Wednesday, November 28, 2007

John Fund has an interesting column up about Speaker Pelosi (D-CA)'s refusal to allow a bill funding the FBI, NASA, and the Justice Department to go to conference because this bill includes an amendment that protects employers who require their workers to speak English on the job from federal lawsuits. In this column, Fund mentions a new group that is forming:
Next month, a new group called Our Pledge will be launched. Counting Jeb Bush and former Clinton Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros among its board members, the organization believes absorbing immigrants is "the Sputnik challenge of our era." It will put forward two mutual pledges. It will ask immigrants to learn English, become self-sufficient and pledge allegiance to the U.S. It will ask Americans to provide immigrants help navigating the American system, the chance to eventually become a citizen and an atmosphere of respect.

This is a big challenge, but Our Pledge points out that the U.S. did it before with the Americanization movement of a century ago. It was government led, but the key players were businesses like the Ford Motor Company and nonprofits such as the YMCA, plus an array of churches and neighborhood groups.

I can't find out much about the organization, but I did find this announcement. It seems as though "Our Pledge" originated from a proposal made by members of the New America Alliance (which bills itself as an "organization of American Latino business leaders committed to leading the process of Latino empowerment and wealth-building")--but its board and membership does not seem confined to the NAA. Plenty of ("legal") immigrants presently have a "chance to eventually become a citizen"; does "Our Pledge" merely wish to reaffirm this principle in the abstract, or does it more concretely back "comprehensive immigration reform" and legalization of the "undocumented" as well?