Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Latinos are an invasive species

Lino Lakes, Minnesota, has bravely stepped into the future by becoming the first city in Minnesota to adopt an "English only" ordinance. According to proponents, this ordinance has nothing to do with prejudice or xenophobia, it's just a straightforward attempt to save money.

This is despite the fact that by all accounts, the city has never spent a thin dime to translate anything into a language other than English. Opponents of the change argued that if the budget justification is bogus, there must be political reasons for the change. Of course, advocates for the English only ordinance were shocked! shocked! that anyone would think that.

Jerry Berg, a Lino Lakes resident who spoke in favor of the ordinance, said:
"This whole subject is being hi-jacked by people who want to call it racist. We're not doing that. We're just looking out for the budget. I'm glad to see the council being pro-active. It's not costing them anything but it will in the future if they don't do this."
Oh, well, okay. Mayor Jeff Reinert thoughtfully extended this logic in his comments:

"Right now we have zero expense in the city for emerald ash borer. And yet we're spending all kinds of time, staff time, no doubt eventually money, for a problem that doesn't exist. But it's something in the future you can see."

Comparing immigrants to an invasive species? Oh, that's classy. And proponents of this change wonder why anyone would think this makes their community seem hostile and unwelcoming?

Actually, the news coming out of Arizona should give a clue that this is what it's really about - it's about putting up an "immigrants not welcome" sign. Or you could listen to what Lino Lakes resident Carl Elmquist said:

"And I'm tired of going to restaurants and hearing all the new families not speaking English. They speak whatever the native tongue is to their kids, and there doesn't seem to be any teaching the young kids in their families English!"

Lino Lakes' next initiative: building a fence. Then Carl Elmquist can eat his pancakes in peace, freed from having to hear a language other than his own.

(Image Credit - U.S. APHIS)

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