The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, May 19, 2006

'National language' efforts highlight GOPs immigration dilemma

The nationalist element of the Republican party is hoppin' mad over what they see as an administration unwilling to take the action necessary to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the country-- sensible proposals like militarizing the border or at least spending a few billion on a really, really big fence.

But they're right, in a sense. The administration continues to be caught between the xenophobia of the nationalists and the corporatists, who really like the cheap, non-union labor. And toothless initiatives like 'unifying language' resolutions aren't making anyone happy.

President George W. Bush has long opposed making English the country's national language, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Friday, the day after the Senate voted to do so.

The vote came in an amendment to proposed legislation overhauling U.S. immigration law and directed the government to "preserve and enhance" the role of English. Opponents said it could affect the status of some multilingual services offered by government organizations.

Adding to the confusion, the Senate also adopted a softer amendment calling English the "unifying language" of the United States. Senators take both versions into negotiations over a final bill with the U.S. House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Tony Snow is getting right into his role as White House spokesmonkey by making a contradictory statement:

As you know, there were actually a couple of amendments that came up yesterday, an Inhofe amendment and also a Salazar amendment. And what has come out of that is a description of English as the national language. And I think — and we have supported both of these. … And I think both of these amendments are consistent with that stated presidential desire.

I'm not sure how the Democrats can capitalize on the fecklessness of the GOP, except to point out that they're paralyzed with fear at losing either the racist vote or the corporate donors, but with the president actually talking sense on the issue while right-wing congressmen scream themselves hoarse about the threat to white America, the net effect isn't going to be positive for the Republicans. While anti-gay rights proposals and flag-burning hysteria might be reliable get out the vote tactics, their decision to turn immigration into the big issue of the summer is still looking like a grave miscalculation.