OFF THE WIRE
“Why Aren’t You Speaking English?”
A Texas Senator is receiving praise and criticism
During committee testimony this week in Austin, a Texas senator interrupted a Spanish speaker and telling him he should "be speaking in English" during a committee hearing.
Antolin Aguirre of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition was testifying against Senate Bill 9 that would help crack down on illegal immigrants in Texas. Aguirre spoke through an interpreter even though he had been in the U.S. since 1988.
Two minutes into Antolin Aguirre’s testimony, Sen. Chris Harris, a Republican from Arlington, interrupted asking Aguirre’s interrupter, "Did I understand him correctly that he has been here since 1988?" Harris asked. "Why aren’t you speaking in English then?"
Through his interpreter, Aguirre said Spanish is his "first language and since it is his first time giving testimony he would rather do it in Spanish."
"It is insulting to us," Sen. Harris fired back. "It is very insulting. And if he knows English, he needs to be speaking in English."
The fiery exchange happened on Monday during a Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee hearing. Law makers were hearing testimony on the purposed Senate Bill 9 – The so-called sanctuary cities bill. The bill would allow local law enforcement officials to check a suspect’s immigration status.
Supporters of Senate Bill 9 have said it would help crack down on illegal immigrants. Opponents argue that it will do little to help border security and that it’s instead based on racism.
Despite the blow-up The Texas Senate passed the bill Wednesday. It now goes to the House with a vote expected in the next few days.
WHAT DO YOU THINK: A Texas senator is in hot water for interrupting a Spanish speaker and telling him he should 'be speaking in English' during a committee hearing. Was the senator right when he asked his guest to speak English?
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