Bill Murchison

For instance, why the ad hoc spread of bilingualism: the appearance everywhere in Texas of Spanish as, seemingly, the logical complement to English? The Latin-derived language of Madrid, and even of Nuevo Laredo, is lovely enough, but it is not easy to forget that knowledge of English is a requirement of citizenship. For whom are those ubiquitous Spanish notices meant? Clearly, for the non-English speaking. Meaning non-citizens? Of course. But why?

Why, too, in Texas, free public schools for the children of illegal immigrants? Why in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities for these same children's older siblings? These are claims by the illegally domiciled against their hosts, whose sense of justice is duly outraged, as in Farmers Branch. Thus people resolve on forms of action meant -- as in Farmers Branch -- to redress the oversights of Those In Charge.

Those In Charge ought to listen better than they have been. They are losing -- as in Farmers Branch, as in the Congress of the United States -- the respect and acquiescence of those whose interests they supposedly advance.

It is one thing to accept, even welcome, the historic human phenomenon of immigration. It is another thing to see disrespect for law, for process, for rational modes of doing things, and not fear that a crisis of legitimacy is fast growing among us.

Congress this year -- one reads -- may finally do something halfway sensible about illegal immigration. Congress -- one knows -- has a lot of making up to do for squandered time.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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