allowed" sign.

    October 1, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. Manny, Miami, FL

    I call for a boycott of McDonalds for offering a breakfast burrito. These damn illegals are infiltrating our language and menus! When does it stop? The terrorists have already won!!!

    October 1, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Mike, Chicago,IL

    It's the good old fashioned American Arrogance rearing its ugly head again. I have traveled to many different countries where I didn't speak the language. But NO ONE had a sign up that said speak (insert language) you are in (insert country).

    Immigration is an entirely different issue but the sign is a bit silly to me.

    October 1, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. george becker

    While we're at it....let's push out all non english speaking tourist too. They just take up space and time trying to pronounce grits and white milk.
    Who needs foreign money anyway, we'll just go on and continue to print our own.

    October 1, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. Doug, Norwalk, CT

    The land the US is on overlaps English and Spanish speaking areas. It is inevitable that both languages in time would spread here. Americans should learn at least another language besides English and the biggest opportunity is to learn Spanish. I have no idea how Guiliana could have possibly won New York with these pathetic and ignorant views. How many Italians came here and didn't know any English at all until a bunch of generations later? Anyone voting for him is partly a biggot at the very least.

    October 1, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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