posted on Jun, 28 2008 @ 02:51 AM
So I have been following this thread, and just felt the need to throw in my two cents.
First, I am a legal immigrant and my personal problem with illegal immigrants is that they are undermining the system and legal immigrants. I think
about the time, energy, and money it takes to gain and maintain legal status here, and then the illegal immigrants bypass all that, and get more
benefits in the end. That said, part of the process involved in gaining legal status (not necessarily even citizenship) is showing a minimum level of
Also, I would like to note that I live in Arizona, so I am right in the middle of the crossfire. I have worked in restaurants, and most of the
cooks/bussers/dishwashers are illegal. Even the fine dining or ethnic restaurants usually have a mostly illegal, hispanic kitchen staff. That being
said, many of these immigrants are hard-working, good people who actually make an effort to learn English. I have seen firsthand how someone who
cannot say more than "Hello" and "Goodbye" when they first arrive can within a year have a good grasp of the language if they make an effort to
learn it. There are also many who do not have an interest in learning the language because 1) they don't have to since there are plenty of people
catering to them and 2) they don't plan on actually living here for a long period of time. They come to the US for jobs, live in deplorable
conditions, send their money back to Mexico with their families, and then after a few years move back and live a comfortable life.
I think the reason the language issue has become racialized is because Hispanic immigrants greatly outnumber the others, and it seems they tend to be
the ones who are catered to the most. Case in point: nail salons. Many nail salons are owned and operated by Vietnamese or other East Asian
immigrants. Often, the workers there are friends or family members of the owners who come to the U.S. specifically to work in these salons. In order
to work these jobs, they must get their cosmetology or nail tech license, so their legal status must be confirmed. They also speak basic English, at
the very least. They seem to grasp the concept that if you move to a country and want to be successful, you must adapt to their culture and language
(although I support and encourage their right to maintain their own in their private household/lives). This seems to be in contrast to many Hispanic
"illegal" immigrants who expect others to cater to their language and culture. I have a personal story that illustrates this point: I was working as
a cocktail server and once had a guy motion me over. I went to get his order, only to find out he couldn't understand me and barely spoke english.
After trying to get his order, he asked me if I spoke Spanish. I said "no" (I only know a little bit) and HE ASKED ME "WHY"?!? I don't understand
why they expect people to learn their language and culture when THEY are the immigrants!
I also notice no one has said a word about how multiple languages effect the education system. Arizona's educational system is a mess, and instead of
money going to provide more quality standards, it is spent on "English Language Learner" (ESL) programs for the vast number of children (immigrants
or born to immigrants) who cannot speak English. This affects all pupils because resources are spent on these programs, which are targeted to children
of illegal immigrants, instead of being used to benefit the entire school population. It is also unrealistic to expect every teacher to learn mulitple
languages just so they can communicate with their students and student's parents.
Anyway, sorry for the long post, I just am annoyed at some of the posters who think that refusing to learn the official language is someone's right
and has no effect on others. The court translators are a rather small example of a larger problem.