Are you tired of anonymous voices on the phone telling you to "Press 1 (or sometimes 2) for English"? The ability to speak and communicate in English is the litmus test of whether immigrants are assimilating into U.S. culture.
To become a naturalized U.S. citizen, the law states that the immigrant must demonstrate "the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English." All public opinion polls confirm by majorities approaching 90 percent that this is what the American people want.
Despite the law, the Pew Hispanic Center just reported that only 52 percent of Hispanic naturalized citizens speak English well or pretty well. Pew also reported that 28 percent of Latino immigrants speak only Spanish on the job.
Even those who seek diversity in politics, in religion, in morals, in lifestyles and in nationalities reject diversity when it comes to speaking English. It's the tie that binds; it's the e pluribus unum of our culture; it's the route to success in education, careers, and the chance to live the American dream.
As President George W. Bush rounds out his second term, pundits will be speculating on his legacy. The Census Bureau just answered that question: his legacy is admitting the staggering number of 10.3 million foreigners into the United States, both legally and illegally, plus many more illegal residents the Census Bureau could not identify.
The jury is still out on whether those 10.3 million will assimilate into the American socioeconomic culture or will remain in neighborhoods where they associate only with each other and fail to communicate and compete with citizens of their adopted country.
One would think that sound government policy should encourage assimilation, but unhappily our government, both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, has and is retarding assimilation.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., lifted the lid on one of the government's major campaigns to discourage assimilation when he offered an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill (H.R. 3093) to prohibit federal funds from being used by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to sue employers for requiring English to be spoken by employees on the job. EEOC filed more than 200 such lawsuits against employers in the past year.
EEOC accuses the Salvation Army at Framingham, Mass., of discriminating against two employees "on the basis of their national origin." The charge is ridiculous because the Salvation Army actually hired the two employees and gave them a year to learn enough English to speak it on the job, which they failed to do.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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