At one point, Antonio Aguirre, with the Austin Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, provided testimony through an interpreter about God and family. He was sharply asked by state Sen. Chris Harris, R-Arlington, why, if he had been in the country more than 20 years, Aguirre needed an interpreter. The witness said he knew English but preferred to testify in Spanish because it was his first time doing so.
“It’s insulting to us. It’s very insulting,” Harris quipped back. “If he knows English, he needs to be speaking in English.” A mix of jeers and cheers of “thank you!” greeted Harris’ remarks.
The bill was voted out of committee Monday night and passed the full Senate on Wednesday. SB 9 is now headed back to the House, where it’s expected to pass.