Politics Magazine

English Requirement In U.S. Is Unnecessary

Posted on the 10 August 2013 by Jobsanger
English Requirement In U.S. Is Unnecessary
English Requirement In U.S. Is Unnecessary
English Requirement In U.S. Is Unnecessary An American Community Survey (based on U.S. Census data) shows that there are 37.6 million people in the United States that speaks the Spanish language in their home. That makes the United States fifth in the number of Spanish-speaking people in the entire world -- only Mexico, Spain, Columbia, and Argentina have more Spanish language speakers.
On the surface, that would tend to support the argument of those who want to establish English as the official language, or who would require an ability to speak English as a requirement to become a citizen. Even Congress has fallen for this argument, and the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate requires undocumented immigrants to learn English before they can become citizens. And a recent Gallup Poll (done between June 13th and July 5th of 4,373 nationwide adults -- with a margin of error of only 2 points) verifies that a huge majority of Americans consider it "essential" for immigrants to learn English.
Frankly, I am at a loss to understand why this is even an issue. Do Americans think that immigrants will refuse to learn English (in an English-speaking society) for generation after generation? If so, then they are very mistaken. As a Pew Research Center survey has shown, while only about 35% of first generation immigrants learn to speak English "very well", that is certainly not the case with the following generations. The second generation has about 91% who speak English very well, and for the third generation that rises to about 97%.
That means this is just a false, and probably anti-immigrant, attitude. Making English a legal requirement is a silly and unnecessary issue, because the problem (if it really can be considered a problem), corrects itself by the second generation. Immigrants know that English is necessary to truly integrate into American society, and even if they don't master the language themselves, they make sure their children and grandchildren do master it.
We need to stop worrying about false issues like language (that corrects itself), and start worrying about people. Besides, multiculturalism has never hurt the United States. In fact, it is one of this nation's greatest strengths. The Spanish language is not our enemy -- bigotry and xenophobia are.

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