Pelosi Hablo Espanol

San Fran Nan cares more about illegals than her own constituents.

The escalating battle over illegal immigration continues to ensnare floundering politicians in its sticky morass.  Last week's unexpected victim was New York (D) Gov. Eliot Spitzer, whose performance in this matter was notable mostly because he succeeded in ensnaring the usually invincible Sen. Hillary Clinton.  This week, it's the turn of San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

But first, some background.  Contrary to liberal propaganda, the overwhelming numbers of American voters who oppose illegal immigration care not a whit for the race of the immigrants, and are thus in no way racists.  What they object to is the wholesale importation of a foreign culture, most visibly characterized by the rising tide of a foreign tongue.

In many parts of the country, and in entire industries, it is now difficult to function without a working knowledge of Spanish.  Now, there's nothing wrong with the Spanish language; it has brought us, among a great many other things, the first modern novel, Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote.  But it is, as its name would imply, not the language of the United States, nor of our historical culture.  To impose such a change over the protests of the people is undemocratic in the extreme.

It's entirely natural, therefore, that the many small businessmen and managers of individual enterprises, should prefer employees with whom they can readily communicate - in short, to decline to hire folks who don't speak English.  This would appear to be no more than common sense - if you cannot talk to your employees, how can you manage them?  If they can't talk to your customers, how can they be served?

Now, there is a long and ever-increasing list of things against which it is illegal to discriminate - race, creed, color, ethnic origin, and so on.  But to date, "language spoken" is not one of them.

Never letting the law stand in their way, though, immigrant-rights attorneys have been filing a growing number of lawsuits with the EEOC, charging companies with discrimination on the grounds of language.

Turning the plain text of the law on its face, Democratic Rep. Charles Gonzalez of Texas - from his name, do we detect a vested interest here? - says, "If it is not relevant, it is discriminatory, it is gratuitous, it is a subterfuge to discriminate against people based on national origin."  In other words, if the company doesn't hire somebody, it must prove that this decision was made on a justifiable basis, rather than the other way round.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R, TN) filed an amendment to end this silliness, protecting employers from lawsuits on the grounds of language requirements.  In doing so, he places himself firmly on the side of three-fourths of the American populace - but very much in the minority of our Congress, alas.

The respond was immediate and savage - and has revealed an interesting rift in the Democratic party.  The House Hispanic Caucus demanded that Alexander's amendment be scrapped, declaring their refusal to pass a reform of the Alternative Minimum Tax otherwise.  (One wonders, what would be the reaction to the existence of a House White Caucus?)  In disdain for their oath of office, the members of the House Hispanic Caucus held the line on what they felt was best for their ethnic group, disregarding the best interests of the country as a whole, or even of their constituents.

And in response, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D, MD), in a shocking display of good sense, raged at the Hispanic Caucus chairman, "How dare you destroy this party? This will be the worst loss in 10 years."

Now, what a revealing statement that is.  It has frequently been argued over the last year, that Republicans are foolish to oppose the inevitable Hispanization of this country; they would do better to reach out to the immigrants, by granting amnesty, providing rights and government protections, and of course by, in effect, opening the borders to anybody's friends and relations.  In this fashion, goes the story, Republicans will show that they mean Hispanics well, and will be rewarded by their vote.

Aside from the inherently demeaning aspects of an argument which insists on assuming that people choose their candidates based purely on their ethnic group, this position has a factual flaw: voting patterns of Hispanics have been far more closely linked to their personal wealth than to their ethnicity.  As Hispanics grow richer, they tend to trend more conservative, as has been the case with most other ethnic groups.  So offering amnesty isn't going to help the Republicans any, not because the benficiaries are Hispanic, but because illegal immigrants are poor.

The rewards of amnesty seem obvious for the Democrats - more poor people, more votes for them, as has been the case since FDR.  But Rep. Hoyer has rightly realized that this benefit may be counteracted by a very large downside: the three-fourths of existing American voters who want immigration of all types - illegal especially, but legal as well - to be tremendously reduced, if not suspended entirely.  By thumbing their nose in the fact of this overwhelming majority, the Democrats are running a very serious risk; unless they are prepared and able to import the entire population of Latin America, they could potentially create a vote gap impossible to overcome.

The strategy for the Republicans seems obvious: resist and publicize any legislation that tends to favor illegal immigrants, and at every opportunity, propose bills that attempt to restore the famous American melting pot, the most prominent portion of which is our national language of English.

As Rep. Alexander points out, "We have spent the last 40 years in our country celebrating diversity at the expense of unity. One way to create that unity is to value, not devalue, our common language, English."  Even many Hispanics in the United States recognize the importance of this.

But Speaker Pelosi is moving to kill Alexander's commonsense amendment.  In doing so, she places herself firmly in opposition to the American people.  And the illegal immigration debate moves ever closer to becoming a new third rail of American politics.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Immigration.
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