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Political Wrap: Immigration, Crisis in Darfur

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Political Wrap: Immigration, Crisis in Darfur

Politics

Political Wrap: Immigration, Crisis in Darfur

Political Wrap: Immigration, Crisis in Darfur

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Alex Chadwick talks with NPR's Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving for a look ahead to the week in politics. Among the topics: the immigration debate in Congress and the ongoing crisis in Darfur.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

The immigration marches continue around the country. And, as we just heard from a Congressman in Washington, there's plenty of interest in what's happening back there. We're joined now by NPR senior political editor Ron Elving.

Ron, welcome back to the show.

RON ELVING reporting:

Good to be with you, Alex.

CHADWICK: What about the prospect of legislation actually coming out of the Senate? Is this as likely as the White House is hoping?

ELVING: It's not as likely as the White House is hoping. And that's why it's a hope that we're getting from the White House. I think the second wave of marches that we saw about a month ago, or earlier in April, had a positive effect and helped the Senate move toward some kind of a compromise. But I'm not sure but that today's wave of marches may have much of or a neutral, or even a negative affect.

We're hearing some backlash talk from some of the Republicans. We've heard people this morning saying that perhaps some of these businesses and companies that shut down today because of a lack of workers should be looked at to see if they're hiring undocumented workers.

And so I don't think that this one is necessarily going to be a big push in the right direction. But the Senate's real problems here are internal. They may have 70 senators on board for the current compromise, but that's not enough if the bill is going to be heavily amended in the next couple, three weeks, while they're debating it. But they're going to try to get it through in May. They're going to try to beat back the amendments. And they're going to try to then go to some sort of a compromise conference with the House.

CHADWICK: You know, Ron, just politically, you talk about a backlash. There's one senator who I think today now, is proposing a vote on having the Star Spangled Banner sung only in English. Now doesn't that tell you something?

ELVING: It does, indeed. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee says there should be a resolution out of the Senate by which the National Anthem is stated to be an English language anthem. And other versions, of course, are going to happen. They're probably going to be unofficial and perhaps unwelcome. But he just wants to make a positive affirmation that this National Anthem is to be sung in English.

This comes out of the Nuestro Himno controversy, of course, a Spanish version of the anthem sung by Latin pop stars. And it's a bit hotter than the usual version, of course. It's a little bit different. And some people are finding this a cultural threat.

CHADWICK: Huh. Well, you know, I just wonder. Here I am in California, harkening back to what happened here a dozen years ago, when Gov. Pete Wilson tied his re-election campaign to Proposition 187, and Republicans got hurt.

ELVING: That's right. Wilson jumped on the 187 bandwagon in 1994 when his campaign was in trouble. And of course that proposition barred all public services, including schools, for the families of the undocumented. And you know, Pete Wilson caught a wave of the moment, then he won a second term. But Republicans have been nearly shut out of major statewide offices since; and with the exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger, himself an immigrant, they've been loosing the statewide races and the Presidential races.

George W. Bush, by the way, condemned Pete Wilson for doing that back in 1994. He warned that it would cost the party dearly. And Hispanics are the fastest growing voter group in the United States.

CHADWICK: Ron Elving, NPR senior Washington editor, from Washington.

Ron, thank you.

ELVING: Thank you, Alex.

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