"We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language."
–– Theodore Roosevelt, 1907
President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress are championing comprehensive immigration reform that, in effect, will be open-borders amnesty.
The president, however, sternly notes that U.S. citizenship applicants will have to “learn English,” a requirement that is currently the law of the land.
Today, each applicant seeking to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen must be able to speak and read and write the English language.
In actuality, the English language skills requirement for citizenship applicants is loosely enforced, as are most citizenship requirements.
The president failed to keep his promise to Hispanic leaders that he would achieve such “reform” during his first year in office, and Hispanic leaders fear that immigration reform is being placed on the presidential back burner.
Hispanic Democrats in Congress continue to push for a comprehensive immigration bill. Since immigration legislation is unlikely to pass before the mid-term elections in November, his claim is merely a sop to Hispanic voters (legal and otherwise), unless the plan is to pass amnesty and a pathway to citizenship during the lame-duck session of Congress following the midterm elections.
Rumor has it that the Obama administration also is floating the idea of bypassing congressional debate by granting “amnesty by executive order.”
Meanwhile, non-English-speaking immigrants are adding to the cost of government nationwide.
Take New Jersey, for example. State court statistics show that English is merely one of the 150 languages spoken by the 1.75 million immigrants among the state’s population of 8.7 million.
In 2007-2008, New Jersey courts required translation services in 81 languages. Of the 87,766 court events requiring translations, 85 percent involved Spanish. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on July 12, that New Jersey police must speak to a person in his or her native tongue when discussing legal obligations. Thus a non-English-speaking person who is stopped for a traffic infraction or other police matter must be informed of any requirements in the person’s native language.
The court listed Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Portuguese, and Spanish as the languages requiring ready translations.
The court indicated that in the present world of technology, police can have translations available by computer or phone.
A New Jersey case in point: In 2007, German Marquez, an El Salvadoran, rear-ended another car. The state police determined by smell and observation that he was intoxicated. They offered him an alcohol breath test, which he refused.
This meant that he automatically would lose his driver’s license for seven months under state law. New Jersey, being a sanctuary state, did not allow the police to question his citizenship.
Marquez, claiming that he spoke only Spanish and didn’t understand what the police said, then challenged his conviction on failing to submit to a breath-alcohol test. The Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the order for the breath test must be made in the native tongue of the suspect.
Carried to its logical conclusion, New Jersey police officers will have to deliver investigation questions in the native language of non-English-speaking suspects or witnesses.
How was Marquez able to take his driver’s test, if he didn’t speak English? Here is how: Spanish-only speakers are allowed to take the New Jersey driver’s test in Spanish, even though road signs (at last check) are in English.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a brief stating that the lack-of-translation policy in New Jersey holds non-English speakers to a “higher standard” of remembering what’s in the driver’s manual.
The ACLU seems to argue that if you take the driver’s test in Spanish, you are less able to remember the implied consent law of New Jersey — giving advance consent to a breath test if stopped for impaired driving.
This posture demonstrates the absurdity to which immigrant-rights advocates will go.
The Marquez decision is yet another example of the liberal bias of many courts toward foreign nationals in the United States who are not adapting to U.S. culture, ethos, or language.
The decision in this case undermines the need for all residents, as distinguished from tourists, to have a basic knowledge of English. In the Marquez case, a foreign national living in the United States for years and currently in prison for drug dealing, uses alleged lack of language skills to excuse drunk driving, and is exonerated by the judicial system.
As many as 30 million foreign nationals currently reside in the United States illegally. Many do not speak English. In numerous cases, failure to understand English has resulted in injury and death to citizens and non-citizens alike.
Apparently the New Jersey state courts are more concerned with liberal ideology than jurisprudence.
The Obama requirement to “learn English” will be difficult to track. Who will monitor it and at what cost? Who will monitor those going to the back of the citizenship application line, and how will back taxes owed by millions of illegal aliens be calculated and collected? Wouldn’t payment of such taxes be a forced admission of guilt for having broken federal law?
Illegal aliens are being courted as undocumented Democrats.
The liberal Democratic establishment appears willing to bypass the U.S. Constitution, the Republic, and American linguistic heritage in its drive for power.
The New Jersey Supreme Court's Marquez decision is an example of diversity gone awry. Teddy Roosevelt might have a pithy word or two for New Jersey and the rest of the country, as we allow English and our tradition of assimilation to lose ground.
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