I’ve been in politically correct, diversity infused, multiculturally brainwashed California so long that it’s sometimes easy to forget there are people in this country with common sense and the confidence to speak out about situations that need airing.

I know they’re there – the tea party is evidence of that, and so are the results of the last election – but when you have an elected official with that courage, it is more than refreshing.

It occurred last Monday in Austin, Texas, during testimony on State Senate Bill 9. The Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee was hearing pro and con presentations on the measure that would give law enforcement the legal right to verify the immigration status of suspects.

Proponents of the legislation say it will help with the illegal alien problem; those opposed say it will break up families and besides, it’s racist.

One of the people testifying was Antolin Aguirre. He’s part of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition and is opposed to the legislation.

That alone isn’t newsworthy, but what he did and the reaction of one of the committee members made it memorable.

Aguirre, a pleasant looking middle-aged man, was seated before the committee at a table with a couple of supporters and another man.

He began his presentation – in Spanish. Sentence by sentence, pausing and then the other man at the table translated his words into English.

A minute or so into the statement, one of the committee members interrupted the interpreter, asking for clarification.

“Did I understand him correctly that he has been here since 1988?

That was acknowledged – which meant the man had been in this country for 23 years.

“Why aren’t you speaking English then?”

Hallelujah for State Sen. Chris Harris, a man of real courage in this day and age!

Aguirre started to speak in English but then reverted to Spanish, saying through the translator that “Spanish is his first language, and since it is his first time giving testimony he would rather do it in Spanish.”

Sen. Harris didn’t give in to that – saying firmly, “It is insulting to us. It is very insulting. And if he knows English, he needs to be speaking in English.”

As reported by KTRH radio, the incident has caused a firestorm of controversy, and Sen. Harris is taking a lot of heat for his blunt honesty.

Unfortunately, incidents like this always bring out the accusations of racism. But in reality, they’re patently false.

Aguirre has been in this country for 23 years! It’s doubtful he doesn’t know English. We know he does, because he spoke bits and pieces of English during this incident. However it’s clear his sympathies and attachments – and dare I say loyalties – are to his “home” culture and his “home” country.

One wonders why he came here in the first place and indeed, why does he stay?

Never mind.

It hasn’t been revealed if Aguirre is a U.S. citizen or if he originally came here legally. Just asking questions like that would raise another firestorm, but it shouldn’t.

If he’s not a citizen – whether or not he’s here legally – he has no business trying to influence legislation in this country. He has no legal stake in it and should stay out of it.

The issue is the hot button issue, in border states particularly. Just what does law enforcement do when they encounter someone they know almost certainly is an illegal alien? They are supposed to turn them over to federal authorities.

Unfortunately too many officers are hamstrung because many municipalities consider themselves “sanctuary cities,” which means they are safe havens for these lawbreakers. There are hundreds of such cities and communities across the country and because of them, American citizens fall victim to violent crime perpetrated by illegals protected by their own government.

One incident that comes readily to my mind is the case of Anthony Bologna and his two adult sons gunned down in San Francisco by an illegal/gang member who had been protected by the city’s sanctuary city status.

This Texas legislation closely resembles the controversial Arizona law, S.B. 1070, which raised a fury of controversy and lawsuits when it was passed and signed into law. The feds sued the state, county sheriffs were sued individually and even now, the author of the bill, Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce, faces a possible recall.

Despite all the brouhaha, states across the country are passing similar legislation, Georgia being the latest. H.B. 87 there is causing such a flap that Mexico and 10 other countries have filed briefs against the legislation, asking a federal judge to declare it unconstitutional.

Get this: Mexico says the law would be “interfering with the strategic diplomatic interests of the two countries and encouraging an imminent threat of state-sanctioned bias or discrimination.”

Yeah, I guess we have to be concerned about interfering with the wonderful cross-border trade in drugs, guns and murder oozing out of Mexico.

I can hardly wait until the “world community” accuses the U.S. of apartheid, demanding a planet-wide boycott of us, a la South Africa.

Don’t laugh. It’s been mentioned.

S.B. 9 was passed by the Texas Senate on Wednesday and is now before the House.

It’ll be interesting to see if it passes there and if Texas Gov. Rick Perry signs it into law. In terms of his possible run for president, it’s an important move that will get him lots of attention whichever way he decides.

In the meantime, kudos to State Sen. Chris Harris, and thanks, on behalf of common sense and sanity.

As for Antolin Aguirre: Press one for English.

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