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Week of: June 24, 2001

One Nation Must Have One Language

by F.R. Duplantier

" Immigration should promote a sense of national cohesion, based on shared values and a common language."

"While policymakers seem to lack a vision of what U.S. immigration policy is meant to achieve, the American public, at least, seems to have a visceral understanding of what is at stake," observes Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. "The American people do have a sense of what type of country they want, and want for their children -- and they are quite sure that the current policy is not leading us in that direction. What the public wants," he contends, "is a stable population size, a healthy economy, and a sense of national cohesion based on shared values and a common language."

In a chapter he contributed to a new report called Blueprints for an Ideal Legal Immigration Policy, published by the Center for Immigration Studies, Stein recommends eliminating immigration entitlements for extended family members to "put a brake on the primary force driving ever-higher levels of immigration. Limiting family-based immigration to the nuclear family -- i.e., spouse and unmarried minor children -- will prevent the immigration queue from growing each time a new person is admitted to the country," he explains. "When an immigrant with a spouse and two minor children is admitted, four visas from that year's overall allotment can be deducted, and there will be no indeterminate number of other relatives who must be granted admission down the line."

Stein insists that immigration policy should be responsive to the needs of the new economy. "We cannot build a successful 21st century economy with an immigration policy that does not select people with 21st century skills," he warns. "Liberating ourselves from the self-imposed 'requirement' that we admit certain people just because they happen to have a relative in the United States will restore flexibility and responsiveness to the system."

Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum affirms that "the best, quickest, most obvious, and most efficient way" to assimilate the many immigrants who "come here from so many other continents and cultures" is to "teach them to speak English. Immigrants who come to America want to be Americans and to enter our social, political, and economic mainstream," she asserts, and to do so they must be proficient in our language. If they fail to learn English, "immigrants are forever relegated to menial jobs."

In a recent issue of her Phyllis Schlafly Report, the grassroots conservative activist emphasizes that the United States "was founded with English as our language. The U.S. Constitution is written and implemented in English," she adds, "and there is no official version in any other language. All major legal materials are in English." Schlafly considers English "the most important tie that binds us together as a nation. Our public schools should be mandated to teach all children in English," she advises. "The language of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution is fundamental to our national identity and to our destiny. Without it, we will cease to be one nation out of many."


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