by Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families
: Do you get as irritated as I do when you call a company -- your bank, a credit card company, the cable company -- and the first thing you have to do with the robot on the phone is press 1 for English? I don't want to have to press 1 for English in the English speaking United States of America!
But yesterday many people in Virginia probably wished they did have that button to push. In fact, I suspect many would have preferred a "mute" button when Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) went to the Senate floor and delivered his speech in support of the comprehensive immigration reform bill entirely in Spanish.
Kaine no doubt thought he was being really clever. But I am hard pressed to come up with a worse way to support this bill, which I don't. In fact, Kaine's stunt was even at odds with White House rhetoric.
This past weekend President Obama used his weekly radio address to promote the Senate's quasi-amnesty bill, citing among other things the requirement that illegal immigrants must learn English.
Yes, ironically enough, the immigration reform bill has such a provision. But many of us suspect that it will be widely ignored, just as the current English speaking requirement for citizenship is widely ignored. Why else would we be printing voting ballots in foreign languages?
Central to the broader immigration debate is the question of whether America is becoming balkanized. In some parts of the U.S.A. it is possible to grow up, go to school, do business, go home, watch TV and rarely hear English spoken.
Liberal Democrats like Tim Kaine evidently do not see this as a problem. But learning English is a great unifying factor in the process of assimilation -- of making immigrants Americans. And isn't that what we really want -- to welcome those who truly desire to become Americans?
Unfortunately, too many on the left are far more interested in making more Democrat voters whatever the consequences for America. Kaine's pandering was evidence of that sad fact.
Opponents of the immigration bill are probably in a stronger position as a result of Kaine's theatrics on the Senate floor. Eighty-four percent
of Americans support making English our official language.
I would urge Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and others who support the bill to go to the Senate floor and make it clear that Kaine's "historic speech" was needlessly divisive and counterproductive, and that it sets a bad example for immigrants seeking to succeed in a country where English is, and must remain, the national language.
About That Immigration Bill…
Senate Democrats have claimed all year long that their goal was to draft a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would attract broad, bi-partisan support, even getting 70 votes or more
. That was a laudable goal and one that would require a significant amount of Republican support.
But according to Politico, Democrat leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) are now abandoning that strategy. Why? Because Reid and Durbin "don't believe they should make major concessions to conservatives -- mainly on issues such as border security."
In other words, when it comes to securing the border and preventing another wave of mass illegal immigration, this is a weak bill. Democrats know it and they are unwilling to fix it.
Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) is warning that the "Gang of 8" amnesty is repeating the same mistakes of the 1986 amnesty bill. Grassley should know. "I voted for it and I acknowledge that what we did in 1986, we got it wrong. We can't afford to make the same mistakes," Grassley said to his Senate colleagues this week. "So don't repeat 1986. See that the borders are absolutely secure -- no excuses on that point, no exceptions on that point."
And on that point the American people are absolutely clear: They want the border secured first. A recent Fox News poll
found that 73% of voters want tougher border security measures in place "before other changes to immigration policy go into effect."
Even two-thirds of self-identified Democrats supported that position.
But what are the Democrats' priorities? Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is using the immigration reform bill to promote the radical concept of same-sex "marriage
." It is difficult to imagine how such misplaced priorities could attract broad, bi-partisan support in the Senate.
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