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Immigration

February 19, 2013

As a second generation American, I feel I need to express my views on immigration as I lived them. My grandparents can from Czechoslovakia and Hungary....

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(46)

gavinf56

Feb-19-13 5:37 AM

The entire lower midwest and southwestern states predominately spoke Spanish before they became part of the US, are we to just ignore ignore that fact? That would have been like having everyone in Hungary required to speak Russian during the cold war years.

The US is different than any other country in that we are not a homogenous society, nor have we ever been. To be an American has never been about speaking a particular language, it's about believing in a set of principles that we call freedoms.

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gavinf56

Feb-19-13 5:41 AM

Just because 2 people are holding a conversation in a different language and laughing, doesn't mean they are talking about you.

We are a diverse country, get over it.

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ToTEXASfromPA

Feb-19-13 6:49 AM

"To be an American has never been about speaking a particular language, it's about believing in a set of principles that we call freedoms."-- Gavin56

+++

Speaking a different language is fine. The bigger issue is do you change all the official governmental and public documents, records, writings, notifications, street signs, school signs, flags, etc to also include a second language or nationality of people.

Are people trying to fit into the new nation or are they trying to expand and establish their old nation? If they are leaving their old nation, are they bringing the baggage that they are running from?

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gavinf56

Feb-19-13 7:21 AM

They are not trying to expand their old country or trying to change ours. The fact is a large percentage of the territories that the US annexed in it's expansion westward spoke Spainish long before they spoke English (and I won't even get into the native languages, so why wouldn't Spainish be an option? Or do we say that we forcefully took over your land and the language you currently speak no longer matters, we speak English and that is what you will speak.

I only have one word for that type of attitude, xenophobe.

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Josh84

Feb-19-13 7:57 AM

Why no Press 3 for Iroquoian, and press 4 for Siouan then?

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gavinf56

Feb-19-13 8:22 AM

I suppose if we hadn't killed them all off and then forced those who survived to forcibly adapt so that there were millions of them alive today speaking their native languages, yea why not.

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CMReeder

Feb-19-13 8:50 AM

We do not have an official language in this country. All nations below our southern border speak Spanish except for one which is Portuguese.

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CMReeder

Feb-19-13 8:52 AM

Come to think of it other English speaking nations do not think we speak English very well.

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BornHere

Feb-19-13 9:08 AM

I only speak my native language when I am with my people. I raised my children to know our language and our ways because it is who we are and that it is nothing to be ashamed of.

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johnnyad3

Feb-19-13 9:09 AM

Very good points Gavin.

I am third generation from Hungary with my grandparents being born there and then coming here as young children. My observation is people arrive in the U.S. speaking their native toungue. Their kids go to schools and become bi-lingual. Their kids go to school and pretty much know Engish and maybe a little of the native language. I know very little Hungarian, my parents a little more, and my grandparents could go back and forth depending on who they were speaking to.

I don't understand the annoyance in listening to 2-3 seconds asking the caller if they want to use Spanish.

We are the U.S., not Prague. We're better and we show it by doing things like making sure people know what they are getting into.

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enigma

Feb-19-13 9:20 AM

"Why can't the current problem be solved by following the laws that exist?"

It could. That's why they aren't doing it. The government is not about solving problems, they are all about using problems to consolidate and expand power. If there were no problems then how would they justify growing the size and scope of government and grabbing more power over your life and taking your rights? It's obvious. We never get rid of a government program, even if it's proven not to work, we just add new ones. Big government is the goal, not problem resolution.

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gavinf56

Feb-19-13 9:21 AM

My sentiments exactly Johnny. Rarely do adult immigrants become fluent in the host language, instead it is generally their children who are the first to become fluent and they often times become the translators for their parents.

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CHayes

Feb-19-13 9:43 AM

"I would like to ask the President why exceptions are now being made for past and present Spanish speaking immigrants?"

I would like to ask the letter writer what exceptions. If he's talking about language, I'd probably guess it's because there are more immigrants from Spanish speaking currently living in the US, than the sum total of Eastern European immigrants that have come to this country in the country's history. Or maybe like Gavin said, there are parts of the country where Spanish has been spoken since before the areas were even part of the US. It's the western hemisphere, there's LOTS of Spanish speakers, get over it.

I used to enjoy pressing the Espanol button on self checkouts in supermarkets when I checked out, just to watch people's reactions. Try it some time, it's hilarious.

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enigma

Feb-19-13 9:54 AM

There are two reasons that immigrants should learn to speak English. It will help them to be successful here and it is helpful to society in general if everyone here can communicate. We are not doing people any favor by catering to them in their native language. The inability to speak English in this country limits opportunity. This is not intolerance, it is a matter of what works best. When 99% of your customer base speaks English, you want workers who speak English. We should encourage all immigrants to speak English for their own good and ours.

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gavinf56

Feb-19-13 10:12 AM

I understand your point enigma, but most adult immigrated live in close proximity to other immigrants from the same geographic location. Their businesses tend to focus their sales to that community and advertising and speaking their native language shouldn't be an issue.

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gavinf56

Feb-19-13 10:18 AM

One of our favorite places to shop is the Strip District in Pittsburgh on Saturday mornings. It's a great mix of cultures pedaling their food and wares. I recommend some of you try it sometime. It just may change your mind about immigrants.

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gavinf56

Feb-19-13 10:22 AM

....and as fat as speaking English goes, part of the immigration test deals with English proficiency, so no need to fear that we are going to have a bunch of new citizens who can't speak English with the proposed immigration reform bills being touted about. In fact, there are a fair amount who speak English very fluently.

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enigma

Feb-19-13 10:26 AM

Gavin, Are you seriously saying that a ghetto is a good thing and that it provides economic opportunity for it's inhabitants? Are you in favor of any other type of segregation? We have a word for people like that, bigot. Living in a ghetto is very limiting. If that's what they want, then OK, but we should encourage them to assimilate into the rest of society so that they will have unlimited opportunity and society can benefit from what they have to offer. It's amazing that people who want immigrants to become part of our society are bigots while those who want to keep them imprisoned in ghettos are 'tolerant'. It makes absolutely no sense.

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gavinf56

Feb-19-13 11:05 AM

Lol, that is funny enigma.

There is a Presbyterian church up on Lycoming Creek Road where the service is given in a language other than English. After Sunday morning services they sit down, have a small lunch of foods from their homeland, and socialize for a few hours.

So Enigma, why do you think they have that desire to congregate together like this?

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Bufftrev1

Feb-19-13 11:07 AM

I lived, in predominantly spanish speaking neighborhoods several times in/near dc and came to appreciate their food, music and culture in general. While reading your numerous postings on this forum today, enigma, it seems as though you are in an especially combative mood today, with a fair helping of self righteousness thrown into the mix. If you've never done so, I recommend you actually speak to and spend time with a first generation immigrant, chances are excellent you'll come awaylp richer for the experience. Not to mention the fact that god, should he/she exist, would likely look favorably upon the interaction.

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wwhickok

Feb-19-13 11:10 AM

Here is my views on Immigration. I get that people want to come here to the U.S. for a better life but it's time to close the borders to new immigrants. We've got enough people in this country with enough problems already. I'm not saying permenantly close the borders necessarily, but we've gotta get this economy and frankly this country under control and it won't happen overnight.

Furthermore, like it or not, I don't care where you're from, what color your skin is, we speak ENGLISH in this country. That's something that should be REQUIRED for citizenship.. yes I'm dead serious. Hey, being bilingual is a plus and you don't have to speak perfect english, but you should at least be able to speak ANY english. Immigration issues have been ignored for a long time though, so there's very little they can do now, to get it under control.

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wwhickok

Feb-19-13 11:13 AM

BTW, I want to make it clear, the problem as far as language, that I have is not two people near me speaking so I can't understand them. The problem I have is having to attempt to communicate with someone who can't speak a single word of english. If they're talking to someone in their language who understands them, what's the issue? The issue is when they are trying to communicate with someone that is english speaking that doesn't speak their lanuage.

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Tgrammiex4

Feb-19-13 11:35 AM

You shouldn't have to push 1 for english. What does it cost the gov't. and business to print everything in spanish? Why are schools paying for teachers to teach in other languages rather than teach kids english first? Why are American companies sending thier customer service dept. to other countries and when you call you can't understand them? My grandfather came here from Portugal almost 90 yrs. ago. The 1st thing he did was learn english. I only ever heard him speak portugese when he & his brother would get together. That language requires using your hands too,LOL.

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enigma

Feb-19-13 11:43 AM

Buff, I speak to many immigrants. Most of them are furious about the illegal immigration. They also agree with me on the learning to speak English. NYC used to be part of my territory,including Chinatown, Little Italy, Spanish Harlem etc. Many of my customers were immigrants who learned the language and started their own business. Even in the ghettos, most of my customers did not live there because they assimilated. They wanted to be part of this country not just live in this country. That's what I want for all immigrants. I would never facilitate them trapping themselves in a ghetto. One of my favorite customers was a Russian Jew whose father brought him here as a child to escape Communism. He asked me one day, where he could take his children to escape the Communism he sees coming here. That spoke volumes.

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enigma

Feb-19-13 12:27 PM

Buff, I have a question for you. You say that you came to appreciate the Hispanic food, music and culture. Is that all that immigrants mean to you? These are people. I also like many ethnic foods, but to me these are people. They are not Hispanic people or Chinese people or any other specification people, they are people, just like me. I want the best for them, just like I want the best for me. I will not use them so that I will have a nice ethnic neighborhood to visit. You seem to value them only for the diversity they can add to you diet. I'll ask again, is that all they mean to you?

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