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senate votes to make english the national language


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can anyone say overdue?

 

Senate endorses English as national language in a symbolic stand

BY DAVE MONTGOMERY

Knight Ridder Newspapers

 

WASHINGTON - In an impassioned debate laden with symbolism, the Senate voted 63-34 Thursday to declare English the national language as it continued to debate legislation that would put millions of illegal immigrants on track to U.S. citizenship.

 

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., denounced the amendment as racist and joined other opponents in warning that it could undercut long-established civil rights law. The amendment's lead sponsor, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., bristled at the assertion, saying the proposal would unify the nation's increasingly diverse population and wouldn't dismantle existing legal protections.

 

The first Senate vote on the issue in more than two decades illuminated the emotional divisions over Congress' efforts to craft legislation to deal with as many as 12 million immigrants who've entered the country illegally in search of better-paying jobs.

 

The Senate is considering nearly two dozen amendments on a comprehensive plan to grant legal status to many illegal immigrants and create a temporary guest-worker program to help fill what U.S. business leaders say is a chronic labor shortage. A final vote on the measure is expected next week.

 

Despite the intensity of the arguments on both sides, it was unclear what impact, if any, Inhofe's English-language amendment would have if it becomes law. Senators further confused the situation by accepting a softer alternative declaring English "the common and unifying language of the United States." The vote on that one, sponsored by Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., was 58-39.

 

Salazar, one of three Hispanic senators, whose family settled in Colorado before it became a state, asserted that the Inhofe amendment threatened a return "to the dark days of American history" when Hispanic children were punished for speaking Spanish in school, sometimes by having soap thrust in their mouths.

 

In response, Inhofe said his proposal would put the U.S. government in line with 27 states and 51 countries that declare English the prevailing language. He called Reid's "racist" tag a ridiculous charge and accused opponents of demagoguery.

 

"This is your last chance to have English as the national language," he told colleagues.

 

Supporters suggested that the measure will be especially needed as millions of illegal immigrants and future foreign workers get on track for U.S. citizenship.

 

Senators said both amendments would be part of negotiations with the House of Representatives to reconcile differences in the two chambers' immigration plans. Asked whether the language amendments would have any effect, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the Senate's leading architects on immigration legislation, responded: "Not that I know of."

 

The bill already requires English proficiency as a condition for illegal immigrants to obtain permanent legal status and citizenship over an 11-year period. At least 215 million of the nearly 300 million U.S. residents speak English, but the diverse population otherwise constitutes a linguistic melting pot, speaking as many as 176 languages. Spanish is the second most common, spoken by 28 million people.

 

Conservatives, surging with momentum after winning Senate support to erect at least 350 miles of fencing along the Southwest border, continued their attempt to limit the scope of the guest-worker program and legalization provisions that they denounced as "amnesty" for illegal behavior.

 

By 50-49, the Senate rejected an amendment that that would have prevented immigrants from getting Social Security benefits that they earned when they were here illegally.

 

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews...cs/14613300.htm

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It's hardly racist as some of those people were claiming. The worst that might happen is dropping separate spanish language forms. Most probably it would have no effect other than possibly requiring english proficiency to graduate high school.

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It's hardly racist as some of those people were claiming. The worst that might happen is dropping separate spanish language forms. Most probably it would have no effect other than possibly requiring english proficiency to graduate high school.

 

 

saves money!

 

 

thats always a good thing.

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Guest Fritz

All this really boils down to is this: when you go to the DMV, you better be able to read the forms in English or bring a buddy along with you that can.

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I think every immigrant should understand English, at least in a limited capacity. But the tests better not be too intense. As long as you can communicate, it should be alright....even if broken.

 

The best part is that the conservatives seems to like the way things are going. The bill is becoming a bit more to their liking, and I think it'll eventually pass...while Dems will still get a lot of what they wanted.

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Guest Juanky

I don't like it. It's a symbolic stand that pits the government on the wrong side of where it's supposed to be where questions of speech are concerned, at a time when the federal government is already doing enough to get people worrying about the validity of the Constitution in our modern times.

 

You're curbing freedom of speech by demanding that all official business happen in English. That it's happened like that to this point is irrelevent; you can't close any part of speech off, including (and especially) political speech, even if it's something seemingly as harmless as setting an official language. That's not how things were written up.

 

If the founding fathers really meant for English to be our official language forever and ever, don't you think that's among the first things they would have taken care of? They obviously believe that it was infringing on basic tenets of speech to mark one down as superior to the others as far as this country was concerned, and therefore omitted it.

 

Here's hoping it doesn't pass, but unfortunately I have a feeling this will be one of those "vote for it or you're un-American" bills.

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If the founding fathers really meant for English to be our official language forever and ever, don't you think that's among the first things they would have taken care of? They obviously believe that it was infringing on basic tenets of speech to mark one down as superior to the others as far as this country was concerned, and therefore omitted it.

 

 

They omitted it because they couldn't agree on a language. Many objected to English being an official language as basically a way to show up England. German came the closest to being an official language.

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Guest Juanky

If the founding fathers really meant for English to be our official language forever and ever, don't you think that's among the first things they would have taken care of? They obviously believe that it was infringing on basic tenets of speech to mark one down as superior to the others as far as this country was concerned, and therefore omitted it.

They omitted it because they couldn't agree on a language. Many objected to English being an official language as basically a way to show up England. German came the closest to being an official language.Of course German came close, being English's father

 

Point is, why does the nation that's home to everyone have to have a national language? We have traditional language and that should be enough. There's zero reason to change this.

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I don't like it. It's a symbolic stand that pits the government on the wrong side of where it's supposed to be where questions of speech are concerned, at a time when the federal government is already doing enough to get people worrying about the validity of the Constitution in our modern times.

 

You're curbing freedom of speech by demanding that all official business happen in English. That it's happened like that to this point is irrelevent; you can't close any part of speech off, including (and especially) political speech, even if it's something seemingly as harmless as setting an official language. That's not how things were written up.

 

If the founding fathers really meant for English to be our official language forever and ever, don't you think that's among the first things they would have taken care of? They obviously believe that it was infringing on basic tenets of speech to mark one down as superior to the others as far as this country was concerned, and therefore omitted it.

 

Here's hoping it doesn't pass, but unfortunately I have a feeling this will be one of those "vote for it or you're un-American" bills.

 

 

I'm not really down with the nitty gritty details of this bill. But I would assume it's not "curbing" other languages off. I assume you can continue to do whatever you want in other languages, including business, political speeches, etc. But...I'm guessing here...I think what it would pertain to is any official government business, like any sort of printed documents, tax forms, voting instructions, etc. Basically, I think it would cut down by a decent amount the costs of doing business. Which means the government can use their resources to accomplish other goals. I also think in the long run it will help most of the people who can't speak English now...or if not them, then their immediate descendants...because if you can't speak English in this country, you're cut off from a ton of opportunities, no matter what your occupation. This is a way to basically force open some doors for many poor immigrants. That's how I see it anyway.

 

My only reservation is that this is basically coercing people to at least learn some English, which I obviously think would be good for them, but, on the other hand, it does seem like it cuts into their freedom of choice just a little.

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So, I guess the Native American tribes have to give up their "savage" languages? Or better yet, what happens to Hawaiian? And what about all those state mottos in Latin? Wither "sic semper tyrannis"? What about Montana's state motto "Oro y plata"? How about we start changing our last names because they sound too "ethnic" (which happened with two of my great-grandfathers)? This is elitist racism to say the least.

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So, I guess the Native American tribes have to give up their "savage" languages? Or better yet, what happens to Hawaiian? And what about all those state mottos in Latin? Wither "sic semper tyrannis"? What about Montana's state motto "Oro y plata"? How about we start changing our last names because they sound too "ethnic" (which happened with two of my great-grandfathers)? This is elitist racism to say the least.

 

they are not outlawing other languages.

 

this is a move so when they tell people trying to immigrate here they have to learn english they can point to a reason why they need to learn it. otherwise the immigrants can say "well i will never need to learn english cause i never plan to go outside of my community here in america."

 

most other countries have official languages and i don't think they come across as racist states we just got it late in the game.

 

and it gives americans one more thing to bind them together if everyone learns the language of the land.

 

gee whiz we tell immigrants they need to learn the language of the land what a heartless thing to do. :rolleyes:

 

i doubt people care if others speak french, spanish, latin, whatever, as long as they also know english as well when they immigrate into the country. it's about being able to communicate on an equal level with everyone. step one of assimilation would be learning the language of the land. the goal is for everyone just to be american and not these "hyphenated" american jibberish.

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