Speak English, State Senator Chris Harris Tells Witness

Republican Chris Harris, from Arlington, was highly insulted when a man testifying against the "sanctuary cities" bill had the gall to make his viewpoint known to elected officials in his native language.

Antolin Aguirre of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, who's been in the U.S. since 1988, spoke in Spanish because, his interpreter told Harris, it was his first time testifying before the Senate.

It started about two minutes into the testimony, when Harris's no doubt great depths of patience, sympathy and empathy with immigrants had, by then, been sorely tested.

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

He got the explanation about Aguirre being nervous.

"It is insulting to us," Harris responded. ""It is very insulting. And if he knows English, he needs to be speaking in English."

Somehow, we're guessing Harris is one of those Americans who -- if he ever does travel abroad -- gets highly annoyed at the different money and the fact that the people in Paris don't speak damn English like they should.

Way to rep, Rep.




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52 comments
guest
guest

Probably an illegal that needs to be deported.

Dave
Dave

Obviously Antolin Aguirre has a reason for mot speaking English. I don't think it is just because he is not comfortable speaking English to an American Senate. I think maybe the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition could have some ulterior motives. If you are not a citizen of the United States or invited here by our government you should not be protected by our constitution. However their argument is that it is a violation of illegal immigrants constitutional rights to be "profiled" and questioned about their legal immigration status. There is more to this than any of us see and it is really scary!

Guest
Guest

The more they insult us, the more people turn against them and their pro-illegal alien, open borders cause, so keep on keeping on Mr. Aquirre! Keep on demanding political favors from the gringos in a language we don't understand! Please, keep it up.

Dave Francis
Dave Francis

THE YEAR OF THE PEOPLE'S PARTY. THE TEA PARTY!

Its evident we need a PEOPLE'S PARTY to halt the corruption in Washington andhalt the premeditated influence of the Special Interest lobbyists and openborder Liberal Progressives.

The only way that we will repair the immigration enforcement law, such asenacting a permanent E-Verify, Secure Communities is to become an activist inthe TEA PARTY? Yesterday Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota Chairman of the TEAPARTY has now presented herself as a Presidential contender. Outside of themajority of the runners, Bachmann is a solid moderate Conservative who willadamantly battle business influence, all religious do-gooders, open borderadvocacy groups and the Obama government. Bachman has promised that growingnational trend towards tens of millions of average Americans joining the TEAPARTY will have a voice. 

No longer will this nation be dictated to by the US Chamber of Commerce or theCommunist inspired ACLU. This is not just white senior citizens coming to theranks of this new national political party, as furtively hinted bythe radical Liberal Progressives, but Hispanics, Asians, and legalethnic people who see the illegal alien invasion, as stealing low paying jobs,raising taxes to pay for the free education of these children and themillions of illegal people’s using our health care. Even having a baby in thiscountry is free, (NOT AVAILABLE TO LEGAL POPULATION) if you can slip past ourborder fence; this is a joke on all of us, because thousands of miles stillremain unprotected? Another interesting Republican I listened to on C-Span thismorning, was presidential candidate Buddy Roemer. He has been both aCongressman and Governor and in his speech in New Orleans today, he sounds likea TEA PARTIER? He substantiated the corruption that festers in Washington, thatdraws the Special interests and their lobbyists like blood-sucking leeches whohave written our tax system, to favor them. 

The giant corporations give billionsof dollars in campaign contributions to alter the course of our laws to favorthem. Huge dollar figures paid to both parties, which in return get illicitgovernment contracts and the return huge subsidies to giant agriculturalcompanies, drug companies insurance and others. Our multi-billionjobs go overseas as well as companies, and the only way to halt this rot, is tovote for TEA PARTY leaders. There will be no compromise with the suffocatingdollars of big business that is killing America's jobs, bringing in cheap laborlegally and stealing employment from our own people. Something that must bedealt with immediately is FREE TRADE, that isn't Free Trade as Buddy Roemersays; we are being taken advantage of? As I have mentioned before? We are thelargest consumer nation in the world, but we are being ripped off by Chinesecurrency engineering. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE EITHER LAUGHED AT OR TREATEDWITH DISDAIN BY OTHER NATION, FOR THE CLOWNS WHO GOVERN US. We better startremaking America or we need to be on a suicide watch. 

We are sinking in a cesspool ofgreed and corruption and the only way out of our financial mess is a TEA PARTYPresident, Tea party oriented Senate and a Congress. Not the usual RINO'S,Liberal and Democrat rhetoric and propaganda. Personages like Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona and State Senator Russell Pierce who are nowbeing victimized for carry out their duties, to protect their legal residents.They truly were the inception of the American people’s revolt against theunparalleled costs of illegal immigration, as they fought back against thisunfettered plague.

HOW MUCH LONGER ARE WE EXPECTED TO PAY FOR THE MILLIONS OF FOREIGNERS, WHOJUSTIFY ENTERING AMERICA ILLEGALLY? ARE THE PEOPLE SUPPOSED TO OUTLAY 2.5TRILLION DOLLARS FOR ENACTING ANOTHER AMNESTY? (Read what the HeritageFoundation who calculated this incomprehensible dollar number.) FOR DECADESNOW WE HAVE BEEN BLED BY THE IRS TO PAY FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS? You havealready seen the indifferent concern of the US government fordecades ignoring this issue, which has been mounting daily. Illegalimmigration has graduated to a far worse enigma, that was ever expected? It'ssickening that our country is turning into a balkanized society. How is it thathundreds of thousands of people, who legally arrived here, cannot comprehendthe English language? 

Isn't a person being inspectedby an agent supposed to be expected to have some knowledge of our national language? It’s adaily, monthly yearly mantra that illegal immigration is allowing even morepoverty to ruin the American citizens and legal resident’s life opportunities.Even as American population is suffering under this unceasing deluge ofimpoverished people, we are still forced to through our taxes to pander tothem. Michelle Bachmann will relieve the desperate in our society, reinforcingthe borders, tracking visa over-stays and reverse the illegal immigrationoccupation before it’s too late. Mandated E-Verify, Secure Communities andanother federal enforcement program 287 G. The TEA PARTY is growing instructure and will have an immense influence in the 2012 election.

 

Never the less, there are rumblingsthat illegal immigrants are intentionally voting in our elections. Blue Statesmust be carefully watched, such as Sanctuary states as California and Nevada.There have already been serious forged voting incidents in Arizona, Texas,Colorado, New York and more. Organizations such as Acorn, supposedly dismantledare alive and well under different names and are a major criminal enterprise infraudulent registrations. I think America is ready for a National ID card thatwould go a long way in stopping illegal aliens voting and also be yet anotheravenue to reduce corruption in welfare fraud.  NumbersUSA covers all thisimmigration information and more? Judicial Watch is your window into thecorruption and lies in Washington. To contact your Representative at federallevel; Senate—202-224–3121/ House—202-225–3121 

Guest
Guest

He has lived here for 23 years....where is the proof? Is he illegal too? Immigrants rights groups/aka anti-American groups....This was a stunt, pure and simple..good for Harris! It's about time....enough is enough!

Antaeus
Antaeus

If you've been living in a country for well over 20 years and you still don't master the language, you are disrespectful toward and obviously rather uninterested in the culture and mores of your voluntarily adopted home. It might be high time to go back to wherever you came from.I have lived in many countries on four continents and have always made it a top priority to have at least a working knowledge of the local language as soon as humanly possible. As a result, I speak three foreign languages and have at least some understanding of a further three or four. In my experience, if one doesn't do that one always remains an outsider to the respective society and - deservedly - fails to gain people's trust and respect.What's the point in living abroad, if one is unwilling to broaden one's horizon? Learning the language is the prerequisite for that.

Zorro
Zorro

Senator Harris is the poster child for Texas being 46th in education.  It wouldn't hurt him to learn another language.  If he has lived in Texas all his life, why doesn't he know Spanish.

Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith

Senator Harris: Just another Texas state representative making Texans looking stupid.

Mkarels
Mkarels

Allow me to point out one simple thing that might upset some of you.  Yes Americans are considered rude and pompous due to a perception that its our way or the highway, however, in some countries if they can speak english, if you don't AT LEAST ATTEMPT to speak their native language you will be ignored.  This country is a melting pot and we take all. But I ask one thing.  At least ATTEMPT to speak the language.  Some states are printing voting ballots in 10 or more languages.  When is it enough?  We send billions in aid to other countries each year, but when are we going to realize that we have to take care of ourselves FIRST.  Someone mentioned that the speakers comments were rude and out of line, perhaps.  But I feel right on the mark. Do you think any Americans who were living in another country for 23 years spoke english to Russian politicians, for example, on a bill under consideration would be tolerated.  I think not. 

zally
zally

Did Mr. Aguirre recieve his Immigration status from applying from his own country or was he covered under the amnesty act passed by Reagan which expired in the year of 1988. If so that would put him in this country before 1982, only becoming legal in 1988. If this is so then that to me tellls me Amnesty does not make you respectful of this country or it's language and only leads you to want more entitlments.

mollusk
mollusk

I wonder how many times our commentators have had the opportunity to speak from a witness stand.  To hostile questioners.  In some language other than what they first spoke.  Under oath.

I began taking Spanish over 40 years ago, when I was seven.  I know from experience that I can communicate well enough for day to day needs (including work) in Spanish alone.  But if I needed to testify in a legal proceeding in that language, you bet your wet tea bag I'd ask for an English interpreter.

JK
JK

What is even more galling than using one's own native language to communicate is the poor use of the English language demonstrated by Harris and several commentators (i.e., stranded prepositions, mixed voice, sentences beginning with conjunctions, pronouns without antecedents (WITHOUT ANTECEDENTS!!!). How does someone like Harris get elected without basic grammar skills?

HC
HC

If he's the head of an immigrants' rights organization and has been in the US for 20+ years, then shouldn't he know English?  Laws at all levels of the government regarding immigration are written in English, not Spanish.  I would think if he's in charge of such an organization he should be able to fluently understand English and understand legalese to navigate the laws.  Hell, most people who speak English don't understand US laws!  How do we expect a guy who doesn't speak fluent English to understand arcane immigration law?

Giovanni
Giovanni

Why must folks always use the race card when they are at a lose for a fact based argument? I love ALL God's children. It has NOTHING to with the color of his skin. Our frustration is due to either his ignorance, sloth, or just plain disrespect to our nation & it's culture. If you don't bother to learn the most basic skill of communication, what expectations have we that you'll bother to learn/follow the law or other such "inconveniences"?

Bob O'Byrne
Bob O'Byrne

Been here 20 yrs plus and decides to speak spanish at a goverment hearing.  Yep like PBO said in the USA we should learn to speak spanish.  Yep we are in real trouble now!!!

Prof. Topkat
Prof. Topkat

You're showing your left-wing credentials, Connelly.  You can bet that Antolin Aguirre of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition speaks fluent English.  Addressing the panel in Spanish was a deliberate calculated act of baiting the senators.

Mr. Blonde
Mr. Blonde

err, 23 years.  Just get out of America, Aguirre (pronounced "Aygwire").

Mr. Blonde
Mr. Blonde

He's been in the USA for ~13 years.  That's plenty of time for him to have learned English.   All immigrants should learn English in a reasonable amount of time of be expelled.  Speak English of get out.

Dr. Barrera
Dr. Barrera

It's sad to see that there is even racism on these blogs.

H_e_x
H_e_x

How many Americans know another language?

aptucker
aptucker

Mr. Connelly, if you don't understand the difference between speaking English in America and traveling abroad, perhaps you - like Aguirre - need to try peddling your ignorance in Mexico...

Giovanni
Giovanni

Mr. Aguirre, not having mastered English after 23 years, just proved the point that we make it way too easy to not assimilate.  Do I hear a Bill being introduced to make English the "official" language of the land?  If all welfare forms were written solely in English they'd learn real quick, wouldn't they?!  

Gerry
Gerry

well the man should have been speaking english if he was trying to push a valid point to a english speaking lawmakerbut this article makes the lawmaker seem rudehttp://ethicalfutures.wordpres...

cbcnd1
cbcnd1

I doubt Senator Harris would expect people in Paris to speak "damn English".  Somehow, I'm guessing, Mr. Connelly is a flaming liberal.

Guest
Guest

How about Mexico learns how to create a decent society instead of a Third World, drug-gang controlled, poverty-stricken toilet that nobody wants to live in? Why are Mexicans so arrogant about their preserving their precious "culture" when it has created nothing of value in 500 years?

Guest
Guest

You are confused aren't you? We are trying to educate throusands of country pueblo bumpkins who refuse to learn our English...

Guest
Guest

Why don't Mexicans learn how to create a decent First World society for their people to live in? Then they wouldn't have to run over the border, begging and whining endlessly for gringo tax dollars and gringo freebies and privileges. THEY are the stupid ones.

Paula Perry
Paula Perry

He was giving a statement of opinion.  No legal proceeding.

Patty
Patty

"fact based"  on what? What research has shown that assimilation is better than acculturation ? You are crossing a big line between following the law and understanding language, Following the law is somewhat of  an international language.  You say "it's culture" for our nation, but there is a slew of cultures that make it "America's culture" and speaking another language is one of them.  I do agree with some  illegal immigrant laws as many do not pay taxes and such, however, they are human beings and are usually here because it is very difficult to get visas or green cards.  Therefore, as a human being wanting a better life or even safety, they have to resort to extreme measures, and if he has been able to get by with 23 years without knowing the language, I think he has learned  to get by through culturally. Language is just one of the parts of the culture that he did not choose to assimilate to. Texas is 51% Hispanic, according the most recent census, and I think that people need to be a little more educated and aware of the various cultures and what assimilation causes.  Afterall we do border Mexico, thus it only makes sense that we cater to the culture. I do not agree with laws that force people to speak English, especially since it is not the official language. Once it is then people will have a point. I also do not agree with stereotyping people and asking for legal status, because tha,t my friend,  does have to do with skin color and someone's appreance.

Patty
Patty

I think it is easy to view your point when you have never faced with learning a second language. I have never had to do it either, however, once you become educated in second language learning acquistion and history, I think that you learn to appreciate where these people are coming from.  FYI, not everyone that lives here and doesn't know English was born somewhere else, so where do you expect them to go?  

Paula Perry
Paula Perry

He has been in this country since 1988, 23 years!  I hear he frequently calls into the radio station and speaks in fluent English.

Spitfiresa
Spitfiresa

Racism?? Have you ever been out of this country??

Mike
Mike

What "racism" are you referring to?  Mexicans/Hispanics aren'te even a different race but as a typical know nothing liberal you resort to spouting off nonsense when you are not bright enough to compose a valid argument.

There is nothing racist about requiring a foreigner who has actually been her 23 years to speak our language.

bob
bob

Not the point...When I go to France, I learn some French. I am going to Germany next year, I will learn some German. If I was going to be there for 23 years damn straight I would be fluent.

Mike
Mike

How many Americans go to other countries to testify in front of legislative committees?  

You are a simpleton.

JEnochPowell
JEnochPowell

I happen to be fluent in Spanish.  However, if those Americans who don't speak other languages do not go to other countries illegally, then testify about how wrong it is for those countries to enforce their immigration laws in English.  If I did that in Mexico, they'd kick me out of the country.  

Patty
Patty

Do you understand that there is a difference between "mastering" English and socially mastering English.  There is a difference and you may want to look it up before you use the word "master." You do not know Mr. Aguirre's history and age when he arrived here. You do not know what type of education he received once he arrived nor prior education.  Research has proven that age and native language development is a crucial part as to how a person will acquire English.  The fact that he expected to assimilate to this culture, makes it so that we (as Americans) appear to be arrogant,  and that they have to live by our ways or are not accepted.  It truly is disappointing, that there are ignorant people who do not understand the underlying issues and just view what's happening on the surface.

Glockster69
Glockster69

Would you expect another viewpoint form the HP?

Tdjazz
Tdjazz

The point is he's not in Paris . . . he's in the US and the native tongue here is English. If you can speak it, then use it. He did not NEED an interpreter and should not have been using one.

Hotmamastew
Hotmamastew

I'm so tired of this type of left wing whining!  Immigrants come to the US for many reasons but for the most part it's for a better life.  And in return for that better life they should, at the very least, learn to speak the language.  I work with many Hispanics who have done just that and have no problem speaking English.  I'm all for recognizing a persons culture and accepting where they came from.  We can learn a lot from people of other countries and ethnicities.  But not when we don't speak a common language!  Pretty soon we'll be like the city of Babel - no one understood a thing!  America should get back to being the Melting Pot of the world where people spoke the same language but loved their different backgrounds and cherished their heritage.  The more we become a Salad Bowl the less we have in common and the more we stand to lose.

TDJAZZ
TDJAZZ

I EXPECT THEM TO LEARN ENGLISH

Patty
Patty

I think you may have to look up the word ignorant, because Hispanics are NOT just mexicans, and the racism I'm referring to is comments on this blog in  telling people to go back to the country they came from, not from the statement that was said the Mr. Harris. Thus, I will not let you insult me when I've worked my ass off to get a doctorate degree in language acquisition.  Why don't you become more educated before you try to go an knock off other people.

Giovanni
Giovanni

Mejico would Not only kick you out, but rob, rape, & beat you first. Try going to France & not speaking fluent Frog the minute you step off the plane. They'll treat you like shit. After 23 YEARS they'd probably laugh you out of court!

Bells Andwhistles
Bells Andwhistles

Agreed, speaking English fluently (or any language, for that matter) is completely different when one is between friends than in high pressure situations such as in front of the Senate. The nuances of the language can be easily misinterpreted, or left-out completely, if it's not your native language, even if you're a fluent speaker. That said, it's understandable that he speaks in Spanish with an interpreter if it means he can better express himself...especially in a high-stress situation such as in front of the Senate. These are my observations on a personal and professional level- I'm a bilingual, native Texan living abroad who teaches English to professionals.

Guest
Guest

I'm sick of the left wing whiners also. They should be forced to pay for all the "free" translation services the government provides out of their own pockets. That'll stop their self-righteous whimpering.

Patty, go drop a few thousand bucks on your local welfare office to help defray Spanish welfare form translation fees. Go on, put your money where your (very large, very stupid) mouth is.

Patty
Patty

When English becomes the official language, then there will be a reason for discussion, argument, and debate. Otherwise, there really isn't much to say, if our nation hasn't even adopted it as the official language.

Paula Perry
Paula Perry

Last time I looked 'illegal' was not a race, so cool it with the racism accusations.

Glockster69
Glockster69

What does the price of pot in Amsterdam have to do with illegal aliens in Texas?What does your doctorate degree have to do with any of your arguments?How much does one earn with a doctorate degree in language aquisition?

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