Pombo Strikes Out At Immigrants
Yesterday, as the House debated a measure to provide funding for the Justice, Commerce and State Departments, they voted on an amendment offered by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). The purpose of this amendment? To eliminate bilingual ballots.
Just last week, the GOP had to table a vote to authorize renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in part because of internal bickering over the issue of bilingual ballots. So Stearns tried to slide the issue in through the back door of the funding bill. In a roll call vote, the amendment was defeated by a margin of 254-167. Just take a wild guess which way Richard Pombo voted.
Apparently not content with his previous efforts to criminalize illegal aliens, Pombo is now hell-bent on marginalizing and disenfranchising those legal immigrants who have actually become American citizens.
Supporters of non-English ballots reminded colleagues that only U.S. citizens are able to vote and that even those whose native language is English have difficulty with complex ballot initiatives, much less those who learned the language after coming to this country.Expect this issue to surface again when the GOP finally buckles down to the task of authorizing the renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Stearns has vowed to re-introduce his measure as part of that debate.
An overwhelming majority of Democrats joined with slightly fewer than one-third of House Republicans to reject Stearns' amendment.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said taking away the right to bilingual ballots would "allow states and localities to discriminate against taxpaying American citizens because of their language ability and impede their right to vote. That is wrong."
The Justice Department on Wednesday settled a lawsuit with Brazos County, Texas, for denying Spanish-speaking citizens voting materials and ballots in Spanish and preventing them from getting help in voting.
"The Voting Rights Act has nothing to do with immigration," said Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif. "One hundred percent (of those benefiting from non-English ballots) are U.S. citizens."
So why do you think Richard Pombo, who appears to be heading into the toughest political race of his career, would risk alienating a very large portion of the voters in his district? Well, here’s my theory. I’m guessing that he really doesn’t see non-native English speakers as “his people.” If he can suppress the voter turnout among that group, he’s gambling that it will improve his re-election chances. And if the move to do away with bilingual ballots fails, he’ll just do what he does best: Lie.
All you need to do is look back at HR 4437. Remember how Pombo voted to make felons out of illegal immigrants and levy fines against people who assisted them? And then remember how a few months later, he said this to the Contra Costa Times?
Pombo favors a guest-worker program and disagrees with those that want to criminalize illegal immigrants and the people that help them.There's one thing you can always count on with Richard Pombo. The man really has no shame.
The nation needs the workers, he says, and the criminal prosecution of the nation's 11 million or more illegal immigrants would be physically impractical and politically unpalatable.