Monday, January 19, 2009

Should US Immigrants be Obliged To Learn English?


Two days we had the same debate, and today I saw it in our forum. I know it is surprising to see an immigrant who feels that any non English parent or adult who has lived in the US for more than a year should not be given translation services. English is neither my first language nor is French. It means, there are other languages I learned to my native Kenyang. Today I speak and write Spanish though with a limited proficiency, and I am learning Korean.
Take for example in Cobb County, the school system has English language classes for adults and parents. If a parent does not exploit the opportunity to learn English, why should the county still spend the Taxpayers' money to fund their laziness?
I do not think that by the Supreme Court upholding the EEOA of 1974 in Castenada v. Pickard (1981 federal) it was extending those same advantages to parents. The child needs language translation for better learning, but the parents and adults who have dropped out of school should not be given the same advantages. The language barriers that we try to avoid by introducing translation will still be there because most of the people there are immigrants who do not speak English and have refused to learn it. Thus, they rather request the whole place be converted into their language of origin.
While both the Fourteenth Amendment and Plyler v. Doe (1982) guaranteed a free public education to undocumented immigrant children, regardless of their immigrant status, they did not guarantee the same rights for non students who are English learners.
Consequently, if an individual has been in the US for more than two years, is out of school setting but does not speak English, they should not be given any translated services, except in places like the court..
This has nothing to do with racism or targeting a particular group. If a parent has lived in the US for more than two years, they should learn English. Yes, that is the road to their integration.  why move to the US, if you did not want to learn English? You knew very well that in the US they speak mostly English.
Look at my francophone brothers from Cameroon; they had only two or three languages: their native language, French and perhaps German, Spanish or Portuguese. When they were coming to the US,  they started to take language classes at the British Council or the American Language Center. Why don’t other immigrants do same?
Some people argue that they entered the country illegally. Entering the country illegally does not mean you did not know you were coming, did not know the dominant language of the US is English, or you were you repatriated or deported to the US to have been caught by surprise? Or let us say you entered illegally and did not have time to learn English but when you arrived why did you not learn it for the past two years.
The Americans are doing the immigrants a favor by accepting them into their country, so the immigrants should seize the opportunity to integrate.
However, while it is necessary for everybody in the US to speak English it is wrong to refuse services to anyone on basis that they do not speak English. Those signs are reminiscent of the Whites Only!
I have seen many local missionaries learn local languages before they lived in the village or else they hired interpreters at their own expense. It is only bad if we have to pay for the laziness of individuals who refuse to take even language classes. I see many immigrants dropping their pants. When you ask them they say they are in America. They only know they are in America when it comes to sagging their pants but not learning English.
Until then, tasking immigrants to learn English is not a bad thing at all!
Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk


“Go for the person who loves you most and not the one you love most for the one you love most may not give you the love you need most because though love is blind marriage is an eye-opener” (Hamilton Ayuk).

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