Speak English or Die pt II
Oh my God, what will President Bush do?
Senate Votes English as National Language
Bill Keeps in Place Multilingual Laws
By Jonathan Weisman and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, May 19, 2006; Page A01
After a emotional debate fraught with symbolism, the Senate yesterday voted to make English the "national language" of the United States, declaring that no one has a right to federal communications or services in a language other than English except for those already guaranteed by law.
The measure, approved 63 to 34, directs the government to "preserve and enhance" the role of English, without altering current laws that require some government documents and services be provided in other languages. Opponents, however, said it could negate executive orders, regulations, civil service guidances and other multilingual ordinances not officially sanctioned by acts of Congress.
That vote, considered a defeat for immigration-rights advocates, was followed last night by an important victory: On a 58 to 35 vote, the Senate killed an amendment that would have blocked eventual citizenship for future immigrants who arrive under a temporary work permit. Democrats and Republicans agreed that the amendment would have destroyed the fragile, bipartisan coalition backing the Senate bill.
The Senate action came hours after President Bush, who visited the border town of Yuma, Ariz., asked Congress to approve a $1.95 billion budget request to deploy National Guard troops and 1,000 additional enforcement agents to the U.S.-Mexico border. Bush also endorsed for the first time the construction of 370 miles of southern border fences to cut down on illegal immigration.
The English language vote continued the conservative turn that a major overhaul of the nation's immigration laws has taken since the Senate began debate this week. The comprehensive legislation would strengthen border security, allow illegal immigrants who have been in the country five years or more to remain and eventually become citizens, and create a guest-worker program.
With approval of a triple-layered border fence Wednesday, the capping of the annual number of guest-worker visas at 200,000 and the English-language amendment yesterday, Republicans say the bill is tougher than the original version and comes closer to what is needed to satisfy many conservatives.
But immigrants-rights groups say their support is teetering. "This is devastating," said Raul Gonzalez, legislative director of the National Council of La Raza, after the English-language vote. "For us, this is a tough issue to bring back to the community."
Yeah, because Bush wants to pander to the base.
So was Pete Wilson some kind of genius? Because this is repeating Prop 187 on a massive scale.
When we were talking about Italian and German, English only didn't cross anyone's mind. Times have changed.
posted by Steve @ 12:03:00 AM