His Spanish is about as broken as it can be, but Rep. John Conyers' (D-Michigan) decision to deliver his statement in Spanish at a House hearing on an English-only bill demonstrated that he's at least not ashamed to try, even if just to make his point.
The hearing in the House Judiciary Committee yesterday focused on HR 997, otherwise known as the English Language Unity Act. It's the latest of several attempts by Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, to make English the official language of the United States. The bill would declare that all naturalization ceremonies be in English only, that there be English-only "language requirements and workplace policies," that all citizens be able to read "the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the laws of the United States" in English, and so forth.
Conyers disagreed with the bill and what he believed to be anti-immigrant sentiment behind it. His statement included the following, as translated by Univision:
Today, immigrants from Asia or Latin America are the targets of demonization and discrimination. One day, our nation will again look back on this period with shame and regret.
And as might be expected, Conyers was promptly mocked by opponents. As TPM reported:
“I would ask the gentleman in the interest of fairness here… would you repeat that in Yiddish and Vietnamese and French, please,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) said after Conyers’ speech. “Nothing would make the point better than if we conducted all of our debates in different languages and I suppose that makes the case for this bill better than anything else.”
Thoughts, anyone? Post them below.