Hardly anyone predicted that the Bush-Kennedy-Kyl-Reid steamroller could be stopped. But as the New York Times reported on page one, the "Grass Roots Roared, and an Immigration Plan Fell."
The American people are fed up with the six years of "silent amnesty" President Bush has given us by his refusal to enforce the laws against illegal entry into our country, against hiring illegal aliens, and against allowing visitors to overstay their visas. The American people demanded that Congress reject the 400-plus-page bill that would grant Z visas to make Bush's silent amnesty permanent.
The grass roots showed their power over the White House, Big Democratic Establishment, Big Republican Establishment, Big Business, Big Unions, Big Media, and Big Church combined. Let's consider just one (largely unreported) of the many terrible proposals hidden in the crevices of the unlamented Kennedy-Kyl immigration bill: a surreptitious attempt to convert us to a bilingual (or even multilingual) nation.
Section 702(b) would have forbidden the government to "diminish" any existing rights under U.S. "laws" that concern services or materials provided by the government "in any language other than English." This section was given extraordinary scope by Section 702, which defined the word "laws" to include "Presidential Executive Orders."
These deviously written sections would thus have exalted Clinton's Executive Order (EO) 13166 to the status of U.S. law. Clinton's order requires all recipients of federal funds to provide all information and services in any language requested by any recipient of federal funds (such as a private-practice physician who accepts a Medicare or Medicaid patient).
Ergo, all applicants for the new Z visa could apply in any language of their choice. Applicants would even be provided with tax-paid attorneys to demand their Z visas and challenge any rejection.
Clinton's EO 13166 should be repealed and English should be legislated as our official U.S. language. A new Zogby survey reports that 84 percent of Americans support this, one of the highest percentages of yes votes ever recorded in public opinion polls.
CNN's televised presidential debates highlighted the chasm between the two parties on this issue. When Wolf Blitzer asked all the Democratic candidates "to raise your hand ... if you believe English should be the official language of the United States," only former Sen. Mike Gravel held up his hand.
A few nights later at the Republican presidential debate, Blitzer asked any candidate to speak up "who doesn't believe English should be the official language of the United States." Only Sen. John McCain spoke, hedging his reply by talking about the sovereignty of American Indians in Arizona.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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