01 Mar Demanding Migrants Speak English
Immigration and nationality act of 1952 holds a clause which asks for immigrants to have English proficiency to get the naturalization. For this, a citizenship test is conducted in the form of a one-on-one interview. The test has four components: a speaking/comprehension test, a reading test, a writing test, and a civics test. More specifically for the civics test, applicants for citizenship are asked ten questions, and they must satisfy at least six with the expected answers. The test examines the applicant’s knowledge of American society and the English language.
It is unpopular to admit the existence of something like “national identity,” but a nation needs to be represented by something, or else it halts to exist. It appears that to most Americans view English language as a vital component of national identity, much more so than birthplace, ethnicity, or religion.
Based on the current statistics, 8 percent of the U.S. population is categorized as Limited English Proficiency or LEP. This usually snaps down to around 40-50 percent of each state’s immigrant community. Lack of English proficiency does not serve anyone, especially not the LEP individual. LEP adults generally earn 25-40 percent less than English-proficient adults, are more prone to live in poverty, and less likely to own a house. Despite this, it is frequently considered insulting to suggest that mastering English is a necessary part of integrating into American life.
Expecting some level of English is not muffled of in the current U.S. immigration system. Recognizing that over 90 percent of Americans currently vocalize English at a proficient level, English proficiency is still a vital part of American life. Consistent with that belief, refugees in the United States are expected to enroll in an ESL class in their first two weeks of arrival. If they do not, they are incapable of obtaining government assistance. With very few exceptions, if a person craves to become a U.S. citizen, they must excel in the citizenship test in English. Before the commencement of the bill, the public poll was organized then to see what Americans feel about it.
Those who are in favor of this decision said,
“Our country is based on the English language. To permit one to become a citizen without speaking English is to smash and cause a divided nation.”
“English is the language that unites our nation synchronically. If we choose to dissolve that bond, then we become a nation of schisms, which will lead to the disintegration of our nation as we know it.”
Those who vote against it made their point by saying,
“The time and effort required to obtain basic proficiency make it an extremely challenging task, especially to those from certain specific cultures.”
“You don’t speak American, you speak English. So, if you converse the language of England, why should people be treated differently for speaking their native languages? As the United States does not have an official language, nobody should be forced to speak anything!”
As the United States doesn’t have a declared language like in many countries, immigrants are under no obligation to study English or be bound to lose any part of their culture. Not only this, but the demand that people who live here master English also fails to take account of people’s financial circumstances, intelligence, and motivation. Even learning the basics of a language takes commitment, focus, motivation, access to resources, time and some sort of financial responsibility, be it funding a course or saying no to a shift to attend a class. The items that the assertion misses pertain to two main ideas. First, it doesn’t quantify how much English one must study to be admissible in the eyes of those making the demands. Therein also lies the likelihood that those heard speaking their own language are considered not to be able to speak English, or to have failed to learn it.