Bush Calls on Aliens to Adopt Culture; Specifies Respect for U.S. Flag, Ability to Speak, Write in English

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 21, 2006 | Go to article overview

Bush Calls on Aliens to Adopt Culture; Specifies Respect for U.S. Flag, Ability to Speak, Write in English


Byline: Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Bush yesterday called for immigrants to embrace "our common culture" as they assimilate as part of the path to citizenship he wants to give to longtime illegal aliens.

"Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for our flag and the ability to speak and write in English," Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address.

As he presses for Congress to send him a broad immigration bill, the president is trying to mute some objections by highlighting immigrants' need to assimilate, and nowhere is that more clear than in his call for them to learn English.

Last week the administration backed two largely symbolic amendments in the Senate debate both of which passed that encourage learning English. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow described the amendments as having set "English as the national language."

Mr. Bush also repeated his call for a right to citizenship for illegal aliens with "roots" in the United States, and said that would not be amnesty because "approval won't be granted automatically."

The president delivered an Oval Office address on immigration on Monday, calling for National Guard troops to assist at the border until 6,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents can be hired, and also pressing for the path to citizenship.

But Democrats said Mr. Bush failed to show leadership in Monday's address because he did not attack members of his own party who voted for the House's enforcement-only bill in December.

"The president needed to stand up to congressional extremists. He did not," said Rep. Michael M. Honda, California Democrat and a third generation Japanese-American, in the Democrats' radio response. …

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