Oklahoma Targeted for English Only Language Law: Inhofe Questions Holder

The U.S. Department of Justice may have not-so-subtly threatened the State of Oklahoma because of proposed legislation to make English the official language of the state. Senator Inhofe (R-OK) is questioning U.S. Attorney General Holder on the DOJ’s intentions.

Oklahoma

Senator Jim Inhofe says that Holder sent a letter to Oklahoma’s Attorney General Drew Edmondson:

“threatening Oklahoma with a loss of federal funding if the state passed a constitutional amendment making English the official language of the state.”

The legislation was in high legislative debate in April when the DOJ letter from Holder arrived. Inhofe and others from the Oklahoma delegation believe this may be an attempt to intimidate the passage of the bill.

The letter stated:

As you know, recipients of federal financial assistance must comply with various civil rights statutes, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964…which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin.” The letter continues, “State agencies and other entities in Oklahoma that receive federal financial assistance thus would be precluded by federal law from abiding by an English-only requirement where it conflicts with their obligations under Title VI.

The delegation’s letter to Holder points out that several other states have passed similar legislation and asks if they also have been:

accused by the Department of Justice to be in violation with Title VI, or formally threatened with funding termination.

Here are other statements from Oklahoma’s Congression delegation:

Sen. Jim Inhofe stated, “This nation’s cultural diversity is one that contributes to the greatness of our country. I support the state’s effort to pass a constitutional amendment making English the official language of the state because it ultimately facilitates better communication across the many lines of diversity within our state. The state legislature has overwhelmingly passed this amendment, and now it is up to the voters of Oklahoma to decide if they wish to accept it. It is entirely unacceptable for the federal government to try to strong arm the state by threatening to remove federal funding. I look forward to hearing the Justice Department’s explanation for such behavior.”

Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. said, “Attorney General Holder owes the residents of Oklahoma an explanation as to why this thinly veiled threat was issued to Oklahoma on a state matter. The last thing Oklahoma needs is a bureaucrat in Washington dictating more of what we can and cannot do. Officials at the Department of Justice should focus on more pressing matters under their jurisdiction before issuing statements about a state issue that has yet to become law.”

Rep. Dan Boren said, “The state of Oklahoma deserves a clear explanation of why it seems the Department of Justice has singled out the state and threatened funding retribution over a State Legislature initiative that has been approved in other states already. I join my colleagues in urging the Department to give us a full account of their actions on this issue.”

Rep. John Sullivan said, “It is inappropriate for the United States Department of Justice to interfere in what is ultimately a state matter. In 2010, voters in Oklahoma will decide if the state constitution will be amended to make English the official language of the state and I proudly stand with the rest of the state delegation in supporting Oklahoma’s right to decide this issue.”

Rep. Frank Lucas added, “Our country benefits from the diversity of our people. However, throughout our history, it has been our common language that binds us as one nation. In order for new immigrants to our country to be successful and realize the American Dream, they must be able to speak the English language. Punishing the state of Oklahoma for encouraging that is unnecessary.”

Rep. Mary Fallin said, “This incident should send shock waves through every state in the union. The letter from DOJ is an affront to Oklahoma’s tenth amendment rights under the Constitution. We should be allowed to pursue this policy without facing preemptive manipulation from the federal government.”

Chicago street thugs are running the country. We keep saying: Be afraid! It’s time to double-down on that fear, no matter the issue because there is nothing American coming out of this White House.

From my hometown Tulsa, KJRH.com announced yesterday that Tulsa is getting a government grant in the amount of $3,505,446.00 to fund 18 new police hires. City Hall considered declaring a holiday. I hear there was dancing in the streets (sarcasm).

These funds will provide 100 percent of the approved salary and benefits for these officers for three years. All police departments receiving the grants will then be required to retain the grant-funded positions for a fourth year.

That was yesterday. Reality hits the fan today. There is a mandatory, unfunded fourth year. How can the City pay for the “out-year-cost? City Council members are concerned. Councilor Rick Westcott:

But my concern is the long-range funding,” he said. “When the grant runs out and our extra year is over, what do we do beyond that? We’d be creating a moral obligation to keep these officers on the force.

Westcott pointed out that all of the police officers and the rest of the city’s 4,000 employees are having to take eight unpaid furlough days this budget year.

As a resident of Tulsa, I want our police force to be a mighty one. I want our law enforcement to be well-quipped and well paid. I want our City to pay for this without federal help – or at least the federal help of this administration. It’s all a matter of where the City puts the emphasis on importance. If we need 18 more officers, then take the monies from elsewhere. The city needs to get its priorities straight.