By Anna Castilla
The United States has always been seen as a “melting pot” where people from different countries, with different ethnicities and cultures are all mixed together. Even though this has helped make the United States an extremely diverse culture, it has also made the U.S. the perfect place for immigration.
As of 2014, there are 42.1 million immigrants in the United States and chances are many of them do not speak English and this language barrier between immigrants and the citizens of the U.S. has caused many dilemmas and setbacks. Many people like to say things like “I would not move to Germany without learning German”; and to an extent, this is true, so then why would anyone try to move into a country without knowing the language?
Without knowing English, many of the immigrants that are trying to make a better living here will only be at a disadvantage. Several young adults talked with us about this particular subject and most of them said that immigrants should be required to learn English.
Jada, a student at Texas Tech University, told us: “Anywhere else outside of the U.S. we’d be expected to conform to them, which includes their language. Same should apply for those who come into the U.S. It’s not fair for us to be expected to speak their language in our own country.”
Other young adults, like Kayla, stated things such as “I feel many immigrants are lazy and don’t give the effort many of us would give if the opportunity was given to us.”
Among these statements, there were a few that believed otherwise. A student at Texas A&M International University, who wished to remain anonymous, said something that involved the “melting pot” theory.
“The U.S is considered ‘a melting pot of cultures’, a country founded by immigrants. If everyone was required to learn English we wouldn’t be the U.S. English is not even an indigenous language of this land, requiring people to learn English in order to come to this country would be extremely discriminatory & detrimental to our over all economy.”
The diversity of languages and cultures is what sets the United States apart from other countries and may be the reason why so many families and individuals decide to leave their homeland to start a new life in ours. Other students believed that immigrants should not be required to learn English, but be given the option to do so if they pleased because it would be beneficial for them in finding employment and just making their lives a lot easier in general.
Will the United States still be “America the Great” if immigrants were required to learn English even if is not be the native language of the country? The United States is known for its cultural diversity and being able to give everyone a chance to reach the “American Dream” but how can people reach that dream when there is a language barrier? Giving immigrants the option and opportunity to learn English seems to be the best option instead of making it a requirement and risking the chance of losing the diversity that our country is so known for.