Obama: "Immigrants Must Learn English"

Todd Beeton reporting on an Obama event in Nevada:
[I]mmigration, as you might expect, is going to be a big issue in Nevada, as it was not in NH. . . . There were two distinct schools of thought represented in the audience, a nativist demo and an immigrant demo and Barack threaded the needle quite ably when he said he supports a path to citizenship but that it's not fair to give them special priv[i]leges, the undocumented population must pay a fine and "must learn English!" That last one got a huge reaction. . . .
(Emphasis supplied.) Perhaps it becomes less surprising to learn, as Taylor Marsh reports, Latinos are firmly behind Hillary:
There is not only "no exodus," but Clinton Hispanic support is mushrooming. Leaders in that community are actively engaged for Clinton here and today had to mean a lot to all of them. Hispanic leaders that the community respect showed up, including local politicians.
One of the reasons I have tepidly supported Obama was because he was not playing to the nativist crowd. It seems that, again, I may have been mistaken.

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    Must learn English (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:22:00 PM EST
    is not nativist, must speak English is.  There is a huge difference between saying immigrants must learn English and Hispanics must speak it. And Taylor Marsh, the most unbiased information on the blogosphere? come on?

    Hispanics are a more solid base of her support then any other group.  Yet she still tossed them under the bus over DL's.  Should tell you something.

    I am sorry (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:24:21 PM EST
    But if you are acting as if saying that was not pandering to the most vile sort of nativism then you are simply a blind supporter.

    I gave major props to Obama for his answer on drivers licenses for undocumented aliens.

    It drove my switch to him because I so detested Chris Dodd's answer and truly admired Obama's response.

    You are truly not worth engaging if you are going to defend what Obama said.


    Obama's answer (none / 0) (#5)
    by diplomatic on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:31:02 PM EST
    That was a courageous moment from him.  I remember it clearly.  The moderator asked the question in such a negative tone that Obama knew his answer would go against the grain but he said it anyway.

    But that was before his campaign faced some adversity and became too Axelrod-y for my taste.

    When is Axelrod getting fired?  Obama cannot win the election with that man working for him.


    Well (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:32:59 PM EST
    he won Iowa so I doubt he is going anytime soon.

    He was talking (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:41:01 PM EST
    about it in the context of a immigration reform.  Todd Beeton's reporting isn't that great, so just his isolated quote with an explanation mark makes it seem like he walked in front of people and said immigrants must learn English.  If you read the context it is clear he was talking about earning citizenship and that being a criteria.

    That makes it better? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:42:15 PM EST
    Seriously, you are such an apologist it is ridiculous.

    saying that learning (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:44:01 PM EST
    English is a criteria of earned citizenship offends you?

    Two simple rules (none / 0) (#69)
    by Warren Terrer on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 08:51:08 AM EST
    for Obama:

    1. Did Obama say or do something non-progressive? It was misquoted or mis-reported.

    2. Did Obama say or do something that non-progressives find appealing? They misunderstood him.

    It is a quote (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:43:10 PM EST
    in the context of Todd Beetons interpretation of what he said.  I think before you go declaring Obama  a nativist panderer you should at least go track down the full transcript.

    Corroboration from the Las Vegas Sun (none / 0) (#63)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 05:46:13 AM EST

    In a tense moment, Obama confronted the hazards of dealing with Western issues and the high emotions surrounding ones like immigration. A woman asked him what he would do to secure the borders and end the problem of "anchor babies," a phrase sometimes used to describe a child born in the United States to illegal immigrants or other noncitizens.

    A hush fell over the crowd. Obama didn't flinch, saying he would not change the provision in the Constitution that makes children born here U.S. citizens. He vowed to put illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship, but not before they pay a fine and learn English. The latter requirement earned him some of his biggest applause of the night.

    What is vile??? (none / 0) (#70)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 01:41:19 PM EST
    This is an English speaking country. You want to live here, then learn the language and use it.

    If you don't, what you will create is the Balkanization of the country, and all the problems that follow.


    Basless Spin (none / 0) (#71)
    by squeaky on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 02:14:59 PM EST
    Virtually no evidence has been produced on behalf of any of these propositions, all of which are demonstrably false. But in this strange debate, factual support has generally proved unnecessary for English-only proponents to advance their cause. The facts are that, except in isolated locales, immigrants to the United States have typically lost their native languages by the third generation. Historically they have shown an almost gravitational attraction toward English, and there are no signs that this proclivity has changed. To the contrary, recent demographic data analyzed by Veltman (1983, 1988) indicate that rates of anglicization - shift to English as the usual language - are steadily increasing. They now approach or surpass a two-generation pattern among all immigrant groups, including Spanish-speakers, who are most often stigmatized as resistant to English.


    Meanwhile, speakers of immigrant languages are on the increase, owing to relatively high levels of immigration.5 But according to the 1990 census, 97 percent of U.S. residents speak English `well' or `very well.' Only 0.8 of one percent speak no English at all, as compared with 3.6 percent in 1890, whenthe efficiency of counting immigrant populations was far inferior to today's. Proportionally speaking, 4.5 times as many Americans were non-English speakers a century ago, when schooling in languages other than English was, if anything, more common.


    Finally, there is no evidence whatsoever of linguistic separatism. Unlike Canada and numerous other countries, the United States has no political parties organized along ethnic lines. Minority politicians and advocacy groups generally pursue an agenda of expanding their constituents' access to, and advancement within, American society.



    Please try and keep up. (none / 0) (#72)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 07:41:51 PM EST
    There are several EEOC suits against businesses that have fired workers because they refused to speak English on the job site.

    OK (5.00 / 0) (#73)
    by squeaky on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 11:03:49 PM EST
    So what does that have to do with your baseless and absurd claim that if everyone does not learn English that what:

    you will create is the Balkanization of the country, and all the problems that follow.

    Language is the glue that (none / 0) (#74)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 07:08:53 AM EST
    holds the country together...without that you can have no common culture. No real communication at the base level.  What you will have is varies small groups being controlled by and pandered to by the politicians.

    If you don't understand that, then you understand nothing.


    More BS (none / 0) (#75)
    by squeaky on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 09:57:50 PM EST
    Your common culture nostalgia is nonsense, bordering on proto fascism. And to suggest that non english speakers are causing the

     Balkanization of the country, and all the problems that follow.

    both nasty and absurd.  


    Everyone in my family is for Hillary (none / 0) (#3)
    by diplomatic on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:27:03 PM EST
    Hispanic support for Clinton is pretty solid from what I can tell.  I was glad she won NH so we could see how much of a difference the latino vote can make for her on Super Tuesday.  According to the Pew Hispanic Center, she was at 54% vs 11% for Obama back in December.

    As far as Obama is concerned, I was ready to jump on his bandwagon, but then NH voted.  The very next morning his campaign starts acting weird and tone-deaf.  This example you cite is one more drop in the bucket.

    He keeps going out of his way to sound so bi-partisan and centrist it's making me sick.

    As Markos likes to say on Daily Kos -- ugh.

    This is new to me (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:29:00 PM EST
    Obama stood tall in resisting the nativist crap before this.

    I am truly offended by this.


    Snatching some independents (none / 0) (#55)
    by manys on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 12:14:04 AM EST
    Unfortunately, this is part of what centrism gets you.

    Criticism of Todd Beeton (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:37:16 PM EST
    They were very touching and sincere and typified, I think, the reason young people are so drawn to him. Their entire political life, George Bush has been president and the congress has either been an arm of the Bush regime or ineffective at curbing it. They're not convinced Washington can work, so Obama's sort of vague promises to "change Washington" are very appealing. The older people in the crowd, with more life experience and having lived through more presidents, had really practical bread and butter questions, whether about making joining a union easier, Yucca Mountain, health care and immigration reform. It was a striking difference.

    I'm so sick of people who don't support Obama deciding that since i do and I'm young i must be naive, and not know about issues.  Maybe a more accurate analysis would be that young people go online and look up policies, rather then go to speeches and expect to hear about them.

    Does any one really believe that we are living easy, we graduate school with 20,000 plus of debt, are less likely to get insurance from work, and have almost no job security.

    Really all these people that are convinced that since Clinton laundry lists issues she is "talking" about them.  The reality is that all her "experience" led her to almost he exact same policy proposals as JE and Obama.

    Interesting (none / 0) (#8)
    by BDB on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:37:23 PM EST
    When I saw Clinton in Dover, she said that as part of the path to citizenship, the undocumented would have to try to learn English, not "must."  I wonder if Obama really meant "must learn" as opposed to "must take English classes."  Because some adults are not going to be able to learn English.  I'm very sympathetic to that because I suck at foreign languages.  If I upped and moved to France, it would be years - if ever - before I could speak French.  

    It's interesting to watch the candidates try to walk a fine line on this issue.  Clinton clearly wants a path to citizenship and I think Obama does too.  But it's also clear that a substantial portion of the U.S. population is very concerned about what they perceive as the growing number of undocumented workers.  Are these concerns driven by racism?  To some extent I'm sure they are, but I also think they're driven by economic fears.  Certainly parts of the Republican party have sought to blame the undocumented for problems ranging from wage stagnation to healthcare - in an attempt to get folks not to blame Republicans, of course.

    So the trick is to try to reassure citizens that you are looking out for their interest while also trying to deal fairly and humanely with the millions of undocumented workers in the U.S.  It's not going to be easy.  I don't think nativist fears should be pandered to, but I do think allaying some of those fears is key to getting humane immigration reform done.  Ignoring the fears isn't going to make them go away and, to the extent hostility grows because citizens think Government isn't addressing the problems, that's going to hurt the undocumented more than anyone because they are so vulnerable (a point Clinton made in her call for bringing them out of the shadows).

    Well (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:40:03 PM EST
    Boo to Hillary for that too.

    IT is just pandering to nativist BS.

    Everyone is going to try and learn English.


    Yes (none / 0) (#22)
    by BDB on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:50:04 PM EST
    But there is a thin line between pandering and trying to lead folks to the result you want.  Nativist fears are not just going to go away, particularly as we head into a recession.  If throwing into a law a provision that undocumented workers have to take English classes is what it takes to get an immigration bill passed that gives undocumented workers a path to citizenship, then I say go for it.  So long as there is no English test they have to pass or anything and so long as the costs aren't prohibitive.  What's the worst thing that happens, they pick up some English which will only help them economically (and you're right, everyone is going to learn English or try to for employment opportunities if nothing else).

    Now, if a candidate is highlighting this position to play on nativist fears, then that's a problem.  If he or she is highlighting it to try to get more voters to support immigration reform that deals humanely with undocumented workers, then I personally don't have a problem with that.  


    Nonsense (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:51:27 PM EST
    Stop being what jgarza is for Obama.

    It is just as bad when Hillary says it.


    You Misread Me (none / 0) (#28)
    by BDB on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:58:03 PM EST
    I'm not defending any of this because of my support for HRC.  I honestly believe immigration is a tough issue politically and I'm sympathetic to politicians trying to figure out ways to get immigration reform without feeding the nativist backlash.

    Do I like or agree with the nativist backlash?  No.  Do I think politicians should be using things like this as applause lines?  No.

    But that doesn't solve the real problem that we face as progressives about how to get immigration reform through Congress without creating a public backlash.


    Well (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:01:44 PM EST
    I think you misread the politics on this.

    The nativists will mostly vote Republican.

    And pandering to them will cost you Latinos.


    Does Anyone Know (none / 0) (#17)
    by BDB on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:44:47 PM EST
    How hard Obama hit the "must learn English" because on re-reading the post I agree it looks like he emphasized that.  If that's right, then it does start to sound kind of bad.

    I'd like to hear the entire thing.  Parts of Clinton's immigration answer that I saw would sound bad taken out of context.  In context, it was pretty clear she was trying to allay nativist fears for the purpose of dealing humanely with undocumented workers.  She first discussed the need to protect our borders, but it seemed to me she was doing that to make people more receptive to her pitch about needing to provide a path for those already here to become legal.  She talked about how many feds would have to be hired, busses used, etc., to deport them all and how unrealistic that is and so the best thing we can do is bring them out of the shadows and give them a path to citizenship.  

    So, yeah, this part sounds bad, but I'd like to see if it was part of a larger narrative with a greater goal or if he was just pandering.


    It was a freaking applause line!!! (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:47:56 PM EST
    Certainly (none / 0) (#25)
    by BDB on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:52:46 PM EST
    That's what it looks like from the write up.  But I've been burned several times this election season by out-of-context quotes.

    Beeton is very sympathetic to Obama (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:56:18 PM EST
    He even calls this "threading the needle" the jerk.

    Heck, I guess Obama threaded the needle on McClurkin too.

    Allright, I am too pissed to continue in this thread.

    I guess the only thing that gets folks' goat is imaginary disses of MLK these days.

    F--- it all.


    This whole comment (none / 0) (#47)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:43:02 PM EST
    --especially the last line--captures what I'm feeling about our little part of the internet these days.

    Apropos to the USSC (none / 0) (#56)
    by manys on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 12:16:19 AM EST
    Inspiring apathy can be seen as a form of voter disenfranchisement.

    your passion (none / 0) (#50)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:47:39 PM EST
    on this is admirable.

    It looks like (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:48:52 PM EST
    that because that is the only thing that is quoted and Todd put an exclamation point

    You are so ridiculous (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:50:44 PM EST
    You will defend ANYTHING Obama says and DOES no matter what.

    No special privileges for you.


    This speech doesn't make (none / 0) (#10)
    by tnthorpe on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:39:44 PM EST
    Obama into Pete Wilson, for heaven's sakes, but it does show him willing to flirt with right wing memes--did he really say "special privileges"?--in order to broaden his appeal. I'm liking him less and less, but then I've never liked him much.

    Better than PEte Wilson (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:40:45 PM EST
    Talk about faint praise.

    I just saw red from that comment from Obama ands the FREAKING standing ovation for it.

    I am not in a frame of mind to be making rational arguments.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:02:39 PM EST
    Where did J's comment go?

    I had to re-write it (none / 0) (#36)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:08:45 PM EST
    because a sentence wasn't accurate. It's below.

    Sun.am: I just did (none / 0) (#68)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 08:47:35 AM EST
    You are right (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:03:50 PM EST
    I apologize and will delete my comment.

    Good (none / 0) (#37)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:09:14 PM EST
    thank you for offering to do that.

    delete my comment where i repeated it too (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:24:59 PM EST
    Done (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:26:15 PM EST
    Where are Hillary and Obama on Going to the Back (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:04:23 PM EST
    of the line?

    I know Hillary has done a lot for family reunification, but I don't know if it's just for families of those lawfully present or the undocumented as well. And she has supported worker's rights, not just employer sanctions.

    From her Senate website:

        The solution must also protect the sanctity of families and repair the broken, unfair bureaucratic system that forces citizens and lawful immigrants to live apart from their spouses and children.

        I was a strong supporter of the efforts to negotiate a comprehensive immigration reform package in the last two sessions of Congress. Earlier this year, I introduced a bipartisan measure to reunite hundreds of thousands of lawful permanent residents in this country with their spouses and minor children. I have also led efforts for the Immigrant Children's Health Improvement Act, championed the Access to Employment and English Acquisition Act, and co-sponsored the DREAM Act, which makes it possible for hardworking young people to attend college. Finally, I am proud to have joined Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and a bipartisan coalition of dozens of Senators as a cosponsor to the Agricultural Job Opportunity Benefits and Security Act of 2003, legislation that is essential to establishing an effective, legal workforce for the agricultural sector in New York State and throughout the country.

    From her presidential candidate website:

       And Hillary understands that our immigration policies have a direct impact on American workers. She opposes a guest worker program that exploits workers and creates a supply of cheap labor that undermines the wages of U.S. workers. Hillary believes all workers deserve safe conditions and decent wages. She supports an Ag Jobs program, which will keep our agricultural industry vibrant while enabling agricultural workers to receive the fair wages and labor protections they ought to receive.

    Ah (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:05:59 PM EST
    Now do a post on this.

    I'll delete ythis post, which is rather an emoptional outburst to what I perceived as a nativist bigoted pander by Obama if necessary.


    No, please leave it up (none / 0) (#39)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:14:17 PM EST
    There's too many comments and it would not be fair to delete. I will do another thread on this when I've researched both their positions on immigration.

    I'm pretty sure they are almost the same on immigration, with Hillary being better on family reunification and Obama being better on driver's licenses (assuming that's still true and he hasn't since changed to say it's a state's rights issue and not relevant to the president.)

    I see red just as you do when I read any of their immigration comments because none of them go far enough and I hate this back of the line posturing and call to deport anyone who has committed even the slightest of crimes.


    you guys know (none / 0) (#38)
    by KatherineH on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:14:09 PM EST
    that there's currently an English proficiency requirement for naturalization, right? It can be waived if you lack the capacity to learn it.

    Obama has promise to introduce legislation w/ a path to citizenship during his first year. As far as I know he is the only one to not only to support it, but promise to make it a legislative priority.

    I know it (none / 0) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:15:55 PM EST
    I assume Obama knows it.

    It majkes MANIFEST that his injection of that false line was a base pander to nativists to play on anti-Latino immigrant sentiment.

    It makes it WORSE, not better for Obama.


    you've got to be kidding me. (none / 0) (#41)
    by KatherineH on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:23:06 PM EST
    No (none / 0) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:25:01 PM EST
    you have to be kidding me.

    Are you really so naive to not understand the political purpose of the line?


    And I am not deleting this comment when someone writes "you got to be kidding me."

    Explain to me why Obama said that line in your opinion?


    Huh? (none / 0) (#60)
    by Mark Adams on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 12:28:17 AM EST
    He was talking about a path to citizenship that bypasses the current legal requirements (lawful residence status) and listing -- as far as I can tell -- what the new requirements would be.  Most of the current requirements involve residency, being here 5 continuous years with a bona fide abode, physically being here at least half that time which is only waived if you join the armed services, clean record, basic understanding of US Government and History (which should also be required to vote IMO), and ...
    The ability to read, write and speak ordinary English unless they are physically unable to do so due to a disability such as being blind or deaf, or suffer from a developmental disability or mental impairment. Those over 50 years old on the date of filing who have lived here for a total of at least 20 years after admission as a permanent resident and those who are over 55 and have been legal permanent residents for at least 15 years are also exempt from this requirement.
    I'm not apologizing for Obama, being a die hard Edwards guy (I still am a Cleveland Browns fan, and never getting to the Superbowl hasn't changed that.)  

    Please tell me that you don't think English should be a naturalization requirement anymore?  Seriously, don't go there.  It's absurd.

    I'd just like to know where all the fuss is coming from.  I mean really, knee-jerk much?

    This week I've seen more hysterics about misogyny, racism and now nativism where it isn't intended nor evident than I thought possible in Blogtopia.

    Stop it, just stop it.  This P.C. nonsense is silly and unwarranted.  All this looking for insult where none exists makes us all look like the cry-baby thumb-suckers the conservatives always laugh at us for being.  Just stop it.


    He was talking about what? (none / 0) (#67)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 08:23:37 AM EST
    No "special privileges" puts the lie to your description. But leave that aside.

    The LINE is a nativist pander.

    But defending Obama becomes the point for most of you.


    I'm googling (none / 0) (#45)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:28:49 PM EST
    to get the context, his says the audience is half white and half non.  i don't know if that means half black or Hispanic or what, Maybe the Hispanics were cheering the path to citizenship.

    Suuure (none / 0) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:44:42 PM EST
    More Misleading Comparisons from BigTent (none / 0) (#46)
    by AdrianLesher on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:35:02 PM EST
    Hillary Clinton's own Senate website says that she supports "path to earned legal status for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar, INCLUDING LEARNING ENGLISH." [emphasis added, of course]


    So what's the difference between Clinton and Obama on this issue? This just looks like another biased attack on Obama.

    Where is the comparison? (none / 0) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:44:17 PM EST
    Where's the comparison? (none / 0) (#54)
    by AdrianLesher on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 12:06:03 AM EST
    Perhaps the point should have been that an accurate comparison should have been made, rather than simply implying by omission that it is only Obama who supports learning  English as a requirement to gaining citizenship. (Or, for that matter, falsely implying that only Obama supports fines as a prerequisite to undocumented persons applying for citizenship. A quick Google search will show that Clinton supports fines as well).

    The way it stands, your post misleadingly makes it look like Clinton has strong support among Hispanic voters because she doesn't support fines and an English requirement.


    English requirement? (none / 0) (#59)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 12:20:41 AM EST
    Not so fast. See here.

    CLIMTON: ....we do expect people who want to become legal in America to try to learn English. But that doesn't mean that they have to give up the language that they originally had, but we have to do more with English as second language, more help in schools, to get people to be able to speak and comprehend English.

    Is "try to learn" English the same as a requirement of learning English? I'm not sure that she meant there to be a requirement as opposed to an effort.


    No it does not (none / 0) (#66)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 08:22:13 AM EST
    I do not see Hillary using that nativist pander as an applause line.

    Bill Clinton on Learning English in 1998 (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:51:37 PM EST
    From the LA Times -- children should learn English so they have a better life here. We should encourage more legal immigration.

    Everyone, especially children (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 12:02:03 AM EST
    SHOULD learn English.

    Making the line "immigrant MUST learn ENGLISH" an applaude line is straight out of Lou Dobbs.


    The top three on immigration (none / 0) (#52)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 11:53:51 PM EST
    from Reuters. Obama does support going to the back of the line. I'm still not sure that Hillary does.

    If George Bush Didn't Have to Learn English (none / 0) (#57)
    by john horse on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 12:16:51 AM EST
    If George Bush didn't have to learn English then why are we requiring immigrants to learn it?

    Hillary's Statement on Learning English (none / 0) (#58)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 12:17:40 AM EST
    Dec. 4, 2007, NPR Debate:

    Q: Is this country gradually going to become more a Spanish-speaking country, and should we accept that?

    A: Well, there's three different points here. First, we need to have English as a common, unifying language. It's an important part of who we are and how we keep this big, diverse country of ours going. Secondly, there are a lot of Americans who are citizens who speak different languages. I represent New York City. I think there's, like, 170 languages and dialects; the city would be in total chaos if people didn't get some services and some help in the language that they actually understood.

    And thirdly, make it clear that we do expect people who want to become legal in America to try to learn English. But that doesn't mean that they have to give up the language that they originally had, but we have to do more with English as second language, more help in schools, to get people to be able to speak and comprehend English

    Is she saying people don't have to learn English in order to stay in this country, but that they should try? I don't know.

    It is a terrific answer (none / 0) (#65)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 08:21:01 AM EST
    The children do learn English, (none / 0) (#61)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 12:53:43 AM EST
    at least in Southern California.  The parents sometimes do and sometimes don't.  Depends on where or if they work, for example.  Stay at hom Moms don't necessarily, women who clean hotel rooms may not, gardener crews may not at first, crew chief does, people who know enough English to get a better job improve their language skills. It kind of all sorts itself out here so, no, there shouldn't be a requirement the path to citzenship requires the "learning" of English.  

    He's been saying (none / 0) (#62)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 05:43:48 AM EST
    some variant on this for a while - that at least starting to learn English is part of the pathway to legal status for the undocumented. It's in the context of other punitive steps in order to earn legal status, like fines, passing a criminal background check, having to go to the back of the line, etc.

    It clearly doesn't apply to immigrants in general the way your headline suggests, it's part of the penalty for lacking documentation.

    It was a nativist pander in this speech (none / 0) (#64)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 08:20:04 AM EST
    Site Violator! (none / 0) (#77)
    by Zorba on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 06:23:42 AM EST