Distributed Mind

Senate Hearing on Immigration Reform

I was just watching the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing held today on immigration reform from February 28th. Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez were providing testimony. Near the end of the hearing, one of the senators (I've forgotten who it was, but it was someone from out west) asked why the administration has not been supportive of promoting English as an "official" language. Gutierrez responded that we needed make it clear to immigrants that they need to learn English otherwise "we do them a disservice," but at the same time that it was in our best interests to encourage everyone to learn a second language, and we shouldn't do anything to send a signal that knowing only English was best. While I think he may have overstated slightly the need to learn English (though I'm not saying we shouldn't encourage people to learn English!) I think his second point was dead on. I've said similar or implied the same thing in the past, of course, so I am biased.

(I also find it interesting that with as much as I disagree with this administration - on nearly every issue, as a matter of fact - I find their immigration policy to be, well, better than nearly everyone else's, which isn't saying much (Immigration is one of the most regressive political issues in this country) except when they cave in to belligerent factions in Congress. Bush started out more progressive on immigration than he has ended up, at least as I remember it, and I'd lay the blame on last year's House. Still, the administration, and everyone else, could be a lot more progressive on this issue, and I wish they would.)

posted at 00:25:03 on 03/01/07 by ben - Category: Politics

Comments

Earendil wrote:

Of course, the administration does not have its policy for progressive reasons, but as a bow to business demands for cheap labor. The administration's work-visa program is perfect for business (a revolving door of cheap labor without threat of being illegal) while increasing the danger for immigrants of being deported since if the sign up for the visa they are now "in the system" and can be deported when it expires.
03/03/07 18:23:57

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