WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Thursday to make English the national language of the United States. Sort of. Moments after the 63-34 vote, it decided to call the mother tongue a ‘common and unifying language.’ ‘You can’t have it both ways,’ warned Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., a fan of ‘national’ but not ‘common and unifying.’ Two dozen senators disagreed and voted for both as the Senate lumbered toward an expected vote next week on a controversial immigration bill. The debate occurred as President Bush traveled to Yuma, Ariz., to dramatize his commitment to curbing illegal immigration. At the same time, the White House sent Congress a formal request for $1.9 billion to cover the costs of steps he announced earlier in the week, including the deployment of up to 6,000 National Guard troops to states along the Mexican border. Bush generally favors the outlines of the Senate measure, a bill that calls for great enforcement, a new guest worker program and an eventual opportunity at citizenship for most of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country illegally. Inhofe led the attempt to declare English the national language, a campaign he said began more […]

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