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Gonzales says English language amendments to immigration bill symbolic only

[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile; JURIST news archive] said Sunday that the US does not need to make English the "national language" and that a Senate move to add English language amendments to an immigration reform proposal [JURIST news archive] was symbolic. In an interview [recorded video] on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, Gonzales said that the Senate's amended version of the immigration bill [S 2611 text] "would not have an effect on any existing rights currently provided under federal law." Gonzales did, however, recognize that English is the "path to opportunity" in the US. The Bush administration supports recognizing English as the national language of the US, but has stopped short of declaring it as the official language. The Senate passed the English language amendments [JURIST report] last week in a somewhat confusing manner: an amendment to make English the national language passed by a 63-34 [roll call] margin and an alternative amendment declaring English as the "common and unifying language" passed by a 58-39 [roll call] margin.

US Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) [official website], also on Sunday, said that the English language amendments to the draft Senate immigration bill will not be a "deal breaker," but also stated that the Senate bill does not meet its true objective of stopping illegal immigration because it fails to secure the borders and enforce employer sanctions. AP has more. ABC News has additional coverage.

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