Friday, November 17, 2006

English Only Laws Gaining Ground at Local Levels

This morning's USA Today reports that English only measures are gaining ground among local voters around the country:

Voters and town boards in several states recently passed laws making English the official language, garnering Hispanic support in one case for what many say was a message to Washington.

Arizona voters last week approved Proposition 103, a constitutional amendment making English the official language of the state. Passing similar laws were the city councils of Taneytown, Md.; Farmers Branch, Texas, and the town board of Pahrump, Nev.

“The voters in Arizona are sick and tired of the federal government doing nothing on immigration,” said Arizona State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Phoenix, in explaining why she thought the measure passed in Arizona. She was an opponent of the proposition.

While English-only proposals in the U.S. Congress have gone nowhere, the Arizona measure passed by a 3-to-1 ratio, with 48% of Hispanics supporting it, according to an Associated Press exit poll.

Hispanic support is a sign that “the majority of Hispanics believe that the key to success in America is to learn the language of the land, learn English,” says Jose Esparza, vice chairman of the Arizona Latino Republican Association....

In Taneytown, where only 1.5% of the population is Hispanic according to the 2000 census, Councilman Paul Chamberlain says the official-English law will make “no practical change” because Taneytown does not provide services in Spanish.

“We will be helping immigrants learn the English language and not segregate into different communities,” he says.

Political scientist and pollster Fred Solop of Northern Arizona University says Arizona voters, including Hispanics, have made clear that the issue of illegal immigration is their number one concern.

“There were four immigration proposals on the ballot, if there were six, they would have all passed,” he says.
I've written much on illegal immigration, but click here for my most comprehensive post detailing my position on the issues. Also check out:

Jenn's entry today denouncing violent illegal alien criminals at Screw Politically Correct BS.

Mike Rosen at the Rocky Mountain News on
why the U.S. needs to seal its borders.

Tamar Jacoby at the L.A. Times on
why the GOP can't alienate the Latino voting constituency.

The Dallas Morning News on
why the GOP can't alienate the Latino voting constituency.

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