Immigration/Multiculturalism Causes Stir at CPAC

By Phil Kent

Perhaps the most controversial topic in recent years at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., involves immigration. Added to that always-hot topic this year is the issue of designating English as our official language of government.

A panel titled “The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the Pursuit of Diversity Is Weakening the American Identity” sponsored by ProEnglish ( was highlighted by the appearance of U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. He has introduced a bipartisan bill with growing list of cosponsors that would make our common tongue the language of government and abolish multilingual ballots and election materials required under the Voting Rights Act. (Among one of King’s best one-liners: “I’d be for open borders if every time an immigrant came in we deported a liberal.”)

ProEnglish Executive Director Bob Vandervoort asked the panel to speculate why liberals so love multiculturalism. He got some interesting responses. “Multiculturalism is a tool of the Left to subdivide our civilization and push us into enclaves,” the congressman said. Another panelist, former National Review and Forbes scribe Peter Brimelow, declared that “Democrats have given up on winning the white working class vote, so they use bilingualism to build up a client constituency in the polity. It’s treason.”

Another CPAC panel on immigration featured Vandervoort and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach squaring off against open borders libertarian Alex Nowrasteh and U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla. Niger Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality was the moderator— one of the worst in recent CPAC memory. Innis let Nowrasteh and Rivera speak far past their allotted time and, at the end, jumped in to burn up time with a rambling conclusion— and then announced there was no time for audience questions.

Interestingly, Vandervoort received the loudest and most sustained applause with Kobach (the author of Arizona’s tough anti-illegal immigration law) coming in a close second. That signaled the true sentiment of the thousands packed into the giant hotel ballroom. The ProEnglish director underscored that 51 countries located mostly in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean have made English their official language of governance. So, he asked, why not the United States?

The official English crusade is also greatly assisted with all the GOP presidential candidates endorsing the legislation on the campaign trail. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the longest and most vocal supporter, and plugged it at a 2007 ProEnglish National Press Club event. That same year, even the liberal-controlled U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed official English legislation by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., by a vote of 64 to 33— with 17 Democrats voting “yes.” In fact, 31 state legislatures—almost two-thirds of the states in America— have already enacted English as their governmental language. So the big question now is: Will the U.S. House of Representatives weigh in with passage this year.
By the way, guess which CPAC speakers the major left-wing organizations and bloggers attacked and smeared? The answer is no surprise: those primarily associated with the multiculturalism and immigration sessions. It’s a great indication that the open borders lobby is getting extremely nervous that their favorite president is in serious re-election trouble— and that those twin, emotional issues continue to especially resonate with Middle American voters.