A Teleconference With Lamar Alexander

I was on a teleconference with TN Senator Lamar Alexander from 4:45 to 5:00 PM. Here are the notes, not quotes, from the teleconference

Short Opening Statement

Thank you for being here.

#1) The Native Hawaiians bill made it out of committee. If it should pass, it would create a new nation based on race in the US. I oppose that.

#2) The Salvation Army has been sued by the Equal Opportunity Commission for requiring people to speak English on the job. I am going to introduce legislation that says employers who post rules requiring their employees to speak English can’t be sued by the EOC.

Q: Erick — you taught me how to skeet shoot!

A: I remember that. We went to a club.

Q from me: We’re getting ready to take up immigration in the next couple of weeks. How do you see that going?

A: I supported making English the national language last time and will this time around as well.

If we’re successful, the Isakson trigger may be in there. That means we have to secure the border first. We would have to have improved surveillance, walls built, and employment verification first, before the comprehensive parts of the bill kicked in. I voted against last year’s bill, but I hope I can vote for this one.

Q: I’ve heard you have talked to Kennedy about government assistance in learning English.

A: We both agree that we should help people who want to learn English, but we get into fights about making people learn English. But, we need to make sure everyone speaks English so that we don’t end up with two nations in one.

Q from me: Will the native Hawaiian bill be filibustered?

A: It’s hard to say at this point. We may not have the votes. This bill blatantly discriminates on race and national origin and that is un-American. So hopefully, it can be stopped.

Q: What can we do to stop this?

A: Well, we need to make senators understand that this would form a new nation inside of the United States. It’s dangerous and bad precedent. It could create ethnic enclaves.

Q from me: Would it pass Constitutional muster?

A: In my view, it’s contrary to the Equal Rights clause. It would discriminate on the basis of race and national origin. So hopefully, if it were to pass, it would be considered unconstitutional.

Q from me: Would Bush veto it?

A: I don’t know. I’m not sure whether he favors or opposes it.

Q: Is there anything we should be looking out for in the next couple of weeks?

A: Immigration and budget. Will Kennedy try to ram through McCain/Kennedy or will it be a bipartisan bill? We don’t know yet.

Summary: This is actually positive news on the illegal immigration front because Alexander seemed to be saying another amnesty bill will be DOA with the GOP. While the “security first,” then we’ll allow some form of amnesty later approach to illegal immigration isn’t ideal, it is a step in the right direction. If the Senate goes that route and opposes citizenship for illegals and guest workers, I think we might have a workable compromise that most conservatives would be satisfied with. On the other hand, will Kennedy move the bill that far to the right to get something through and will the illegal immigration squishes in the Senate hang tough if he doesn’t? I will have to believe it when I see it.

The Native Hawaiian bill is a disaster and yet it still has a good chance of passage. Why so many Republicans are signing on to this unconstitutional monstrosity and why Bush isn’t waving his veto pen around over it, is beyond me. Whatever the case may be, if it can be stopped, it should be stopped.

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