Saturday, December 01, 2007

"Accommodate, assist, guide, and educate"

From "In other words change the emphasis from 'threaten, enforce, punish, and penalize' to 'accommodate, assist, guide, and educate,' Baxter said. "Then we'll see the ... numbers move in the right direction -- downward."

Do you agree? Beware; this advocate is not talking about immigrants. Read the original story here, and see if your opinion changes.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Some GOP candidates resist total immigration negativity

Positive excerpts from last night's presidential debate

New York City allowed the children of illegal immigrants to go to school. If we didn't allow the children of illegal immigrants to go to school, we would have had 70,000 children on the streets at a time in which New York City was going through a massive crime wave, averaging 2,000 murders a year, 10,000 felonies a week.

The only two exceptions related to care -- emergency care in the hospital and being able to report crimes. If we didn't allow illegals to report crimes, a lot of criminals would have gone free because they're the ones who had the information.
Are you suggesting, Mayor, that if you have a company that you hired to provide a service ... that you now are responsible for going out and checking the employees of that company, particularly those that -- that might look different or don't -- doesn't have an accent like yours, and ask for their papers? I don't think that's America...
[W]e need to sit down ... as Americans and recognize these are God's children as well and they need some protections under the law and they need -- (applause) -- and they -- they need some of our love and compassion. ... [W]e'll solve this immigration problem and we won't demagogue it ... and we won't have all this other rhetoric that unfortunately ... contributes nothing to the national dialogue. (Applause.)
This bill would have said that if you came here not because you made the choice but because your parents did, that we're not going to punish a child because the parent committed a crime. That's not what we typically do in this country. It said that if you'd sat in our schools from the time you're 5 or 6 years old and you had become an A-plus student, you completed the core curriculum, you were an exceptional student, and you also had to be drug and alcohol free, and the other provision, you had to be applying for citizenship. It accomplished two thing that we knew we wanted to do, and that is, number one, bring people from illegal status to legal status; and the second thing, we wanted people to be taxpayers, not tax takers, and that's what that provision did. ... In all due respect, we're a better country than to punish children for what their parents did. We're a better country than that.(Cheers, applause.)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Many confront difficulty by immigrating


The word meant failure, loss and defeat in the lives of people who sought refuge in other countries. It meant loss, too, to the families who had depended on the physical proximity of the immigrant. It branded the immigrant with the stigma of a loser in the game of life.

In my 25 years as a immigration attorney, I have seen thousands of families confront the pain of admitting financial failure by immigrating. But the families I see are not walking away from their responsibilities. They take on the arduous task of living in a foreign land to support themselves and their families. Many of them fail; the burdens on them are just too great. Many of them successfully make the transition.

It is unfortunate that recent immigration reform failed — lacking the support of both Tennessee senators — leaving the barriers and punishments for immigrating in place, with loopholes for the wealthy and well-connected.

At first blush, the Tennessee immigrating rate may cause concern. But the nation's immigration bureaucracy would be far better off had Congress seen how immigrants assume responsibility and try to succeed the best they can. They use the system in the right way, when it lets them.

Do you agree? If not, see if you agree with the original article, which has nothing to do with immigrants. With apologies to Hank Hildebrand.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Given the likely prevalence of such commonplace behavior, criminal charges are a "major waste"

"Given the likely prevalence of such commonplace behavior ..., criminally charging [illegals] with [this commonplace crime] represents a major waste of prosecution dollars, writes Fred Grimm in the Miami Herald."

Agree or disagree?

It's not about migration, though. It's a more impolite subject, so be forewarned: original post here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Foreign flag will no longer fly in Tennessee

A foreign flag that was flown in Nashville will be removed from Tennessee altogether.

A good thing?

Read more

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Legal and religious authorities offer "second chance" to lawbreakers

From the Nashville City Paper:
Local police, prosecutors and clergy are hoping that as many as hundreds of fugitives will take advantage of a rare opportunity to turn themselves in during the first week of August. The reason: That’s when law enforcement officials will be willing to give those persons the most favorable treatment possible and even “a second chance.”

Under a program called “Fugitive Safe Surrender,” which began two years ago in Cleveland, Ohio, the Galilee Baptist Church in North Nashville will transformed into a courthouse from Aug. 1-4, and those persons with outstanding warrants for non-violent criminal offenses who come to church to surrender “stand a good chance of clearing up their warrants on the spot without going to jail,” police said.
What values are behind this program, and do we have those values in the immigration bureaucracy?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Not just unfair but also immoral to make it much more burdensome

"It's not just unfair but also immoral to make it much more burdensome for seekers of something worthy - not abusers - to do this."

This is a paraphrase of a quote on what topic? It's not the immigration bureaucracy.

Should that sentiment apply to expatriate policy?

read the original story here

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Stunning cost and infuriating application of law raise Constitutional, fairness concerns

The law has been criticized because the cost to the lawbreaker is "stunning," punishment is non-negotiable and cannot be modified by a judge, and application of the law is unequal and "infuriating."

The stated reason for the law is to address a group of lawbreakers who have become an economic burden to the government.

Civil rights organizations invoke the U.S. Constitution when they decry the "undue, extreme and discriminatory punishments" on the lawbreakers.

The executive branch reports receiving complaints about "inequities in the law," hinting at the need for legislative reform.

Some people react (among them are likely lawbreakers and sympathizers with the lawbreakers):
“I feel like [it] is a little too much”

"I don’t think [the lawbreakers] are the problem, but I don’t know that [one of the potential punishments] is the best way to go."

“That’s BS, why can’t anybody that’s [potentially breaking the law] get the same treatment?”

"I think it’s a little harsh and out of my [ability to comply with the punishment]"
Would you want the law changed?

Or is it good enough as is, because we are a "nation of laws"?

Before you decide, none of the above has anything to do with the immigration bureaucracy.

The law is a new statute that allows $3000 speeding tickets for going over 80 MPH in Virginia (stories here, here, and here).

Can the same reactions Virginians have to the $3000 speeding ticket be applied to immigration law? What kind of rules do expect our laws to follow (reasonable punishment, equal application, etc.)?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

This is evil talk

Here We Go Again
By Aunt B.

It’s not a perfect analogy, but let’s say you live in a little village on one side of the interstate, next door to the most awesome bar imaginable.

Say that your buddy John lives on the other side of the interstate, directly across from you and the bar. But it’s rural nowhere, so, if he’s going to actually drive to the bar, he’s got to go ten miles down to the nearest exit, cross the interstate there, and then come ten miles up.

Then, he sits at the bar and gets drunk and has to drive twenty miles home, when his house is just across the road there.

So, he shouldn’t do it. It’s dangerous and it’s illegal, but he crosses the interstate on foot.

Y’all wish he wouldn’t, but you can see why he does.

If he’s sitting at the bar, no car in the parking lot, do the police have a right to arrest him? He’s not crossing the interstate at the moment, but clearly, he got to the bar by crossing the interstate.

Would it be weird if folks at the bar started thinking of John as not having a right to be at the bar? Would it be weird if they started thinking that John was taking up a space at the bar that belonged to someone who didn’t cross the interstate on foot?

Now, here’s where it gets important. If the police aren’t interested in stopping John from crossing the interstate, do the people at the bar have the right to prohibit him from doing it? Would it be okay if they shot him?

I assume we’re all in agreement that, if the penalty for crossing the interstate on foot is a fine and possibly a little jail time, having people talking about opening fire on ole John is, perhaps, a little extreme.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when coming into this country illegally was considered about on par with John’s crossing of the interstate. Sneaking across the border was a crime, but once you had sneaked across the border, you were, for the most part, done committing the crime.

That’s why, even until recently, illegal immigrants could get drivers licenses in Tennessee. That’s why they can get in-state tuition in some states. The crime had been committed, but if the border crosser could figure out how to reside here without committing any more crimes, he or she was mostly left alone to be a productive part of the community.

Over the past few years, the rhetoric has changed. Now we talk about illegal immigration as an ongoing crime. From the moment you enter the country illegally until the moment you leave, you are in a state of “illegal immigration.” Everything you do is wrong and might be criminalized because you are committing an ongoing crime. Your existence in this country is a crime.

I should point out that it’s still a crime with a punishment of either being sent back to your home country or, at the most, given a couple of years in prison. That’s it.

This “terrible” crime is punishable by a year or two in prison or being deported.

Is there any other crime a person could commit punishable by just a couple of years in jail that you’d be comfortable when people started talking about shooting the offender?

Do you think it should be okay for folks to talk seriously about non-police U.S. citizens shooting shoplifters? Tax cheats? Illegal music downloaders?

And yet, damn it, Kleinheider, there’s just such a discussion going on over at Volunteer Voters right now.

Donna Locke says:

As an immigration controller, I am fairly pessimistic on this issue at this point, as far as peaceable, political solutions go. I believe we had windows of opportunity to effect change on this issue through political means, but those windows have closed and passed. There are still laws and changes in laws we must pursue, but many years of inaction have now diverted the United States onto the path of another probable future. A path of eventual revolution. [Emphasis mine.]

Seriously. She foresees violent revolution in the U.S. because the government’s not doing enough to chase down folks who’ve done nothing worse than shoplifting?

The Blue Collar Republican is just as ridiculous:

We have plenty of laws, but no will to enforce them. I am afraid you are right about it being “too late”, but some are being patient and giving the process a chance. But make no mistake, many are arming themselves to do the job themselves if the government will not.

Really? The job is deporting people or putting them in prison for a couple of years. Is that what the Blue Collar Republican is advocating, because, I have to say, it seems to me that he’s not advocating that armed militias round up folks and fly them back to Mexico. It seems to me pretty damn clear that he’s explaining that soon enough folks will just start shooting people.

This is evil talk.

Let me repeat. This is evil talk.

Sitting around discussing throwing a tantrum so big that it includes violence against real live people because the government isn’t doing enough to keep the brown people away from you is evil.

And Kleinheider, damn it! Do you call either one of them on that eliminationist nonsense? No, you fucking “Good point. Very good point, in fact.”

What the fuck are you talking about? It’s a “good point” when the Blue Collar Republican insinuates that, if the Government won’t enforce immigration laws to the linking of jingoists, the jingoists will start shooting people?

That’s not a good point. That’s ridiculousness bordering on psychopathy. You don’t go around shooting people or even threatening to shoot people because the federal government isn’t dealing with them fast enough for your liking.

As of May 7th, there were just over six million people living in Tennessee. Just under six hundred thousand of us live in Davidson County. Three percent of people in the whole state are Hispanic. In Davidson County, it’s right around seven percent–42,000 people, give or take a few.

How many of them are here illegally? I’ve spent the evening perusing pro- and anti-immigration sites and I don’t think anyone can say for sure.

But we’re devoting a whole lot of energy and resources to locating these illegal immigrants and purging them from our community. Shoot, folks over at Volunteer Voters are barely satisfied with a purge. They have their guns ready just in case someone needs killing.

America, let me tell you something. We have a habit of doing shit like this. In this very state, on this very land. This is not new. When we wanted the land and resources of the Cherokee people, we reinterpreted our arrangement with them, rounded them up, and sent them off to some “homeland” out west.

Shoot, on the rare occasion when we freed slaves here in Tennessee, we required them to leave the state when we were done with them, even if Tennessee was the only home they’d ever known, even if their families were here.

And here we go again. We’ve decided that the Mexicans (and let’s not be coy about who we’re singling out. There’s a reason TnRIP is all “Nashville or Tijuana?”) have resources that we can justify to ourselves belong rightfully to us, so we’ve decided to change the terms of our agreement (immigrating here illegally used to be like shoplifting once, now we treat it like an ongoing series of armed robberies) in order to relocate them someplace where we can’t hear them when they complain about us stealing their shit and destroying their families.

And shoot, if we can terrorize the Mexicans who are here legally, too, all the better.

“No, Aunt B., it’s not about terrorizing all Mexicans, we swear.”

Oh yeah, how do you suppose we’re going to locate those illegals? We’re going to tolerate the continual harassment of all Mexicans, that’s how.

I mean, come now. We all know that 287(g) means that every Hispanic-seeming person who comes to the attention of the police in Davidson County is going to get run through the system.

I could forget my drivers license at home and just be given a ticket. You can’t tell me Tia B. isn’t going to be taken downtown in case she needs to be deported. What’s a ten or fifteen minute uncomfortable encounter with the police for me is going to end up being an all day thing for some people.

Keep ‘em all afraid and all inconvenienced and maybe they’ll all leave–legal or not–our brown neighbors. At least, that seems to be the attitude.

And shame on you all for embracing it.

But you know what? Fuck it. Kleinheider’s all

However, just because the celebration seems hypocritical, we cannot avoid the fundamental questions that Fortuyn brings up. If he had every right to protect his culture and heritage from demographic annihilation, do we, as Americans, not have that very same right?

Seriously, what’s he complaining about? Our culture and heritage have a strong strain of forcibly removing non-white people from our midst. He shouldn’t feel any anxiety. He should be pleased to see we’re continuing that age-old American tradition of fucking as hard as we can with the weakest and most vulnerable among us.

I mean, shoot, if folks can talk openly about shooting people just because they’ve picked the wrong place to live–in a city in a state in a region that ought to know what happens when folks are talking that way–and not one person calls them on how evil they sound, well, shucks, America, I about don’t know what to say.

I’ll be practicing “Lo siento,” though.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

"We also must accept responsibility for these workers"

Undocumented workers need to be respected, paid and given a way forward

Farmers admit we need immigrant laborers; now we have to step up to be accountable for their role.

By David Mas Masumoto

"Agriculture has openly acknowledged the need for labor: We also must accept responsibility for these workers."

"As these new Americans are recognized, wages, working conditions and health benefits must be addressed. This will challenge farmers and the old ways of doing business. Agriculture has openly acknowledged the need for labor: We also must accept responsibility for these workers."

"I farm with a social contract—a network of honorable, mutually supporting relationships that contribute to the quality I seek. My work can't be done by machines. I want to grow 'face food,' produce with faces and their stories, keeping alive the legacy of good, authentic food."

"Undocumented workers are part of this food system. We all have a stake in immigration reform, and the need to recognize the important role of all food workers. We need to support farming that contributes true flavors to life."

Read the entire article.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Do we really want assimilation? What do we teach our kids?

Cox and Forkum points here to a column saying that kids and not immigrants are the assimilation priority (keep in mind the writer says we want them to learn American individualism, which some Americans are fighting as a cancer on our culture):
But the argument about political correctness and multiculturalism is not really an argument against immigration. In fact, it only connects to immigration very incidentally. If the ability of our culture to induct people into the values of our civilization is in doubt, then what happens to 11 million illegal immigrants is a relatively small problem. What we really ought to be worried about is a group of 75 million people who desperately need to be assimilated into America's culture of individualism, taught the essential facts about America's history, and encouraged to appreciate the virtues of our political system.

I am talking about 75 million people who are, you might say, on an automatic track to citizenship, and all of whom will become newly eligible to vote in the next two decades.

I am speaking of the 75 million Americans under the age of 18.

Unwelcome and problematic only because they got in the wrong way?

Cox and Forkum points here to "a must-read article on immigration from Jewish World Review: The real cause of the immigration crisis by Jeff Jacoby. (via TIA Daily)":
To countless Americans, the difference between legal and illegal immigration is self-evident and meaningful. But is that really what distinguishes the immigrants we want from those we don't — that the former enter the country lawfully, while the latter break the rules to get here? Are immigrants like my father and son inherently desirable merely because a lot of exasperating bureaucratic requirements were met before they came? Are the 11 million illegal immigrants living within our borders (and the several hundred thousand added to their number each year) unwelcome and problematic only because they got in the wrong way?

A foreigner who enters the United States without first running the immigration-law gantlet is not congenitally unfit to be a good American any more than someone who operates an automobile without a license is congenitally unfit to drive. Our immigration laws are maddening and Byzantine. They are heavily skewed in favor of people with family ties to US citizens — nearly two-thirds of all legal immigrants qualify to enter the United States because they are the relatives of someone already here, and even then it can take 10 or 15 years to qualify for legal residence. If you were designing an immigration system that would admit people on the basis of whether they seemed likely to become good Americans — patriotic, hard working, law-abiding, English-speaking — this is hardly the system you would devise.

Stars and Barred

From Cox and Forkum (read entire entry here):
Notice that we don't commonly talk about, say, "illegal homeowners" or "illegal students." Why? It's not because homeowners and students are fanatics for rule of law. It's because there are no government quotas limiting the number of home buyers and education seekers. If there were, if only a small number of houses were permitted to be built every year, if only a small number of people were allowed to attend school, then we'd be hearing about "illegals" who forge construction documents and smuggle students in station wagon dashboards.

I also find suspicious the frequent invocation of "rule of law" by some opponents of illegal immigration. It's as if they think "rule of law" means to always obey the law no matter how unjust. From that perspective, blacks escaping Southern slavery and Jews fleeing Nazi Germany were all violators of the "rule of law."

But "rule of law" was a phrase originally used to distinguish between the rule of men, such as the whim of a king or corrupt ruler, and the rule of law, where the government itself along with the citizens are governed by a clearly defined and fairly enforced set of rules that apply equally to all. Invoking the "rule of law" against immigrants coming here simply to work and better their lot is unjust and wrong.

Likewise, sneers at the word "amnesty" are telling, for shouldn't any derision depend on whether or not the law from which one receives amnesty is just or not?

Conservatives for better immigration bureaucracy

Sunday, April 08, 2007

What Is This "Crime," Really?

From the Ornery American:

A fifteen-year-old boy -- let's call him David -- has been yearning for his driver's license for a long time.

But today all thoughts of waiting for his license are out the window, because his little sister cut herself and he can't stop the bleeding. His family's phone service was cut off long ago. His parents aren't home. They live far from any neighbors. But they do have one uninsured car that David's been tinkering with. It runs.

So David puts his sister in the car and, holding a towel on the wound to apply pressure, he drives the car one-handed out onto the road and goes as fast as the car can go, heading for the nearest medical emergency center.

The trouble is, a state trooper sees him driving too fast and pulls him over. David tries to explain that he's only driving illegally in order to save his sister's life, but the trooper doesn't listen.

He drags David out of the car and handcuffs him and yells at him that he has no business driving a car without a license, besides which he was speeding and the car is not insured. "You will never get a license, we will confiscate this illegal car. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and you have forfeited that privilege by taking it prematurely."

David can't think about any of this. So he screams, "My sister is bleeding to death! Let me get her to the hospital!"

But it's as if the trooper is deaf to anything David has to say. "Don't scream it me, you miserable pipsqueak! Until you have a license you don't even have a right to be heard on these highways!"

Read more here

Photo by La Germanita

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Immigrants live with, identify with each other regardless of legal category

"[A] majority of illegal immigrants live in the same communities as legal permanent residents – and in many cases the same houses – they often act in solidarity when either group feels threatened."

from Legal immigrants seek American citizenship in surging numbers
Christian Science Monitor, March 26, 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tamale treasure

Mack at Coyote Chronicles visited a Middle Tennessee tamale kitchen and found treasure in the time spent with his neighbors:
Through the goodness of the Gods, I met an angel in the grocery store. Her and her mother were buying groceries, and from their selections I just knew momma was a first rate cook. I engaged them, and soon we agreed on a price for home-made tamales. (my current tamale connect is reliable, but the product has been sub-standard of late) So, yesterday, I arrived at their home with a good friend of mine in tow. The area of town that they live in isn’t particularly nice. It is mere steps from the railroad tracks, and this road is chock full of renters so many of the houses and yards are in a constant state of dis-repair. We knocked on the door, and Maria opened it, smiled broadly and invited us into the kitchen, where her mother and Aunt were just removing tamales from a large pot on the stove. There was food everywhere. The sights and smells were at once familiar and comforting. I was in my mother’s house again. There were four children present, sitting in chairs by the open back door, and speaking a beautiful mixture of Spanish and English, drawing or coloring and laughing most of the time. Their girls had their jet black hair brushed and braided and they had shiny things holding it in place. Their faces were scrubbed clean, their clothes pressed. The house was orderly and chaotic at the same time. The women smiled at us and made us sit at the table, and sample the tamales. Alicia took hers, freshly “shucked”, and sprinkled it with chopped lettuce, then ladled some fresh salsa over it and handed it to my friend. She warned that it was “hot.” I though she meant “stove hot,” but no, as my friend soon discovered, she meant hot in the way that hot can hit your stomach, then work it’s way back up through your lungs and ultimately engulfs you in a perfect capsicum laden cloud, causing your metabolism to accelerate, sets your heart to racing, and ends with you wiping your brow on your shirtsleeve. That kind of hot. Perfect. As I was enjoying this dish, I was struck by those faces over by the door. Each of them had the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. Large, oval and it may sound corny, but I saw the whole world in them. The oldest was born in Mexico, but came here when she was one yr old. Her brother and sisters were born here in the States. I was glad that my friend Andy was there, but I so wanted Kleinheider to be there as well. I wanted him to see this family. I wanted him to taste this food, I wanted him to gaze at these children, and then, I wanted him to explain to me what would be gained by him “walking them back over the border.” The preservation of the rule of law? Unjust laws are, and have been challenged throughout this Nation’s history. It’s intrinsic to the American experience. Welcoming and celebrating the presence of these people seems intrinsic to the Christian experience. I so want to challenge Adam to accompany me to this home, talk to this family, share a meal, and learn about what its like to live in the shadows...
Full story here

Photo by Steve Bridger

Who's an american?

Letter to the Editor
University of Chicago Magazine
March/April 2007, Volume 99, Issue 4

Who’s an american?

My family came to America at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609 and at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, in 1620. As old immigrants (“Fenced Out,” Jan–Feb/07), we offer the following credo to the new immigrants from then, to the present, and into the future:

No matter where people come from, if they behave themselves, work hard, and respect our history and culture, they are Americans. And if we behave ourselves, work hard, and respect their history and culture, we are Americans too.

James A. Rogerson, AM’69, PhD’80
Charlotte, North Carolina

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

English Already First in Immigrant Families, But to the Detriment of Bilingual Skills

According to various studies, immigrant families promote English internally, believing that it will create more opportunities for future generations. However, the 1st generation does not merely drag the 2nd and 3rd generations kicking and screaming to learn English. According to a 1998 study of 8th and 9th grade students in San Diego and Miami-Fort Lauderdale (cited by Lucy Tse in Why Don't They Learn English?, p. 31), two-thirds of 2nd generation immigrants favored using English over their parents' language. The causes of that preference include the powerful cultural and popular pulls of English, limited exposure to and less opportunities to learn the language of family heritage, parental and school misconceptions based on fear, and peer pressure.

So, without any government coercion, immigrant families push themselves to learn English. But there are also casualties that may be further harmed by local government mandating English. One of those casualties is bilingualism or the ability of 2nd and 3rd generations in immigrant families to utilize two languages at once. In the study of 8th and 9th graders, while researchers found that the students knew English well, they were progressively losing their bilingual skills. Among the Spanish-speaking students, fewer than half were fluent bilinguals.

Full post here.

Purcell's backbone on 'English First' is rare in these times

Purcell's backbone on 'English First' is rare in these times

Read full article here

This storm, like others before it, shall ultimately subside as we again, albeit grudgingly, welcome the enriching qualities of difference. We will embrace them and incorporate them into the ever- changing canvas we call America the beautiful, as we have ultimately done with every immigrant wave, whether through Jamestown or Ellis Island, through Miami or San Francisco.

Have we forgotten how and why this country was built and on whose backs this construction occurred, notwithstanding the displacement of those who were here before us? Of course, our effort to slam the door shut, now that we are in, is not new.

Every group has been critical of those who have arrived later than they did. The politically persecuted Anglo-Germanic populi were not very sensitive to those who fled withering grape and olive vines in Southern Italy or potato famines on the Emerald Isle. Nor did Italians and Irish think that those from Eastern Europe, Jew or Gentile, were good for anything but ready targets for billy clubs or fleecing scams. Unity among them came only in their opinions of those of us, the Africans, in our second migration, this time from the fields of woe behind the cotton curtain to teeming urban centers.

This has not been a great season for leadership in the polyglot of our country. We have favored fences over bridges and appear to the world as a spoiled bully with gunboats in too many ports. But in Nashville, silence was an option and a leader stepped up and spoke out. So to the mayor of Nashville who has chosen to resist the rush to the rear, the sound and fury that signifies nothing: Atta boy!

Monday, February 19, 2007

It's about lives, not just about English

Full article here

"As I spoke, I noticed tears in her eyes. I sat down with Maria and asked how everything was going. Apparently, her grandfather had been ill, and their regular doctor had recommended a specialist. Unfortunately, the specialist didn't speak their language. Additionally, even though the family had lived in Nashville for more than four years, neither Maria's parents nor her grandparents knew enough English to talk to the doctor, and they didn't trust a translator."

"Instead, they took Maria out of school to translate between her family and the doctor. So it happened that, after a tedious day of testing, it was Maria who had to tell her grandfather that he had only months to live. She was eight."


"What no one in this English language debate seems to want to discuss is that there are real people being exploited in this city. They live in destitution because our poverty is better than the hardship they have been accustomed to. Kept segregated by language, they are unable to utilize the opportunities around them."

Real motivations behind 'English first' aren't pretty

By Dwight Lewis
Full article here

I had an interesting phone conversation Wednesday with Guadalupe (Wally) Rendon, a 2003 graduate of the Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University, which trains mostly people of color seeking a newsroom career.

He said there is a deeper motivation for people who push a law such as the one to make English the "official'' language here.

"For all these years, white people have been in control of most things in the United States,'' Wally said. "I grew up in Texas, not far from San Antonio, and the politicians were white, the sheriff was white, but now it's just the opposite.

"Some people are fearful of such changes, and they use the English only issue as a way of getting back at people, or to subside the trend of Hispanics moving ahead.''

It is true, Wally said, that many immigrants from around the world come to the United States not able to speak English but most of them attempt to learn. Unfortunately, he said, this does not happen overnight.

"Go to the places where they teach English as a second language, and you will see that most of them are full or have a waiting list,'' Wally told me. "These people have the will to learn it, but it's not going to happen overnight.''

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Jackie Mason: we have English and they've got bubkes

There may be those among you who support including Spanish in our national language. I for one am 110% against this! We must preserve the exclusivity and, above all, the purity of the English language. To all the schlemiels, schlimazels, nebbishes, nudniks, klutzes, putzes, shlubs, shmoes, shmucks, nogoodniks, and momzers that are out there pushing Spanish, I just want to say that I, for one, believe that English and only English deserves linguistic prominence in our American culture. To tell the truth, it makes me so farklempt, I'm fit to plotz. This whole Spanish schmeer gets me broyges, especially when I hear these erstwhile mavens and luftmenschen kvetching about needing to learn Spanish. What chutzpah! These shmegeges can tout their schlock about the cultural and linguistic diversity of our country, but I, for one, am not buying their shtick. It's all so much dreck, as far as I'm concerned. I exhort you all to be menshen about this and stand up to their fardrayte arguments and meshugganah, farshtunkene assertions. It wouldn't be kosher to do anything else. Remember, when all is said and done, we have English and they've got bubkes! The whole mynseh is a pain in my tuchas!

Jackie Mason