Voting on making English the official US language (Was: "Hm...")

Why shouldn’t you give them a chance? It’s obvious that they want to be in the U.S., so put them through a broadly permissive immigration system, rather than kicking them out. Nobody wants to be a part of the immigration system that currently exists (skilled workers excepted), because it’s deliberately very difficult to succeed at going through it. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming and it’s designed in such a way that if you screw up with a deadline or a payment, you can be kicked to the back of the line, setting you back up to a decade. So they cheat their way in, hoping to avoid a system in which they rightfully have little faith. They’re not criminals in the same way that rapists and theives are criminals—their crime is neither against person, nor property, nor public order. Their crimes are against the state, and of all entities, the state is in the best position to offer them a way to improve their lives, rather than just eject them reflexively.

You know all of those jobs that get shipped overseas, because American workers want too much money for the task (or because their employers want to pay too little)? Let the immigrants ease their way into those roles. That’s not far from what’s been happening in Canada for decades—as one group of immigrants establishes modest prosperity after perhaps a generation of relatively low-brow jobs, another group tends to fill the roles vacated by the upwardly mobile. Contrast this with what America, where all too often, the minorities get trapped in the low end of the socioeconomic spectrum, often for generations at a time. (These are trends, and don’t reflect every situation in these countries—but all the same, the contrast is worth noting.)

If America were overpopulated, or utopian, or otherwise unsuited to taking on more residents, I could see a restrictive immigration policy being useful. As it stands, though, perhaps the largest reason that America gets away with restricting immigration as much as it does is the high birth rate (as compared to all other industrialized nations).

Too easy. By your definition, by travelling at 61 mph on a road marked for 60 is makes the driver of the vehicle a criminal. Should we deport him? Or, if he’s from America, should we imprison him?

If not, why not? The answer, of course, is that there’s a wide variety of crime available to be committed. The supposition here is that being an illegal immigrant is hardly a big deal—it’s like speeding, more than it’s like murder. And so, the response should take into account more than just the fact that it’s a crime; like speeding, it may be necessary to tolerate some amount of it, if it’s impractical to write a law that accords violators a little flexibility. For the majority of immigrants (the peaceful, harmless ones), that flexibility should come in the form of the opportunity to contribute to American society, while simultaneously contributing to their own improvement. That is far more humane a solution than sending them back in a prisoners’ bus.

In parts of the developing world, communication in English serves as a means to rise out of poverty, through relations with the developed, English-speaking nations. In the developed world, it has become a language of commerce, because of its ubiquity. But note that few countries have adopted English to the exclusion of their native languages—in fact, you really ought to be arguing that the U.S. adopt Spanish or Mandarin, because those languages serve the same purpose in America as English does in India—facilitating communications with trading partners.

The majority of debate here has been discussing illegal immigration like a cafeteria. Why shouldn’t you let the weird kids come sit at your table? It’s not an infringment on your rights, there’s lots of seats, right?

The problem with illegal immigration (Which, by the way, has hijacked the actual topic of this thread) is that it’s not dealing with lunch tables, it’s more like dealing with houses. Quite accurately, it’s like having random children sneak into your house and eat your food.

Bottom line is that aliens use roads, schools, services, welfare through illegal channels, and sometimes even push citizens out of work. Sometimes. Problem is, these sneaky kids are deprived and hungry, and don’t ask to come in by ringing the doorbell, because they might not get fed. They eat out of your cereal boxes, and sometimes push your own kids out of their seats. But only because they have less than those kids.

Problem is, the grayscale has returned.

On topic (kind of), I see why you brought this bill to our attention. We must act quickly! The Democrats are slowly converting our country to a confused ethnicity so that we might be a more marketable sell to Belgium!

Battle Stations!!!

At the university where I work, we have students from all over the world. They come to our office seeking help/services. The information provided to them spoken, written, on-line, counseled - is in English. The forms distributed and the referrals given are in English. Sometimes interpreters are needed to help the students understand better. Our purpose is to help every student enrolled in the university to achieve success in their education, supporting them along the road to their goals: careers, more education, research - degrees.

  • a thought -
  • a friend of mine left a month ago to reside in Shanghai, China. Her husband has been hired by a company to teach English there. She is taking classes in Chinese.

I think the flaw in this statement is with the given. Where does it say that we treat criminals like less than equal? Criminals are given the rights of Due Process, which realistically contains all of the bill of rights within it. We give criminal the necessities to live and every right given to them in the Constitution.

I am not sure of the reason for this thread. If you wanted a chat about making English the official language of the USA, then that is what you will get, but if you wanted a thread about whether we should force immigrants (legal or not) to learn our language and value our ideas and honor our holidays, then you should have asked for that.

Just because the official language of the USA could be English, doesn’t mean that there will be a shortage of other signs/labels/books in other languages. Go to Mexico, or Europe or travel to another country. What will you see? Signs, in many different languages, many in English, and Spanish. The solution? Be active , don’t force others to learn your way, adapt to the changes in society and the culture of the United States, LEARN Spanish, It will make you desirable and marketable, and you will have unimaginable job security.

Let me share with you a story.

I have tutored children in the sciences who burst into tears of joy when they realized I was bilingual. One of those kids, who could not understand math and science before, is going to attend a science and engineering magnet high school this fall, is planning to join a FIRST team, and wants to become an Engineer.

Did I mention his family immigrated illegally, that he is the only one who remotely understands English, and that both of his parents work 2 & 3 jobs (respectively) to ensure that their children have opportunities?

Put aside politics for just a moment, Chief Delphi! Start thinking about actual people, and maybe you won’t be arguing among yourselves so much.

So, would you prefer a sneaky American freeloader to a sneaky Mexican freeloader? Because that’s the distinction that we have to consider. There exist plenty of Americans who do everything that the illegal immigrants do, with respect to using American resources. All that distinguishes them from the Mexicans is their country of origin.

Note also, that there is a not-farfetched perception that America is the house with an excess of food, where it wouldn’t be such a big deal, if a little bit of cereal went missing occasionally. Despite the best efforts of some of the fanatics out there, it’s plainly obvious that the influx of illegal immigrants is not unsustainable, so long as they don’t all crowd the foyer, so to speak. To prolong this analogy, if they spread out around the house, and do some cleaning, in exchange for food, they’re not such a drain after all. They’re making themselves useful. Give them half a chance to make themselves useful, and you’ll be surprised at what they might accomplish.

In the good old days, when ethnicity wasn’t confused, which ethnicity was it? Be careful what you wish for.

Oh yeah there are-way more of them probably than illegals. But, many of them pay taxes, and those that don’t are pursued by welfare officers *and *the IRS.

There’s always another side to the argument, everythings always a little blurred- hence grayscale.

As cruel and cold-hearted as this sounds.

You have no one to blame but their parents.

It’s proven that Illegal immigrants have taken millions in funds. Not to say that there is MORE than a fair share of legal immigrants/citizens that abuse the system, but it’s stretched thin enough.

Again, my father went through this coming from Palestine with the war w/ Israel going on and yada, yada, yada. ANYONE can go through the process. Yes, it does take time - but is it DOABLE and is put in place for a reason.

My view is pretty simple with the whole thing. Regardless of whether English becomes the official language, I think if you live in this country then you should make an effort to learn English. Just as if you were living in France, you should learn French, and German if living in Germany. Learn the language of the country you’re living in.

Because they are here Illegaly, We don’t let a theif take a car and keep it. The theif cheated his way into the car, hoping to avoid a system that is expensive and time-consuming, a system that makes it so that if he is late on a payment he loses his car. But we still take the car away Because it was wrong of him to take it in the first place!

Because that accomplishes the exact same thing that sending jobs over seas does, it takes a job away from a legal american citizen, and gives it to somebody else, who does not live in america rightfully.

No, we shouldn’t. The penalty for speeding is a small ticket. The penalty for border hopping is being deported. That statement made absolutely no sense. He drives over the speed limit knowing full well that if he gets caught, he will get a ticket.They come over the boarder knowing full well that they will be deported if they are caught.

A Criminal is a criminal, different crimes earn different punishments. people can’t hide behind their ethnicity. I don’t care if you are Mexican, Chinese or any other nationality… to get into this country, you have to go through the proper channels, plain and simple. you don’t sneak in and then expect to be able to stay. I wonder what happens at Disney World when they catch someone sneaking in.

OK, let me step in for two seconds. No naming names.

Guys…it’s 11:49 EST. Why are you awake? Go rest. You can reply to this tomorrow. Chief Delphi is probably not going anywhere.

Tal vez un dia nos daremos cuenta que nuestro lenguage expresa nuestra identidad cultural, y esto es muy importante para el individuo quien desea sentirse orgulloso de su cultura.

Yes, one’s language does express individuality… but by enforcing a national language, you are not making everybody abandon their individuality.They can still talk in whatever language they want, anywhere they want. I know many Americans who are learning second and third languages, and even taking trips to their country of origin, but not one of them are going to ever speak French, German, or Spanish in their home, or anywhere in everyday life when they are in the other countries. English will stay a part of them, and they will remain individuals.

Staying on the topic of a national language, I seem to recall hearing that very soon (maybe already) white anglo saxons will be a minority in the US

maybe thats what this is really all about - certain groups feel they are losing their control over the country, and are going to do what they can while they are still in power.

Power is one of the major motives behind human actions. When you feel you are losing control some people go off the deep end.

To go along with my curiosity and this topic: what states currently have a State language, or require English to be spoken in certain aspects of the State?

For example, I know Arizona requires classes in the education system to be taught in English, the actual proposition can be found here:

I’m not exactly seeing the point of a national language still. Currently not knowing English makes it difficult to succeed, and I doubt that will change anytime soon. It seems there is little need for more incentive to learn English then that.

See attached picture



The statements that have been made by “English Only” advocacy groups only serve to support this statement. Read these:

Draw your own conclusions.

On the other hand, read the following statements by the Linguistic Society of America:

 1.   The vast majority of the world's nations are at least bilingual, and most are multilingual, even if one ignores the impact of modern migrations. Countries in which all residents natively speak the same language are a small exception, certainly not the rule.  Even nations like France, Germany and the United Kingdom have important linguistic minorities within their borders. Furthermore, where diverse linguistic communities exist in one country, they have generally managed to coexist peacefully.  Switzerland and Finland are only two of many examples.  **Where linguistic discord does arise, as in Quebec, Belgium, or Sri Lanka, it is generally the result of majority attempts to disadvantage or suppress a minority linguistic community, or it reflects underlying racial or religious conflicts.**  Studies have shown that multilingualism by itself is rarely an important cause of civil discord.

 2.   The territory that now constitutes the United States was home to hundreds of languages before the advent of European settlers.  These  indigenous languages belonged to several major language families.  Each native language is or was a fully developed system of communication with rich structures and expressive power.  Many past and present members of the Society have devoted their professional lives to documenting and analyzing the native languages of the United States.

 3.   Unfortunately, most of the indigenous languages of the United States have become extinct or are severely threatened.  All too often their

eradication was deliberate government policy. In other cases, these languages suffered from simple neglect. The decline of America’s indigenous languages has been closely linked to the loss of much of the culture of its speakers.

 4.   Because of this history, the Society believes that the government and people of the United States have a special obligation to enable our indigenous peoples to retain their languages and cultures.  The Society strongly supports the federal recognition of this obligation, as expressed in the Native American Languages Act.  The Society urges federal, state and local governments to affirmatively implement the policies of the Act by enacting legislation, appropriating sufficient funds, and monitoring the progress made under the Act.

 5.   The United States is also home to numerous immigrant languages other than English.  The arrival of some of these languages, such as Dutch, French, German, and Spanish, predates the founding of our nation.  Many others have arrived more recently.  The substantial number of residents of the United States who speak languages other than English presents us with both challenges and opportunities.

 6.   The challenges of multilingualism are well known: incorporating linguistic minorities into our economic life, teaching them English so they can participate more fully in our society, and properly educating their children. Unfortunately, in the process of incorporating immigrants and their offspring into American life, bilingualism is often wrongly regarded as a "handicap" or "language barrier."  Of course, inability to speak English often functions as a language barrier in the United States.  But to be bilingual--to speak both English and another language--should be encouraged, not stigmatized.  There is no convincing evidence that bilingualism by itself impedes cognitive or educational development.  On the contrary, there is evidence that it may actually enhance certain types of intelligence.

 7.   Multilingualism also presents our nation with many benefits and opportunities.  For example, bilingual individuals can use their language skills to promote our business interests abroad.  Their linguistic competence strengthens our foreign diplomatic missions and national defense. And they can better teach the rest of us to speak other languages.

 8.   Moreover, people who speak a language in addition to English provide a role model for other Americans.  Our national record on learning other languages is notoriously bad.  A knowledge of foreign languages is necessary not just for immediate practical purposes, but also because it gives people the sense of international community that America requires if it is to compete successfully in a global economy.

 9.   To remedy our past policies towards the languages of Native Americans and to encourage acquisition or retention of languages other than English by all Americans, the Linguistic Society of America urges our nation to protect and promote the linguistic rights of its people.  At a minimum, all residents of the United States should be guaranteed the

following linguistic rights:

 A.   To be allowed to express themselves, publicly or privately, in the
 language of their choice.

 B.   To maintain their native language and, should they so desire, to
 pass it on to their children.

 C.   When their facilities in English are inadequate, to be provided a
 qualified interpreter in any proceeding in which the government
 endeavors to deprive them of life, liberty or property.  Moreover, where
 there is substantial linguistic minority in a community, interpretation
 ought to be provided by courts and other state agencies in any matter that
 significantly affects the public.

 D.   To have their children educated in a manner that affirmatively
 addresses their linguistic deficiencies in English.  Children can only
 learn when they understand their teachers.  As a consequence, some use of
 their native language is often desirable to educate them successfully.

 E.   To conduct business and to communicate with the public in the
 language of their choice.

 F.   To use their preferred language for private conversations in the

 G.   To learn to speak, read and write English, so that they can fully
 participate in the educational and economic life of this nation.  All
 levels  of government should adequately fund programs to teach English to
 any resident who desires to learn it.

 10.  Notwithstanding the multilingual history of the United States, the role of English as our common language has never seriously been questioned. Research has shown that newcomers to America continue to learn English at rates comparable to previous generations of immigrants.  Our government has a legitimate interest in ensuring that this trend continues by promoting the widespread knowledge of English.  Nonetheless, promoting our common language need not, and should not, come at the cost of violating the rights of linguistic minorities.

Just some food for thought. I would encourage you to browse the various advocacy websites… many vary greatly in terms of the spectrum of views presented.

What do we do about squatters?

‘Illegal’ and ‘wrong’ are non necessarily the same things. And they, for better or worse, are necessarily interpreted on a situational basis, especially when the interests of a nation are involved. The thief analogy captures some of the problem, but it’s inadequate to convey the complexities of the immigration question.

Who cares? Someone has a job, someone’s doing better than they were previously. And frankly, if I had the choice between elevating a first-world citizen from unemployment to gainful productivity, and doing the same for a ex-third-world immigrant, I’d tend to pick the immigrant, because they have further to rise. True, America also has its destitute, and for them, I’d welcome a job placement where they can earn a living wage. But when a middle-class or higher citizen complains about a migrant taking his job, I’ve got very little sympathy. If the immigrant can do it cheaper, faster, better, etc., then why are we fostering an unproductive practice? Because it’s patriotic? (Are you a capitalist or a jingoist, at heart?)

The problem is, the immigration system (in America) is principally constructed to keep people out. Every step of the way, there are hurdles and barriers to slow you down, to discourage you. And what’s the point? Nearly none of that is devoted to getting people who can fill American needs; mostly, it’s there just to get the number of immigrants down. And all this, when America clearly needs people to fill jobs in the service and manufacturing sectors. Apart from the fleeing criminals and sly terrorists (of which there are very, very few), illegal immigrants aren’t sneaking in to steal your car or blow up your city. They see jobs unfilled in America, jobs that pay more than they’re accustomed to, and wonder why the immigration system won’t let them fill them. They skip around it, because they know that they don’t stand a very good chance at all of getting in any other way.

So are they unwanted? Well, it sure seems that way, when you talk to a politician. But businesses will privately confide that they do value the services of the migrant workers, because that’s the only way that they can compete with the offshore companies. They can’t afford to pay American wages, because Americans aren’t willing to pay commensurate prices for their goods. The immigrants aren’t stealing jobs, they’re filling jobs that would otherwise have disappeared, because of unsustainable wages.

The irony here, is that immigrants, be they illegal or otherwise, are prolonging the survival of many sectors of American industry. Without illegals, for example, the cost of California produce would rise dramatically. You’d end up importing much more from South America, because you wouldn’t be able to afford domestic prices. The domestic industry would wither. So what do we do about it? Cut American wages? (Can’t do that, American citizens object to low wages.) Bomb South America? (Let’s not try that…) Among other possibilities, the most convenient compromise is really the one that exists now—look the other way at the illegals, because they, in large part, are the ones keeping prices down for the consumers.

Following just one thought from Jaine’s post regarding the disappearance of the indigenous languages - I lived in Louisiana for several years before moving to Texas. Through one of my Cajun friends, I learned that the Cajun language and music is being threatened because the younger generations are not learning it. With that slow disappearance goes much of the history/culture with it.
That was a great post Jaine, thank you.

We let them stay in a house… PAYING TAXES on said house for SEVEN YEARS; This proves that the rightful owner of the house does not want it any more and the AMERICAN who has been squatting gets it.

We have the world’s most successful economy because we do things a certain way. Illegal immigration stands to change that. Have you ever stopped to think about the REASON we only want skilled workers? It’s because our lower-to-middle class is made up of 60% unskilled workers. We have enough, and when you add more… you get people without jobs. Have you ever been to Mexico? Do you understand that there is as much opportunity to work down there as there is up here? We paint Mexico as being an economic hell-hole, when it really isn’t. People that migrate illegally are looking for an easy way out. They don’t want to work to become an American citizen, but they want to reap the benefits of being one. That doesn’t seem right. (And I assure you, sir, that I am no jingoist.)

Sometimes when I think about a national language, I think that we aren’t that far from the faceless mass of people portrait is so many sci-fi movies, but when I look at communication, as a whole, has helped the world… I can’t imagine anything but good coming from a shared language.