Immigrants Should Be Forced to Learn and Speak English Essay

2382 Words 10 Pages
The debate regarding whether or not immigrants should be forced to learn and speak English started as far back as 1754 (King, 1997, para.4) and continues to be debated currently. This issue is viewed differently by legal immigrants, illegal immigrants and American citizens.
R. D. King (1997) wrote that the issue of immigrants learning to speak English dates back to 1753 with regards to German immigrants. In his article, Should English Be the Law, King (1997) states, “In 1753 Benjamin Franklin voiced his concern that German immigrants were not learning the English language” (para. 4). Even after all these years, the issue of immigrants learning and speaking English in order to communicate better with co-workers, at the bank, or
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On the other hand, there are illegal immigrants who also come to America to make money and take advantage of the freedom that America offers. Both legal and illegal immigrants are aware they would have an easier time living in America if they would learn and speak English (Poisl, 2007). A large number of illegal immigrants live daily with the possibility of prosecution and deportation and, therefore, do not make the effort to learn to speak English (Poisl, 2007). These illegal immigrants make little or no attempt to study and work towards becoming American citizens (Poisl, 2007).
According to a study done by New American Dimensions (Whitmore, 2008), seven in ten Hispanics agree that immigrants in America should learn to speak English. Eighty percent of foreign-born immigrants agree they should learn to speak English if they are going to stay in the United States (Whitmore, 2008). Six in ten Hispanics interviewed for this study agreed Hispanic immigrants should “follow the rules and come to the United States legally” (Whitmore, 2008). There are emotional and legal concerns surrounding whether immigrants should learn to speak English. Domenico Maceri (2009), an award-winning author and foreign language instructor at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria California, states “I never met an immigrant in the United States who needed laws to be reminded that English is necessary to succeed” (par. 9).