[EDLING:1585] [Fwd: Senate Votes To Designate English As National Language]

Tamara Warhol warholt at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Fri May 19 14:16:45 UTC 2006

*U.S.** Senate News Briefing*

Friday, May 19, 2006 9:00 AM EDT

*Senate Votes To Designate English As National Language*. The Los 
Angeles Times 
(5/19, Muskal, Gaouette, 958K) reports, “English would be declared the 
‘national language’ of the United States under a measure approved by the 
Senate today, a largely symbolic move that supporters said would promote 
unity and ensure assimilation by immigrants.” The Senate “passed two 
amendments, one Democratic and one Republican. The Democratic version is 
more specific on protecting translation and bilingual services.” The 
GOP-backed amendment, “which passed 63 to 34, would allow the government 
to continue to offer publications and services -- such as bilingual 
ballots -- in languages other than English.” It “would require all 
illegal immigrants seeking to legalize their status in the United States 
to pass English proficiency tests and would offer guidelines to the 
Department of Homeland

Security for a revised citizenship test.”

The AP 
(5/19, Espo) reports GOP Sen. Jim Inhoffe “led the attempt to declare 
English the national language, a campaign he said began more than a 
century ago. The Oklahoma Republican quoted President Theodore Roosevelt 
as having said that among other things, those living in the United 
States ‘must also learn one language and that language is English.’” 
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said of the amendment, “I really 
believe this amendment is racist. I think it's directed basically to 
people who speak Spanish.” Sen. Ken Salazar, a Democrat, “advanced the 
alternative that declared English to be a ‘common and unifying 
language.’” It “passed, 58-39, leaving the outcome of the symbolic 
debate uncertain.”

Knight Ridder <http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/14613558.htm> 
(5/19, Montgomery) says 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.”

The New York Times 
(5/19, Hulse, 1.19M) calls Salazar’s amendment “a weaker, less-binding 
alternative.” President Bush, speaking about immigration on Thursday on 
a trip to Arizona, “reiterated that under his proposal illegal 
immigrants would have to learn English. ‘If you learn English, and 
you're a hard worker, and you have a dream, you have the capacity from 
going from picking crops to owning the store, or from sweeping office 
floors to being an office manager,’ Mr. Bush said.” The House “did not 
include a similar provision on English in the legislation it passed in 
December, but there is strong support among House Republicans for such a 
move.” AFP 
(5/19) notes the House of Representatives “is considering similar 
legislation presented by Iowa Republican Steve King. It already has the 
backing of 150 representatives.”

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