Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

March 29, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Congressional Immigration Bills


  • There are numerous bills before Congress dealing with immigration, including the one being protested across the country. Le Templar of the East Valley Tribune has been following the bills and will explain the basics of federal immigration legislation.
Guests:
  • Le Templar - editorial writer, East Valley Tribune
  • Ron Gould - state senator


View Transcript
José Cárdenas:
Tonight on Horizon, in last few days Arizona has seen massive protests over immigration policy and heard debates over bills currently in the legislature and in washington what. Are all the bills and what do they really mean? An expert joins us tonight to explain them. And English is our official language, tried to be enacted into law 18 years ago. Now it looks like a second round on the November ballot. Will the bill change how our state operates? We'll explore this when two legislators join us next on Horizon.

José Cárdenas : Good evening, welcome to Horizon. I'm José Cárdenas filling in for Michael Grant. Massive protests across the country would make being an illegal immigrant a country. We'll talk to a local columnist about the bills, but first, mike sauceda gives us a rundown of the bills currently being considered in congress.

Mike Sauceda:
The bill causing all the protests is the one passed by the house in December. What has most upset is the one making illegal presence in the country a felony and would require the building of tensions at border, the two most well-known provisions. But the bill would do much more. It would require all employers to use a database within six years to verify social security numbers of employees, require mandatory detention for all other-than-mexican illegal aliens, establishes mandatory sentences for smuggling illegals and re-entry illegally after deportation. It does not address what to do with illegal immigrants already in the country. A bill incorporates provisions from a bill sponsored by stores mccain and ted Kennedy. Without allow illegal immigrants in the United States before 2004 to continue working legally for sixiers if they pay a thousand dollar fine and undergo a criminal background check. They would become eligible for paying another fine, back taxes and having leashed English. New immigrants would have to have work visas and could earn permanent legal residence after six years. The bill would add 14,000 new border patrol agents with camera to monitor the border and a guest worker program for 1.5 million farm workers.

José Cárdenas :
Joining me to talk about the various bills, Le Templar, editorial writer for the east valley tribune. Welcome.

Le Templar:
Good evening.

José Cárdenas :
One of the bills not discussed was the one today from senator frist. Give as an overview of that.

Le Templar:
The senate majority leader had developed his own little immigration packages to put pressure on the judiciary committee to get work done on this and it's more focused on enforcement because he wants something positive for republicans to get done this year, if nothing else, to go to the elections in the fall and say we are being tougher on border security. And it does things like it also requires verification of an employee social security, that they're here legally, assess heftier fines against employers hiring illegal immigrants and jail tile if the government establishes a pattern of that. It establishes work visas under the current system that could be issued to people coming into the country.

José Cárdenas :
When you say expands, as opposed to house bill or existing?

Le Templar:
Both to the house bill and existing. In the sense that it basically so many permanent residency green cards are issued now eff year, and it would more than double that. And also would exempt relatives of u.s. citizens and say they could automatically get green cards to be here and that sort of thing. But it doesn't include a guest worker program and that's a key provision that was intended to push the judiciary committee because a lot of senators want to see that as part of immigration reform and basically what frist was saying is if you don't get this done, this is what you're going to have to live with instead. The senate judiciary did its job on monday, but in the tactics to make sure there's a bill available to vote on at the end of this process, fris took his bill to the floor of the senate today to start the debate but he's told the judiciary chairman, arlen specter, at some point he'll be allowed to substitute the committee's bill if he can get enough votes to support it.

José Cárdenas :
When we talk about the end of this process timewise, what are we looking at?

Le Templar:
probably next week we'll see where the senate's going to go on this and whether they're going to go with the judiciary committee with the mccain Kennedy provisions and the agricultural guest worker program as well or they're going to go with the Frist bill that focused much more on enforcement. After that it's really up in the air what happens, because we don't know -- republican leaders in the ho us have claimed despite what they did in December with tough enforcement package that they recognize a guest worker program had to be part of comprehensive reform. The question is whether they have enough republicans' votes to pull that off because they generally will not go to the floor with a bill that requires more democrats than republicans to pass.

José Cárdenas :
now the portions of house bill 4437 that seem to park the marches, were those that made criminal being here with improper documentation and also assisting in any way those who were here without proper papers. What is the Frist bill with respect to that?

Le Templar:
Frist does not include the provision on helping people who are here. It does make being here a misdemeanor, in the sense that it already is a misdemeanor, but the way the law is written, you basically the only penalty is being deported, sent back across the border. In theory you could receive up to six months in jail time under the Frist provision.

José Cárdenas :
and what about as we relates to the guest worker, that would be something that Frist doesn't have, the president's made it very clear neat that's important to him. What are we likely to see there?

Le Templar:
the senate will have a guest worker program I suspect. Democrats will filibuster any bill that doesn't have it and probably have the votes to keep something from happening without a guest worker provision in it. Republican majority and senate judiciary committee, my guess is they'll do it again on the floor if republicans don't coalesce around a plan but we don't flow if it's sellable to the house. And the president has been walking a tightrope in that he wants a guest worker program but doesn't want to give the impression of endorsing amnesty for immigrants already here and ackerring a large portion of the republican base that are really bothered by that.

José Cárdenas :
now, lost in all of this is the Kyl Cornin bill. How does it compare to the other proposals?

Le Templar:
it would say if you're here now, you could stay and continue to work up to five years assuming you weren't a security threat. It provides certain incentives for you to leave the country earlier and reduced penalties for re-admittance and that sort of thing. But at some point within those five years, if you want to come back here and work longer, you are expected to return to your home country and apply for a work visa from the u.s. embassy in that country, u.s. consulate. Valid for two years, you have to go back home every two years to renew it. You could have it up to six years. The key issue is that the Kyl Cornin bill does not provide any provision for dealing with im grants in this country or living here permanently in terms of beyond that. I mean, you get to stay for five years then you would be expected to leave and take your family with you, and 0that's why it's considered the no amnesty guest worker program.

José Cárdenas :
What's been considered amnesty are the citizenship provisions as I understand it of the McCain Kennedy bill, but it's a pretty long process.

Le Templar:
Right, critics call it that because in end if you've crossed illegally and stay out of trouble you eventually have the opportunity to become a citizen. But you pay fines, back taxes, have you to wait much longer than a person who comes in legally on a new guest worker visa to apply. And so you know, it's likely that people who would have to go through that process wouldn't view it as amnesty. They'd have a lot longer wait to determine where they'd ever get from residency and citizenship.

José Cárdenas :
The house bill has been criticized as highly unrealistic because in terms of the 11 or so million immigrant's here without papers it basically says go to jail or go home, am I flight.

Le Templar:
Right.

José Cárdenas :
And is there any expectation they'll budge and ultimately compromise there?

Le Templar:
yes. The impression I've been given was the whole point of the house bill in December was to set a guidepost saying we are tough on border enforcement and we recognize the concerns of native Americans to illegal immigration. But a lot of republicans, particularly with the protests and the movement that it's taken on in the last few weeks, recognize that the felony option won't work. It won't work because we have no physical way to round up that many people in either jail or send them home to their home country. Take, for example, here in Arizona, its estimated --

José Cárdenas :
Let me ask you this first, only got about a minute left. You mentioned the protests. What's why you are assessment of the political and the public fallout from that, positive? Negative?

Le Templar:
Well, there are two sides of it. Clearly there's a growing movement on the pro help the immigrant who's here now side. They're getting much more organized, showing a much broader support than people realized before, but they're also angering a lot of average u.s. citizens who weren't so much bothered by their presence but don't like the fact that they're protesting and tying up traffic and don't have the proper permits for what they're doing and a lot of them are marching with Mexican flags when they're frying to claim they want to be good u.s. residents and u.s. citizens. That bothers these people who want to see immigrants supporting America first.

José Cárdenas :
We'll have to leave it at that. Le Templar, thanks for joining us.

Le Templar:
Thank you, sir.

José Cárdenas :
One bill getting much public attention, resolution 2036. It would make English the state's official language. Now, this may sound familiar. Several years ago a similar bill was introduced to Arizona voters. This time the legislature hopes to permanently put it in the state's constitution. If it becomes law Arizona would be the 28th state to declare English the state's only language. We are joined by two legislators who will discuss the issue. But first Nadine Arroyo explains the history of this initiative.

Nadine Arroyo:
The state legislature is back to the debate box on another very partisan issue. English as the state's official language. Some say it can be considered anti-Hispanic, while others argue that it's not about cultures but rather about a unified country. In 1988 proposition 106 was voted into law, establishing English as the state of Arizona's official language, with three major points. One, all political agencies, officials and employees conduct business in English only. Two, no other language law can be enforced. And three, no governmental documents are valid or enforceable unless they are in English. Shortly after prop 106 was voted into law, the Arizona supreme court ruled it unconstitutional. The court said that requiring all state and local government officials and employees to act only in English during performing their government duties violated the first amendment rights. 18 years later, a new version of that bill is making its way to the November ballot. Last week the state house voted 34-22 in favor of house concurrent resolution 2036. HCR 2036 would make English the state's official language and would require official government business to be conducted in English. But exemptions are made, assisting individuals with disabilities, assisting the hearing impaired, international trade and tourism and informal 10 translations between government representatives and other persons. HCR 2036 will go for a vote in the senate.

José Cárdenas :
Here now to talk about the bill that would make English Arizona's official language, HCR 2063 and their positions on the matter, are state senator Ron Gould and representative Steve Gallardo. Senator, thanks for joining us, representative Gallardo, good to have you back.

Steve Gallardo:
Thank you.

José Cárdenas :
Senator, the preamble to the new proposal makes reference to the need because in recent years the role of English language as a common language has been threatened by governmental actions that either ignore or harm the role of English. Can you elaborate on that?

Ron Gould:
What we want to do with this bill is we think that a common language, English as the official language, would unify Arizona. You know, I think it's best for everybody if we all have the same common language and so that we can all communicate. Because if we can all communicate we can all better get along.

: Now the same arguments were made 18 years ago for proposition 106 and that didn't go through and the state seems to have done fairly well without that since then. Why the need for this proposal now?

Ron Gould:
Because we're starting to see more and more people that don't speak English and we're trying to incentive those folks to learn the English language so we can better get along. It's also a cost-saving measure. Look at the cost of producing materials in different languages, look at Canada, two basic languages, English and French. They spend $24 per person to produce that literature and if we extrapolate that to the population of Arizona, it's $144 million. That's quite a burden on the taxpayer.

José Cárdenas :
Do we have any other cost figures for what this would save in Arizona?

Ron Gould:
That's the only one off the top of my head.

José Cárdenas :
In the video package we covered some of the provisions of the law. Can you give us some idea of what some of the other things?

Ron Gould:
Essentially what this is going to do, English would be the official language of Arizona and it would only be legal to do business, government business, in the English language. So we wouldn't be producing literature in any other political subdivisions in a language other than English.

José Cárdenas :
Representative Gallardo, the fact is that English is the language of certainly of business and of the majority of people in this state and this country. Why are you opposed to the initiative?

Steve Gallardo:
Well, English is already the official language. I think that's real important to make clear. If we're ever going to try and unite the state of Arizona, we have to get away from a lot of these divisive type issues and this particular issue is exactly that. This issue is not going to unite the state of Arizona. It only divides us. English is already the official language. There is not one person or organization I know of who is trying to change English as the official language. We all recognize English as the official language, folks are coming into our country and they are rushing to English language classes to learn the language as fast as possible and to assimilate within our community. This particular act violates the first amendment rights of many citizens and the equal protection act, it's unconstitutional, it's similar to what was tried in 1988 and it's something that's not needed in the state of Arizona. We recognize English as the official language. No one's trying to change it. We should be working to try and help folks to learn English by providing more classes, that sort of stuff. But by trying to make what is already the official language, it's just wrong. Just divides the state.

José Cárdenas :
As I understand it though, what was wrong with prop 106 what the court found was a problem with prohibition on legislators and other government officials communicating with their constituents in languages other than English. This bill seems to try and deal with that. Am I wrong?

Steve Gallardo:
Well, unfortunately it doesn't. What we've done with this particular version, we have tweaked it from what we had in 1988. It's still the exact same English-only type bill we had before. They may call it English as the official language but it is English only. Perfect example is the Arizona Mexico commission. You look at this type of commission. How is a member of this commission who is working on behalf of the state, who is doing a function of the state, how is he going to work and not be able to speak Spanish? That's a big issue. And when this was brought up with some of the sponsors of the bill, those that support it, they had no response. The fact is it would prevent people like myself, public elected official, from communicating to a lot of my constituents and working on behalf of my constituents and doing it as an official act without violating this particular version of English only.

José Cárdenas :
Senator Gould, if the goal here is to promote the use of English, why not take the money and spend it on providing classes to teach people English?

Ron Gould:
We've got plenty of money out there for English classes, there's English classes all over, every community college has English classes, but I did want to take issue with something Steve mentioned, was that Arizona Mexico commission would not be able to-- converse in Spanish and that's not true, there's a provision in the bill to allow international trade to be conducted in whatever language was beneficial. But there's a lot of stuff here that wasn't in the proposition from ten years ago. I think one of the main reasons that it was struck down by the Supreme Court, the prior initiative was probably over voting rights. And this bill doesn't address voting rights. They'll still be able to produce ballots in multiple languages because we're under the federal government's control of elections. Arizona's a voting rights act state and everything has to be run through the federal government and justice department.

Steve Gallardo:
One of the things I do want to point out, the Arizona Mexico commission does more than trade. There's a lot of other functions the commission does. Even to use another example, the actual issue of marriage. Folks that are getting marriage within Arizona, imagine someone who is taking the vow, the most sacred thing they can do, take their vows in marriage, imagine someone having to take their vows without understanding it. It's a perfect example of why this is not needed. We already recognize English as the official language. We don't need another divisive measure on the ballot. No one's trying to change it. We recognize English as the official language. Let's not deal with this. One of the things we have to talk about, the cost. Is there a cost saving by having English as the official language? Yes, very minimal, not to the tone of millions that my fellow colleague indicates. The surveys or numbers we got from the marriage council was I believe it's somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 to the state general fund. So the amount of money that's going to be saved is minimal. Many of the forms that are printed are federally required so we don't even have a choice in that matter. So even if this is passed we're still required to put those forms in multiple languages. The forms that the state has the options of just doing in English is very minimal.

José Cárdenas :
Senator Gould, the purpose you say of this legislation and it says it here, is to unite us, but as you can tell from representative Gallardo's reaction, they view it as divisive. How do you respond to that?

Ron Gould:
It's not intended to be divisive. It's intended to unite everybody under a common language. How do we communicate if we aren't on the same page speaking the same language.

Steve Gallardo:
I agree with my it fellow colleague here. We should be rushing out and helping folks try to learn the language and help them assimilate in our state but not with this measure. If you want to do it, let's go ahead and provide these classes, English language learning classes, to adults, to new arriving citizens, there's a lot of things we can do.

José Cárdenas :
The senator says the classes are already available. How do you deal with that?

Steve Gallardo:
They are. They are. But I think the state can take even a greater role to provide it. Yes, we have English learning classes but we can do much more from a state level. So if we're truly interested in providing language classes let's go ahead and do it. The perfect issue we had to deal with over this past legislative session is the issue of e.l.l., English language learning. Let's see what we can do to provide more money in terms of e.l.l. and teaching kids English. These are the things the state should be doing, not putting divisive measures that are merely symbolic, and that's exactly what this is, symbolic.

Ron Gould:
Sometimes you have to put a deadline on something, you have to play tough love. That if you don't put a deadline that says okay, from this day on all business is going to be conducted in English, what motivation do people have to learn English? If they can conduct their daily business in another language, if every piece of paper that they need is provided to them in their native tongue to, you know, we need to mainstream it, people, and that's what we're trying to do and that's what the Flores lawsuit was about, was about mainstreaming these kids and bringing them into the melting pot which is the American dream. My ancestors spoke Gaelic, they're from Scotland. You don't see a whole lot of Gaelic speaking going on in the United States anymore because we were mainstreamed. My wife's father, grandparents, emigrated from Sicily. You know, where they speak Italian.

Steve Gallardo:
But --

Ron Gould:
But, see, what's happened in the past is people have had motivation to mainstream their kids because they know that this is beneficial, and if we look at income statistics, someone that doesn't have a grasp of the English language is only going to make 57\% of what somebody who does have a grasp of the English language, it's been…

Steve Gallardo:
People recognize that.

José Cárdenas :
There's a difference between the children who are as you indicated assimilating the language and their parents. Your wife's grandparents didn't have to learn English overnight which is what this would require effectively, isn't it?

Ron Gould:
I don't know how you would phase this in. Before we went on air we were having a discussion on this. How would you phase something like this in? Would you say the driving handbook is on January and then say maybe March we're going to do the water bill? There's no way to phase it in. And it's going to effectively be phased in over a period of time anyway. You're going to have forms that you're going to use up because I'm sure we're not going to be so physically irresponsible to go in with the dollies and load up all these forms in multiple languages and throw those in the dumpster. We're going to use those forms up, and people will help each other. You know, if we rely on the community to help each other, we don't need these government programs. If we would get back to a sense of community, we wouldn't need big government anymore.

José Cárdenas :
Representative Gallardo, all the democrats voted against this. But is there anything that would be acceptable to the democrats that goes beyond simply stating English as the official language of Arizona?

Steve Gallardo:
We already recognize English as the official language and that's the critical part. This isn't new territory. This is already in our constitution. This has been voter approved in 1988 and it's in our books now. If you look in the constitution, it does say English is our official language. So why are we bringing this, and going back to the issue of your relatives coming to this country and learning English, Arizona's a border state. The fact is a number of folks that we have now are now becoming citizens in our country that are coming into Arizona are speaking Spanish. And to be able to say that at one point no one else coming in our state is going to -- is going to know Spanish is wrong. I think people are going to continue to come to this state from all walks of our world and helping them learn English is the right thing to do.

José Cárdenas :
We're going to have to end it there. Thank you both, gentlemen.

Steve Gallardo:
Thank you.

José Cárdenas :
And join us on Horizonte tomorrow, talking about Friday's immigration march, the bond election and more and join Michael Grant Friday for the journalist's roundtable when he looks back at the week's headlines. I'm José Cárdenas , for all of us here on Horizon, have a good evening.

Official English


  • In 1988, Arizona was the first state to make English the state's official language. The state Supreme Court later declared the law unconstitutional. Now, the English-only immersion debate may be taken to the November 2006 election ballot. HORIZON will take a look at the English-only efforts and what this means for Arizonans.
Guests:
  • Le Templar - editorial writer, East Valley Tribune
  • Ron Gould - state senator


View Transcript
José Cárdenas:
Tonight on Horizon, in last few days Arizona has seen massive protests over immigration policy and heard debates over bills currently in the legislature and in washington what. Are all the bills and what do they really mean? An expert joins us tonight to explain them. And English is our official language, tried to be enacted into law 18 years ago. Now it looks like a second round on the November ballot. Will the bill change how our state operates? We'll explore this when two legislators join us next on Horizon.

José Cárdenas : Good evening, welcome to Horizon. I'm José Cárdenas filling in for Michael Grant. Massive protests across the country would make being an illegal immigrant a country. We'll talk to a local columnist about the bills, but first, mike sauceda gives us a rundown of the bills currently being considered in congress.

Mike Sauceda:
The bill causing all the protests is the one passed by the house in December. What has most upset is the one making illegal presence in the country a felony and would require the building of tensions at border, the two most well-known provisions. But the bill would do much more. It would require all employers to use a database within six years to verify social security numbers of employees, require mandatory detention for all other-than-mexican illegal aliens, establishes mandatory sentences for smuggling illegals and re-entry illegally after deportation. It does not address what to do with illegal immigrants already in the country. A bill incorporates provisions from a bill sponsored by stores mccain and ted Kennedy. Without allow illegal immigrants in the United States before 2004 to continue working legally for sixiers if they pay a thousand dollar fine and undergo a criminal background check. They would become eligible for paying another fine, back taxes and having leashed English. New immigrants would have to have work visas and could earn permanent legal residence after six years. The bill would add 14,000 new border patrol agents with camera to monitor the border and a guest worker program for 1.5 million farm workers.

José Cárdenas :
Joining me to talk about the various bills, Le Templar, editorial writer for the east valley tribune. Welcome.

Le Templar:
Good evening.

José Cárdenas :
One of the bills not discussed was the one today from senator frist. Give as an overview of that.

Le Templar:
The senate majority leader had developed his own little immigration packages to put pressure on the judiciary committee to get work done on this and it's more focused on enforcement because he wants something positive for republicans to get done this year, if nothing else, to go to the elections in the fall and say we are being tougher on border security. And it does things like it also requires verification of an employee social security, that they're here legally, assess heftier fines against employers hiring illegal immigrants and jail tile if the government establishes a pattern of that. It establishes work visas under the current system that could be issued to people coming into the country.

José Cárdenas :
When you say expands, as opposed to house bill or existing?

Le Templar:
Both to the house bill and existing. In the sense that it basically so many permanent residency green cards are issued now eff year, and it would more than double that. And also would exempt relatives of u.s. citizens and say they could automatically get green cards to be here and that sort of thing. But it doesn't include a guest worker program and that's a key provision that was intended to push the judiciary committee because a lot of senators want to see that as part of immigration reform and basically what frist was saying is if you don't get this done, this is what you're going to have to live with instead. The senate judiciary did its job on monday, but in the tactics to make sure there's a bill available to vote on at the end of this process, fris took his bill to the floor of the senate today to start the debate but he's told the judiciary chairman, arlen specter, at some point he'll be allowed to substitute the committee's bill if he can get enough votes to support it.

José Cárdenas :
When we talk about the end of this process timewise, what are we looking at?

Le Templar:
probably next week we'll see where the senate's going to go on this and whether they're going to go with the judiciary committee with the mccain Kennedy provisions and the agricultural guest worker program as well or they're going to go with the Frist bill that focused much more on enforcement. After that it's really up in the air what happens, because we don't know -- republican leaders in the ho us have claimed despite what they did in December with tough enforcement package that they recognize a guest worker program had to be part of comprehensive reform. The question is whether they have enough republicans' votes to pull that off because they generally will not go to the floor with a bill that requires more democrats than republicans to pass.

José Cárdenas :
now the portions of house bill 4437 that seem to park the marches, were those that made criminal being here with improper documentation and also assisting in any way those who were here without proper papers. What is the Frist bill with respect to that?

Le Templar:
Frist does not include the provision on helping people who are here. It does make being here a misdemeanor, in the sense that it already is a misdemeanor, but the way the law is written, you basically the only penalty is being deported, sent back across the border. In theory you could receive up to six months in jail time under the Frist provision.

José Cárdenas :
and what about as we relates to the guest worker, that would be something that Frist doesn't have, the president's made it very clear neat that's important to him. What are we likely to see there?

Le Templar:
the senate will have a guest worker program I suspect. Democrats will filibuster any bill that doesn't have it and probably have the votes to keep something from happening without a guest worker provision in it. Republican majority and senate judiciary committee, my guess is they'll do it again on the floor if republicans don't coalesce around a plan but we don't flow if it's sellable to the house. And the president has been walking a tightrope in that he wants a guest worker program but doesn't want to give the impression of endorsing amnesty for immigrants already here and ackerring a large portion of the republican base that are really bothered by that.

José Cárdenas :
now, lost in all of this is the Kyl Cornin bill. How does it compare to the other proposals?

Le Templar:
it would say if you're here now, you could stay and continue to work up to five years assuming you weren't a security threat. It provides certain incentives for you to leave the country earlier and reduced penalties for re-admittance and that sort of thing. But at some point within those five years, if you want to come back here and work longer, you are expected to return to your home country and apply for a work visa from the u.s. embassy in that country, u.s. consulate. Valid for two years, you have to go back home every two years to renew it. You could have it up to six years. The key issue is that the Kyl Cornin bill does not provide any provision for dealing with im grants in this country or living here permanently in terms of beyond that. I mean, you get to stay for five years then you would be expected to leave and take your family with you, and 0that's why it's considered the no amnesty guest worker program.

José Cárdenas :
What's been considered amnesty are the citizenship provisions as I understand it of the McCain Kennedy bill, but it's a pretty long process.

Le Templar:
Right, critics call it that because in end if you've crossed illegally and stay out of trouble you eventually have the opportunity to become a citizen. But you pay fines, back taxes, have you to wait much longer than a person who comes in legally on a new guest worker visa to apply. And so you know, it's likely that people who would have to go through that process wouldn't view it as amnesty. They'd have a lot longer wait to determine where they'd ever get from residency and citizenship.

José Cárdenas :
The house bill has been criticized as highly unrealistic because in terms of the 11 or so million immigrant's here without papers it basically says go to jail or go home, am I flight.

Le Templar:
Right.

José Cárdenas :
And is there any expectation they'll budge and ultimately compromise there?

Le Templar:
yes. The impression I've been given was the whole point of the house bill in December was to set a guidepost saying we are tough on border enforcement and we recognize the concerns of native Americans to illegal immigration. But a lot of republicans, particularly with the protests and the movement that it's taken on in the last few weeks, recognize that the felony option won't work. It won't work because we have no physical way to round up that many people in either jail or send them home to their home country. Take, for example, here in Arizona, its estimated --

José Cárdenas :
Let me ask you this first, only got about a minute left. You mentioned the protests. What's why you are assessment of the political and the public fallout from that, positive? Negative?

Le Templar:
Well, there are two sides of it. Clearly there's a growing movement on the pro help the immigrant who's here now side. They're getting much more organized, showing a much broader support than people realized before, but they're also angering a lot of average u.s. citizens who weren't so much bothered by their presence but don't like the fact that they're protesting and tying up traffic and don't have the proper permits for what they're doing and a lot of them are marching with Mexican flags when they're frying to claim they want to be good u.s. residents and u.s. citizens. That bothers these people who want to see immigrants supporting America first.

José Cárdenas :
We'll have to leave it at that. Le Templar, thanks for joining us.

Le Templar:
Thank you, sir.

José Cárdenas :
One bill getting much public attention, resolution 2036. It would make English the state's official language. Now, this may sound familiar. Several years ago a similar bill was introduced to Arizona voters. This time the legislature hopes to permanently put it in the state's constitution. If it becomes law Arizona would be the 28th state to declare English the state's only language. We are joined by two legislators who will discuss the issue. But first Nadine Arroyo explains the history of this initiative.

Nadine Arroyo:
The state legislature is back to the debate box on another very partisan issue. English as the state's official language. Some say it can be considered anti-Hispanic, while others argue that it's not about cultures but rather about a unified country. In 1988 proposition 106 was voted into law, establishing English as the state of Arizona's official language, with three major points. One, all political agencies, officials and employees conduct business in English only. Two, no other language law can be enforced. And three, no governmental documents are valid or enforceable unless they are in English. Shortly after prop 106 was voted into law, the Arizona supreme court ruled it unconstitutional. The court said that requiring all state and local government officials and employees to act only in English during performing their government duties violated the first amendment rights. 18 years later, a new version of that bill is making its way to the November ballot. Last week the state house voted 34-22 in favor of house concurrent resolution 2036. HCR 2036 would make English the state's official language and would require official government business to be conducted in English. But exemptions are made, assisting individuals with disabilities, assisting the hearing impaired, international trade and tourism and informal 10 translations between government representatives and other persons. HCR 2036 will go for a vote in the senate.

José Cárdenas :
Here now to talk about the bill that would make English Arizona's official language, HCR 2063 and their positions on the matter, are state senator Ron Gould and representative Steve Gallardo. Senator, thanks for joining us, representative Gallardo, good to have you back.

Steve Gallardo:
Thank you.

José Cárdenas :
Senator, the preamble to the new proposal makes reference to the need because in recent years the role of English language as a common language has been threatened by governmental actions that either ignore or harm the role of English. Can you elaborate on that?

Ron Gould:
What we want to do with this bill is we think that a common language, English as the official language, would unify Arizona. You know, I think it's best for everybody if we all have the same common language and so that we can all communicate. Because if we can all communicate we can all better get along.

: Now the same arguments were made 18 years ago for proposition 106 and that didn't go through and the state seems to have done fairly well without that since then. Why the need for this proposal now?

Ron Gould:
Because we're starting to see more and more people that don't speak English and we're trying to incentive those folks to learn the English language so we can better get along. It's also a cost-saving measure. Look at the cost of producing materials in different languages, look at Canada, two basic languages, English and French. They spend $24 per person to produce that literature and if we extrapolate that to the population of Arizona, it's $144 million. That's quite a burden on the taxpayer.

José Cárdenas :
Do we have any other cost figures for what this would save in Arizona?

Ron Gould:
That's the only one off the top of my head.

José Cárdenas :
In the video package we covered some of the provisions of the law. Can you give us some idea of what some of the other things?

Ron Gould:
Essentially what this is going to do, English would be the official language of Arizona and it would only be legal to do business, government business, in the English language. So we wouldn't be producing literature in any other political subdivisions in a language other than English.

José Cárdenas :
Representative Gallardo, the fact is that English is the language of certainly of business and of the majority of people in this state and this country. Why are you opposed to the initiative?

Steve Gallardo:
Well, English is already the official language. I think that's real important to make clear. If we're ever going to try and unite the state of Arizona, we have to get away from a lot of these divisive type issues and this particular issue is exactly that. This issue is not going to unite the state of Arizona. It only divides us. English is already the official language. There is not one person or organization I know of who is trying to change English as the official language. We all recognize English as the official language, folks are coming into our country and they are rushing to English language classes to learn the language as fast as possible and to assimilate within our community. This particular act violates the first amendment rights of many citizens and the equal protection act, it's unconstitutional, it's similar to what was tried in 1988 and it's something that's not needed in the state of Arizona. We recognize English as the official language. No one's trying to change it. We should be working to try and help folks to learn English by providing more classes, that sort of stuff. But by trying to make what is already the official language, it's just wrong. Just divides the state.

José Cárdenas :
As I understand it though, what was wrong with prop 106 what the court found was a problem with prohibition on legislators and other government officials communicating with their constituents in languages other than English. This bill seems to try and deal with that. Am I wrong?

Steve Gallardo:
Well, unfortunately it doesn't. What we've done with this particular version, we have tweaked it from what we had in 1988. It's still the exact same English-only type bill we had before. They may call it English as the official language but it is English only. Perfect example is the Arizona Mexico commission. You look at this type of commission. How is a member of this commission who is working on behalf of the state, who is doing a function of the state, how is he going to work and not be able to speak Spanish? That's a big issue. And when this was brought up with some of the sponsors of the bill, those that support it, they had no response. The fact is it would prevent people like myself, public elected official, from communicating to a lot of my constituents and working on behalf of my constituents and doing it as an official act without violating this particular version of English only.

José Cárdenas :
Senator Gould, if the goal here is to promote the use of English, why not take the money and spend it on providing classes to teach people English?

Ron Gould:
We've got plenty of money out there for English classes, there's English classes all over, every community college has English classes, but I did want to take issue with something Steve mentioned, was that Arizona Mexico commission would not be able to-- converse in Spanish and that's not true, there's a provision in the bill to allow international trade to be conducted in whatever language was beneficial. But there's a lot of stuff here that wasn't in the proposition from ten years ago. I think one of the main reasons that it was struck down by the Supreme Court, the prior initiative was probably over voting rights. And this bill doesn't address voting rights. They'll still be able to produce ballots in multiple languages because we're under the federal government's control of elections. Arizona's a voting rights act state and everything has to be run through the federal government and justice department.

Steve Gallardo:
One of the things I do want to point out, the Arizona Mexico commission does more than trade. There's a lot of other functions the commission does. Even to use another example, the actual issue of marriage. Folks that are getting marriage within Arizona, imagine someone who is taking the vow, the most sacred thing they can do, take their vows in marriage, imagine someone having to take their vows without understanding it. It's a perfect example of why this is not needed. We already recognize English as the official language. We don't need another divisive measure on the ballot. No one's trying to change it. We recognize English as the official language. Let's not deal with this. One of the things we have to talk about, the cost. Is there a cost saving by having English as the official language? Yes, very minimal, not to the tone of millions that my fellow colleague indicates. The surveys or numbers we got from the marriage council was I believe it's somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 to the state general fund. So the amount of money that's going to be saved is minimal. Many of the forms that are printed are federally required so we don't even have a choice in that matter. So even if this is passed we're still required to put those forms in multiple languages. The forms that the state has the options of just doing in English is very minimal.

José Cárdenas :
Senator Gould, the purpose you say of this legislation and it says it here, is to unite us, but as you can tell from representative Gallardo's reaction, they view it as divisive. How do you respond to that?

Ron Gould:
It's not intended to be divisive. It's intended to unite everybody under a common language. How do we communicate if we aren't on the same page speaking the same language.

Steve Gallardo:
I agree with my it fellow colleague here. We should be rushing out and helping folks try to learn the language and help them assimilate in our state but not with this measure. If you want to do it, let's go ahead and provide these classes, English language learning classes, to adults, to new arriving citizens, there's a lot of things we can do.

José Cárdenas :
The senator says the classes are already available. How do you deal with that?

Steve Gallardo:
They are. They are. But I think the state can take even a greater role to provide it. Yes, we have English learning classes but we can do much more from a state level. So if we're truly interested in providing language classes let's go ahead and do it. The perfect issue we had to deal with over this past legislative session is the issue of e.l.l., English language learning. Let's see what we can do to provide more money in terms of e.l.l. and teaching kids English. These are the things the state should be doing, not putting divisive measures that are merely symbolic, and that's exactly what this is, symbolic.

Ron Gould:
Sometimes you have to put a deadline on something, you have to play tough love. That if you don't put a deadline that says okay, from this day on all business is going to be conducted in English, what motivation do people have to learn English? If they can conduct their daily business in another language, if every piece of paper that they need is provided to them in their native tongue to, you know, we need to mainstream it, people, and that's what we're trying to do and that's what the Flores lawsuit was about, was about mainstreaming these kids and bringing them into the melting pot which is the American dream. My ancestors spoke Gaelic, they're from Scotland. You don't see a whole lot of Gaelic speaking going on in the United States anymore because we were mainstreamed. My wife's father, grandparents, emigrated from Sicily. You know, where they speak Italian.

Steve Gallardo:
But --

Ron Gould:
But, see, what's happened in the past is people have had motivation to mainstream their kids because they know that this is beneficial, and if we look at income statistics, someone that doesn't have a grasp of the English language is only going to make 57\% of what somebody who does have a grasp of the English language, it's been…

Steve Gallardo:
People recognize that.

José Cárdenas :
There's a difference between the children who are as you indicated assimilating the language and their parents. Your wife's grandparents didn't have to learn English overnight which is what this would require effectively, isn't it?

Ron Gould:
I don't know how you would phase this in. Before we went on air we were having a discussion on this. How would you phase something like this in? Would you say the driving handbook is on January and then say maybe March we're going to do the water bill? There's no way to phase it in. And it's going to effectively be phased in over a period of time anyway. You're going to have forms that you're going to use up because I'm sure we're not going to be so physically irresponsible to go in with the dollies and load up all these forms in multiple languages and throw those in the dumpster. We're going to use those forms up, and people will help each other. You know, if we rely on the community to help each other, we don't need these government programs. If we would get back to a sense of community, we wouldn't need big government anymore.

José Cárdenas :
Representative Gallardo, all the democrats voted against this. But is there anything that would be acceptable to the democrats that goes beyond simply stating English as the official language of Arizona?

Steve Gallardo:
We already recognize English as the official language and that's the critical part. This isn't new territory. This is already in our constitution. This has been voter approved in 1988 and it's in our books now. If you look in the constitution, it does say English is our official language. So why are we bringing this, and going back to the issue of your relatives coming to this country and learning English, Arizona's a border state. The fact is a number of folks that we have now are now becoming citizens in our country that are coming into Arizona are speaking Spanish. And to be able to say that at one point no one else coming in our state is going to -- is going to know Spanish is wrong. I think people are going to continue to come to this state from all walks of our world and helping them learn English is the right thing to do.

José Cárdenas :
We're going to have to end it there. Thank you both, gentlemen.

Steve Gallardo:
Thank you.

José Cárdenas :
And join us on Horizonte tomorrow, talking about Friday's immigration march, the bond election and more and join Michael Grant Friday for the journalist's roundtable when he looks back at the week's headlines. I'm José Cárdenas , for all of us here on Horizon, have a good evening.

What's on?

Content Partner:

  About KAET Contact Support Legal Follow Us  
  About Eight
Mission/Impact
History
Site Map
Pressroom
Contact Us
Sign up for e-news
Pledge to Eight
Donate Monthly
Volunteer
Other ways to support
FCC Public Files
Privacy Policy
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Pinterest
 

Need help accessing? Contact disabilityaccess@asu.edu

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University    Copyright Arizona Board of Regents