Senate Adds Amendment to Immigration Bill to Make English Nat'l Language

Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R.-Okla.) amendment to the Senate immigration bill to make English the national language and require new citizens to pass a proficiency test gained passage this evening.

The amendment was approved 63-43 after hours of hours of debate before the vote which was decided largely on party lines. On the Senate floor Minority Leader Harry Reid called the measure “racist” before voting against it. Most Democrats were only supporting an amendment from Sen. Ken Salazar (D.-Colo.) to make English the “unifying” language of the United States and to guarantee those who don’t speak it will not be punished, which also passed 58-39.

Sen. Joe Biden (D.-M.D.), Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D.-Wisc.) all thought to be potential 2008 Democratic Presidential contenders, would not support making English the official language of our nation.

Approval of this amendment follows two other Republican-backed amendments to construct 370-miles of fencing in urban areas along the border and to bar criminals from gaining U.S. citizenship.