Myths About Immigration
There are many translators that work directly or indirectly with immigrants so I thought it would be interesting to write a series of posts on myths relating to immigration, especially immigration coming across the Mexican/ U.S. Border.
Immigrants don’t want to learn English or become Americans.
Immigrants throughout history have been accused of not learning English or assimilating to the American way of life. They are accused of clinging to their own language, customs, and traditions. The truth is most immigrants believe it is necessary to learn English in order to be successful in the United States. Today the reasons to learn English are even more demanding. Careers, school, and jobs necessitate the urgency to learn English. Today’s service-oriented economy requires higher levels of education and higher English proficiency. The simple act of making new friends or participating in social events requires at least some degree of English. The need to learn English is indeed high and appreciated by immigrants.
Many immigrants work more than one job so they don’t have the time for classes. For others, the obstacles may include lack of financial resources and child care. The demand for English language classes is high; unfortunately, the number of classes is low. This alone slows down the assimilation of immigrants. The first generation of immigrants has an excruciating time learning English and may never learn it fully. The second generation will be able to speak both their native tongue and English fluently while the third generation will only be able to speak English and not be able to speak with their grandparents. Today, the assimilation of immigrants is faster than any other time in history. This is due to public education and mass media. Immigrants have many hurdles in coming to the U.S. such as just getting here to finding a job, to learning, new language, to paying naturalization fees, to dealing with a slow- moving immigration bureaucracy system and taking a written citizenship test. These people go through a lot in order to become American citizens. The fact that these people do become citizens is enough to disprove this myth.