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Texas senator calls man's Spanish-language testimony 'insulting,' tells him to 'speak English'
New York Daily News ^ | 6/17/11 | CHRISTINE ROBERTS

Posted on 06/17/2011 10:51:59 AM PDT by Ballygrl

A Texas state senator is under fire for telling a man that his Spanish-language testimony was "insulting" during a committee hearing earlier this week.

Republican Chris Harris interrupted Antolin Aguirre of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition just minutes into his statement against the Lone Star State's new sanctuary cities bill.

The legislation, which was passed by the Senate Wednesday, allows police officers to verify the immigration status of detained suspects.

Harris told Aguirre that he "should be speaking in English."

"Did I understand him correctly that he has been here since 1988?" Harris asked. "Why aren't you speaking in English then?"

Aguirre responded through an interpreter that he felt more comfortable speaking in his native language because it was his first time giving a testimony.

"If he knows English, he needs to be speaking in English," the senator fired back.

Harris's comments have reinvigorated a debate over recent immigration legislation in other states that gives police the authority to check a suspect's immigration status.

Alabama passed a bill earlier this month that allows law enforcement officials to detain drivers who have committed a traffic violation if there is "reasonable suspicion" that they are in the state illegally.

Politicians there drew inspiration from controversial immigration legislation that was passed in Arizona in April 2010.

Arizona's law required all immigrants to carry immigration documents and gave the police wide liberties to detain suspected immigrants.

Opponents have argued such legislation could lead to widespread discrimination and encourages racial profiling.

The federal court later blocked several of the Arizona law's most contested stipulations.

Harris's spokesperson, Kristen Webb, supported the senator's outburst in a written statement issued after the hearing, according to KHOU 11 News.

"Senator Harris' comments were in no way intended to be derogatory," Webb wrote. "He continues to support the passage of SB 9 which will prevent Texas cities from directly or indirectly harboring illegal immigrants. This legislation creates a uniform standard across the state that will make Texas safer."

Texas's House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill next week.


TOPICS: Government; Mexico; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: aliens; assimilation; austincitylimits; english; gimmegrants; illegals; immigrants; mexico; nohabla; press1forenglish; texas
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Did a search and couldn't find that this was posted. I called his office to offer my support and the woman who answered said about 98% of her calls were supportive and she's gotten calls all over the US and even Canada.

There's also a poll at the link, the results so far:

Do you agree with Sen. Harris that speaking Spanish during a committee hearing is 'insulting'?

Yes, if the person testifying knows English...then he or she should speak in English. 76%

No, the person testifying should be able to speak in whatever language they want. 22%

I'm not sure. 2%

1 posted on 06/17/2011 10:52:03 AM PDT by Ballygrl
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To: Ballygrl
Link
2 posted on 06/17/2011 10:53:43 AM PDT by Ballygrl
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To: Ballygrl

IMO, all the morons who are complaining about this courageous Senator’s comments are the problem in this country.

In my opinion, the 22% who said speaking Spanish while testifying is okay and the 2% that polled “I’m not sure” are, obviously, Liberals and a national disgrace who have no brain cells functioning!


3 posted on 06/17/2011 10:56:11 AM PDT by ExTexasRedhead
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To: Ballygrl

Can I give my testimony in Pig-latin? How about Klingon?


4 posted on 06/17/2011 10:56:22 AM PDT by Hodar (Who needs laws .... when this "feels" so right?)
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To: Ballygrl

I agree. It isn’t like he is some kind of foreign diplomat or couldn’t speak the language. He was making a political point. I’m glad the Texas Senator called him out. Been here since 1988 and still isn’t comfortable speaking the language?


5 posted on 06/17/2011 10:56:24 AM PDT by Maelstorm (Better to keep your enemy in your sights than in your camp expecting him to guard your back.)
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To: Ballygrl

“ENGLISH, mo*#$&@*&r!!! Do you speak it?”


6 posted on 06/17/2011 10:57:57 AM PDT by OCCASparky (Steely-eyed killer of the deep.)
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To: OCCASparky

GIMMEgrants are exempt.


7 posted on 06/17/2011 10:59:43 AM PDT by WOBBLY BOB ( "I don't want the majority if we don't stand for something"- Jim Demint)
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To: Ballygrl

My parents came to this country nearly 50 years ago from a Spanish speaking country, and you can be damn sure that they learned English as best they could within a few years time. They still both speak with a Spanish accent, but that’s just how it goes. Their English is better than many native English speakers today.


8 posted on 06/17/2011 10:59:44 AM PDT by Paradox (Obnoxious, Bumbling, Absurd, Maladroit, Assinine)
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: Ballygrl

It is called pandering. If I were Hispanic, I would be insulted that the Democrapic Party would think that I am moronic compared to the countless Asian and Eastern European immigrants before them who learned English.


10 posted on 06/17/2011 11:03:04 AM PDT by crusty old prospector
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To: Maelstorm

Texas can do this. Other lands taken by from Mexico in the war of 18146-8 —lands that are now California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado & Utah were gained by the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and in the treaty it said that in these lands everything would be English and Spanish. BUT Texas was not listed so there no legal restrictions on English Only policy. So there is a fig leaf of a right to Spanish in these states and these states only. At least that’s my read on the treaty.


11 posted on 06/17/2011 11:03:52 AM PDT by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: Ballygrl

This rep was wrong, dead wrong!


12 posted on 06/17/2011 11:04:04 AM PDT by rawhide
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To: Ballygrl

He has been here for twenty-three years and still doesn’t know English well enough to use it in public.

This is a great example of what the Left and so-called “moderates” think of as assimilation.

I rest my case.


13 posted on 06/17/2011 11:05:10 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Muslim Brotherhood (renames itself) the Liberty and Justice Party. NOT A JOKE.tst)
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To: Ballygrl

The guy was speaking Spanish because he WAS NOT speaking to the Senator, but giving the Local Univision Network sound bites. He couldn’t have cared less if the Senator understood him, he wasn’t the targeted audience.

Once you understand how these people work, it makes understanding why they do what they do much easier.


14 posted on 06/17/2011 11:06:03 AM PDT by tcrlaf (You can only lead a lib to the Truth, you can't make it think...)
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To: Ballygrl

Good for the senator.


15 posted on 06/17/2011 11:06:33 AM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: Ballygrl

BTTT!


16 posted on 06/17/2011 11:07:57 AM PDT by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle ("If you're not fiscally AND socially conservative, you're not conservative!" - Jim Robinson, 9-1-10)
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To: rawhide
This rep was wrong, dead wrong!

Could you explain that?

17 posted on 06/17/2011 11:10:08 AM PDT by Post5203 (Our political class have sullied a good man's name...Washington)
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To: Paradox

I have no problem with people who have an accent, the fact that they at least try and communicate in English is important.


18 posted on 06/17/2011 11:10:24 AM PDT by Ballygrl
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To: Paradox
My parents came to this country nearly 50 years ago from a Spanish speaking country, and you can be damn sure that they learned English as best they could within a few years time.

My Grandmother, Father's side,came over from Lithuania before WW1. Although heavily inflected,she learned English right away a would only let her children speak English at home. They did learn Lithuanian but only as a second language.

Why do all these new foreigners think they must buck about 200 years of our history? Division will bring this country down.

19 posted on 06/17/2011 11:13:02 AM PDT by OldMissileer (Atlas, Titan, Minuteman, PK. Winners of the Cold War)
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To: Ballygrl

The headline makes it sound like this guy was demanding a spanish speaker speak English in his presence, only when you read the story you find out that he was only upset because the speaker was here for 23 years without bothering to learn the language.

I’m an immigrant, I came here with my parents, who were around 35 years old when we came here, probably older than the guy who needs an interpreter, yet there is no way they would ever ask for one or even need one. We came here, understood Americans speak English and then did our best to become Americans. No hyphens, no special interest designation, AMERICANS!


20 posted on 06/17/2011 11:16:30 AM PDT by libertarian neocon
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To: rawhide

Senior, shouldn’t you be posting that in Espanol?


21 posted on 06/17/2011 11:17:14 AM PDT by PAR35
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To: Ballygrl
"Did I understand him correctly that he has been here since 1988?" Harris asked. "Why aren't you speaking in English then?"

That's it in a nutshell.

22 posted on 06/17/2011 11:17:33 AM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: OldMissileer

Divide and conquer, that’s the intent of multiculturalism. This is why English needs to be the official language, stop this pandering in other languages like they do at the bank, the post offices, and even the Cable companies. English is the 1 thing that we all had in common at 1 time.


23 posted on 06/17/2011 11:17:40 AM PDT by Ballygrl
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To: PAR35

Nyet!


24 posted on 06/17/2011 11:20:11 AM PDT by rawhide
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To: Ballygrl; maica
Arizona's law required all immigrants to carry immigration documents and gave the police wide liberties to detain suspected immigrants.

media bias alert: Missing word makes this a false statement. How about "wide liberties to detain suspected illegal 'immigrants'."

25 posted on 06/17/2011 11:20:36 AM PDT by Freee-dame
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To: Post5203
Da! The rep should never have made the comment the way he did, calling the man's language ‘insulting’, demeaning the guy. That is so wrong! Sure maybe he could not understand him ,but the rep should not have called the man out publicly in the way and manner he did! That was wrong and an apology should be given.
26 posted on 06/17/2011 11:22:39 AM PDT by rawhide
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To: libertarian neocon
the speaker was here for 23 years without bothering to learn the language.

Not even that: he does speak English but felt "more comfortable" using spanish in a state hearing in the USA(!)

27 posted on 06/17/2011 11:22:58 AM PDT by norton
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To: Forward the Light Brigade
lands that are now California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado & Utah were gained by the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and in the treaty it said that in these lands everything would be English and Spanish.

I don't see where the Treaty says anything about language.

Mexicans in those territories had the option within a year to declare themselves U.S. Citizens or remain Mexican (they would become U.S. citizens if they didn't declare either way). The Treaty was silent on the descendents of those opting to remain Mexican citizens, I've never heard of any cases.
28 posted on 06/17/2011 11:23:30 AM PDT by kenavi ("Que te reelija tu madre!" : anti-Daniel Ortega youth)
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To: All

Come now, English speaking folks need to know some Mexican..

Here’s a few to start off with...

La Raza

La MECHA

Reconquista

Aztlan

Well, on second thought, that’s probably all you need to know...


29 posted on 06/17/2011 11:25:10 AM PDT by Molon Labbie
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To: Ballygrl

This seems to be an issue mainly with Spanish speakers that come to this country. Just about all other foreigners I run into that come to the US to live or work, all manage to speak decent, if not excellent, English in a very short period of time.

My wife, who grew up in South America, bitches about it all of the time.


30 posted on 06/17/2011 11:27:20 AM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Join the AFL-CIO. The Communist Party needs new blood.)
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To: Forward the Light Brigade

Could you post the language from the treaty that says that? or a link to the entire treaty?


31 posted on 06/17/2011 11:28:10 AM PDT by ngat
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To: Ballygrl
"Did I understand him correctly that he has been here since 1988?" Harris asked. "Why aren't you speaking in English then?"

Aguirre responded through an interpreter that he felt more comfortable speaking in his native language

Then he'd doubtless feel even more "comfortable" living someplace where said language was the native one.

32 posted on 06/17/2011 11:31:34 AM PDT by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle ("If you're not fiscally AND socially conservative, you're not conservative!" - Jim Robinson, 9-1-10)
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To: rawhide

Mr. Aguirre called KLBJ-AM later in the day and spoke near perfect American English. He’s just a media whore. So Mr. Aguirre was just telling the Senator I’m gonna speak whatever I want too and I don’t give a damn and so his buddy could soak up our taxpayer dollars being an interpreter.


33 posted on 06/17/2011 11:39:11 AM PDT by bjorn14 (Woe to those who call good evil and evil good. Isaiah 5:20)
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To: OldMissileer

But did she pass on the Kuldunai recipe?


34 posted on 06/17/2011 11:39:11 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Ballygrl

What this story doesn’t say is that Antolin Aguirre’s Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition is an offshoot of the Saul Alinsky Industrial Areas Foundation community organizations that have taken root in Texas and are working hard to recruit immigrants to their socialist agenda.
It is COPS (Communities Organized for Public Service) in San Antonio, the Metropolitan Organization in Houston, Valley Interfaith, EPISO (El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization), Metro Alliance, and Allied Communities of Tarrant County. It also has ties to the US communist Workers of the World groups.


35 posted on 06/17/2011 11:40:30 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: rawhide

Can we assume that you don’t read English very well.

The senator said the fact the man’s testimony was Spanish was insulting, not his language.


36 posted on 06/17/2011 11:40:30 AM PDT by chaosagent (Remember, no matter how you slice it, forbidden fruit still tastes the sweetest!)
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To: Ballygrl

It was posted earlier, but it has been several hours. Different source as well. (KTRH 740) This has been a hot topic for KLBJ in Austin today.


“Why Aren’t You Speaking English?” A Texas Senator is receiving praise and criticism.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2735997/posts


37 posted on 06/17/2011 11:41:18 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (zero hates Texas and we hate him back. He ain't my president either.)
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To: Ballygrl

I note that the “speakers” groups web site is offline:

http://www.austinirc.org/

I note that their notice that their site is offline is IN ENGLISH!


38 posted on 06/17/2011 11:42:19 AM PDT by isthisnickcool (Sharia? No thanks.)
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To: rawhide

I would not want him to apologize. I think the Senator was right on. If somebody has been here 20+ years and does not learn how to speak English, he is not trying very hard to assimilate. He does not need to be testifying before the legislature in the first place. To hell with this guy, ALL state business should eb conducted in English.


39 posted on 06/17/2011 11:47:50 AM PDT by jospehm20
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To: Ballygrl
"Why aren't you speaking in English then?"

Hey, man I oney bin here twentree year! You spect me tuh learn Eengleesh in twentree year?

40 posted on 06/17/2011 11:53:33 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault (Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
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To: DoughtyOne
He has been here for twenty-three years and still doesn’t know English well enough to use it in public

No, he was speaking in Spanish because it is his native language and he thought he could communicate better. The speaker actually called into the Morning Show on KLBJ today and he can communicate very well in English.

41 posted on 06/17/2011 11:58:09 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (zero hates Texas and we hate him back. He ain't my president either.)
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To: VeniVidiVici

I think it is a critical mass issue. In some parts of the country (Miami I know for a fact, I assume others are as bad or worse) you can go about a normal day not having to deal with anyone who isn’t a native spanish speaker. Every other language group pretty much has to learn english.


42 posted on 06/17/2011 11:59:18 AM PDT by WoofDog123
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To: jospehm20
"...should eb conducted..."

Absoluetly rihgt.

43 posted on 06/17/2011 11:59:27 AM PDT by diogenes ghost
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To: Ballygrl

I used to work with a guy who escaped from Poland during the Solidarity movement. He used to get mad at our southern mush-mouth. In his thick Polish accent, he’d say, “Speak English, G— D——t!”

I can imagine him saying that to the Mexicans that have overrun this area.


44 posted on 06/17/2011 12:02:03 PM PDT by wolfpat (Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. -- Cicero)
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To: Arrowhead1952

if he did say this, then I can sympathize with his feelings on the topic - it is unnerving to be forced to communicate in a legal setting where 1) what you say wrong may have a different implication or meaning, or be used as such, and 2) you don’t know every last rule of grammar and syntax (obscure verb tense agreements, when to use this preposition or that one), and it is embarrassing to sound ignorant.

That said, the political environment is such that native citizens are very tired of the entire 2-language, unrestricted illegal immigration with fedgov defending it, etc., thing, and will make that point, and politicians know it.


45 posted on 06/17/2011 12:02:43 PM PDT by WoofDog123
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To: Ballygrl

In the country how long?

Still couldn’t speak English?

How many ways can I spell “ILLEGAL ALIEN”.

Get that slob’s stinkin’ butt back to Mexico...and charge Mexico for all the welfare, etc this leech has taken from us.

And I’m not kidding.


46 posted on 06/17/2011 12:03:03 PM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: Ballygrl
Senator Harris is correct; this blatantly inconveniencing the procedings is an insult to the responsible citizens of this country, and I am reminded of 43's role in this by this logo I saved from his whitehouse.gov site.

W didn't get it, and his pandering to Mexicans living as Mexicans in the United States affirmed their desire to remain Mexican while living in the Land of Liberty.

.

.

It is interesting that 31 states have some form of and "official English" law.
Texas is not one of them.

.


47 posted on 06/17/2011 12:05:43 PM PDT by skeptoid (The road to serfdom is being paved by RINOs, and Lisa Murkowski is their mascot.)
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To: Ballygrl

Here is the bottom line.

A “Working knowledge of English” (I think that’s close) is a REQUIREMENT of LEGAL immigration.
No one is supposed to be able to become a citizen unless they can read, write, and speak standard American English!
It’s a basic requirement!
It has a lot to do with public safety and being able to function as an informed voter, both important to our public well being.

If this guy is so uncomfortable speaking English in public he clearly should not have citizenship, if he is not a CITIZEN he has NO business testifying in any U.S. legislature!

I would have been insulted too, this was an obvious ploy for political points over and above any legitimate testimony.


48 posted on 06/17/2011 12:07:06 PM PDT by Loyal Sedition (Loyal Sedition, often described as "To the right of Attila The Hun"!)
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To: bjorn14
Mr. Aguirre called KLBJ-AM later in the day and spoke near perfect American English. He’s just a media whore.

Yes, I heard him too. You are correct in calling him a media whore. Many Hispanic callers today thought he should have been speaking English.

49 posted on 06/17/2011 12:07:10 PM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (zero hates Texas and we hate him back. He ain't my president either.)
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To: bjorn14
Mr. Aguirre called KLBJ-AM later in the day and spoke near perfect American English. He’s just a media whore.

Yes, I heard him too. You are correct in calling him a media whore. Many Hispanic callers today thought he should have been speaking English.

50 posted on 06/17/2011 12:07:14 PM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (zero hates Texas and we hate him back. He ain't my president either.)
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