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Postby onnestabe » Fri May 19, 2006 8:34 am

cnn.com wrote:'National' or 'common'? Senate ponders what to call English

Friday, May 19, 2006; Posted: 8:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 GMT)

Sen. James Inhofe, seen in a 2005 photo, calls English the "national" language of the United States.
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President promotes immigration plan (6:15)

Some say Bush's 'virtual fence' plan unworkable (2:04)

Border Patrol would welcome National Guard troops (3:07)
RELATED
• Bush, Senate act on immigration
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Whether English is America's "national language" or its national "common and unifying language" was a question dominating the Senate immigration debate.

The Senate first voted 63-34 Thursday to designate English as the "national language" after lawmakers who led the effort said it would promote national unity.

But critics argued the move would prevent people with limited English from getting language assistance required by an executive order enacted under President Clinton.

So the Senate also voted 58-39 to make English the nation's "common and unifying language."

"We are trying to make an assimilation statement," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, one of two dozen senators who voted Thursday for both English proposals.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, disputed charges that making English the national language was racist or aimed at Spanish speakers. Eleven Democrats voted for his measure.

Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colorado, offered the alternative. The only Republican to vote solely for Salazar's "common and unifying" language option was Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, whose home state's constitution prohibits discrimination based on inability to speak, read or write English or Spanish.

Both provisions will be included in an immigration bill the Senate is expected to pass and send to conference with the House, where differences will be resolved.

President Bush, who often peppers his speeches with Spanish words and phrases, had little to say about the Senate votes while visiting the Arizona-Mexico border. "The Senate needs to get the bill out," the president said. ( Watch Bush explain how he will 'get the job done' -- 6:15)

Bush toured an unfortified section of the border in the Arizona desert Thursday, where he endorsed using fences and other barriers to cut down on illegal crossings. The Senate on Wednesday voted to put 370 miles of fences on the border.

Bush's border visit was part of his efforts to win over conservatives balking at his support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and a new guest worker program.

Bush asked Congress for $1.9 billion Thursday to pay for 1,000 Border Patrol agents and the temporary deployment of up to 6,000 National Guard troops to states along the Mexican border.

His request was not warmly welcomed by some key senators.

Sen. Judd Gregg, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, delayed a vote on Bush's promotion of U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman to White House budget director to show his displeasure. He said Bush's request calls for using money for proposed border security equipment to pay for operational exercises.

Byrd: I told you so
Sen. Robert Byrd, the Senate Appropriations Committee's top Democrat, complained that he had offered amendments providing for border security nine times since 2002, only to have the Bush administration reject them as extraneous spending or expanding the size of government.

"If we had spent that money beginning in 2002, we would not be calling on the National Guard today," Byrd said.

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers supporting the immigration measure continued to hold through the week. The group was able to reverse an amendment that denied temporary workers the ability to petition on their own for legal permanent residency, a step to citizenship.

Bill supporters restored the self-petitioning with the condition the federal government certifies American workers were unavailable to fill the jobs held or sought by the temporary workers.


http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/05/19/ ... index.html

So it looks like the statement "The USA has no official language" may not be true too much longer, unless you think this provision in the immigration bill will make Bush use his veto power for the first time.
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Fri May 19, 2006 12:32 pm

Official language status
The United States does not have an official language; nevertheless, American English (referred to in the US as simply English) is the language used for legislation, regulations, executive orders, treaties, federal court rulings, and all other official pronouncements. Many individual states and territories have adopted English as their official language:

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming


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Postby Sixxgunn » Fri May 19, 2006 1:56 pm

I'm tired of feeling like a tourist in my own country. Learn it or stay where you are. If you want to come here, work, live whatever, it's cool. But be able to comprehend when I say I want no pickles on my burger with extra onions. And I want a pack of Marlboros, not whatever you pick up off the counter because you can't understand what I asked for. I'ts a small thing really, to learn to speak the language where you earn your living.
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Postby jayday » Fri May 19, 2006 3:12 pm

Tiki wrote:Psssh....This is America we speak English tell those people to learn English. It's not that hard! My dad learned it in three weeks!

Learning Spanish is actually easier to learn than English with all the crazy spellings and grammar our language has....Spanish has much fewer exceptions to the rules than English....

If I worked there, I'd be more than happy to get paid to learn Spanish...It just opens up more oppurtunities job-wise for you down the road....

This is a good business decision for the store....However, I do see the counter side of the argument where these immigrants should take it upon themselves to learn some English as well....
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Postby xted30 » Fri May 19, 2006 3:29 pm

My girlfriend and I have this conversation all the time. I am one that believes English should be learned by any and all who live here in the U.S. She does not. I agree with points made by some that you would be expected to learn to speak Spanish to live in Spain or Chinese in China, etc., etc., etc. That being said, this was a BUSINESS decision, not a political one. This is absolutely great business by the owner. Why turn away money because you refuse to change your thought process. Working at Fidelity, we use interpreters for people who only speak Spanish, Chinese, Russian, whatever. Do I think the government could and should declare English as an "official" language? Absolutely. Will it ever happen? Never. We deal with it and we adapt or we fall by the wayside. We've got to learn not to dwell on the minor details. As far as I'm concerned, I don't care what language the customer speaks, as long as they keep coming back and spending more money. Just my $.02.
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Postby awwchrist » Fri May 19, 2006 4:28 pm

Tiki wrote:Psssh....This is America we speak English tell those people to learn English. It's not that hard! My dad learned it in three weeks!


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Postby SeaWolf » Fri May 19, 2006 5:50 pm

Wife works for Comcast and was denied a transfer to a job that requires customer contact because she doesn't speak spanish. :-t
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Postby Horizons » Fri May 19, 2006 7:04 pm

Sixxgunn wrote:I'm tired of feeling like a tourist in my own country. Learn it or stay where you are. If you want to come here, work, live whatever, it's cool. But be able to comprehend when I say I want no pickles on my burger with extra onions. And I want a pack of Marlboros, not whatever you pick up off the counter because you can't understand what I asked for. I'ts a small thing really, to learn to speak the language where you earn your living.

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Postby no1cowboysfan » Fri May 19, 2006 8:39 pm

As aforementioned, it's a good business.

Why would anyone care about this? If my work wanted to give me free education and pay me overtime (time-and-a-half at CA minimum wage is 10.13 an hour. Not shabby for doing classwork), I'd jump at the oppurtunity.

And for the record, no language is easy to learn (for me). I've taken 4 years of spanish (all high school), and I probably sound inbred when I try to speak to Latin peoples.
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Postby DelhommesFan1 » Fri May 19, 2006 10:16 pm

thank goodness i work for an internet company and dont have to have this problem.

My opinion on the matter tho. I do not feel individuals should have to learn spanish. I would say a majority of the spanish speaking people do not educate themselves in english. I wouldnt have a problem trying to learn their language if there was a middle ground, but there isnt. They move to this country and expect us to accomadate their lifestyles. Well, im sorry....i just wont fly with that.
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