SIMMONS: As sanctuary for illegals, D.C. proves hypocritical

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Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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“Sanctuary City” referendum anyone?

On Monday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Anacostia High School, and later this week the new H.D. Woodson High will be celebrated.

But will students at those two overwhelmingly black schools actually earn an education that leads to jobs, the military or higher education, or will illegal immigrants bump them to the back of government-subsidized bread lines? It’s possible.

At every turn, Mayor Vincent C. Gray points out that youths and young adults are ill-prepared for self-sufficiency, putting the District at a crossroads.

The unemployment rate is near 10 percent.

More than 4,000 people, a record number, turned out for a D.C.-residents-only job fair last week.

The mayor and representatives of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. shared a microphone Wednesday to announce a public-private partnership that would pay employers to hire and train about 2,000 D.C. residents.

Pass any construction site inside city limits — whether it’s for a single-family home, public-works project or commercial building — and you are likely to see and hear men at work for whom English is not their native language.

Not all such workers can be dubbed illegal, of course. But who really knows? The federal government doesn’t because our porous borders are marked with welcome mats, and neither end of Pennsylvania Avenue wants to tackle illegal immigration.

Many U.S. businesses, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, formerly owned by McDonald’s Corp., don’t know workers’ status and don’t want to know.

And D.C. officials? Well, they are in don’t-ask-dont-tell mode as a sanctuary city.

City hall refuses to even consider rules and laws that would require asking foreigners for their residency bona fides.

The police department also rebuffs the feds.

D.C. officials smite their own law-abiding, taxpaying constituents: They don’t want Congress or the White House having any say in what happens here; and they put self-governance about all else.

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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