Friday, August 10, 2007

Hot topic: Immigration

Posted by Teresa at 12:57 AM

Click on picture for source

I've been noticing lately that whenever blogs
post about the issue of immigration their comments
inevitably increase. I'm curious why does this topic
garner such heated and spirited debates? It
must be touching people's lives in a such a deep way
to get this reaction.

I personally don't have strong feelings one way or
another, which is ironic since I live just 3 hours from
the Mexican border. I think both sides have some good
points. I have a couple of pointers to people debating the
issue. One is don't assume people who are for tougher border
enforcement are automatically racist because it truly might
not be the case. They probably just want people to follow the
rule of law. For the anti-immigration crowd my advice is don't
dismiss Hispanics when they call out racism. Some but not all
of the anti-immigration rhetoric is fueled by racism and that issue
shouldn't be avoided.

Closely related to immigration is the English-only debate.
Yes, English is our official language and people who want to
live and work here should learn it. BUT let's not get so
sensitive about seeing signs, documents, etc. translated into
other languages. I applaud and admire people who can
speak more than one language. When I went to Israel last
year, I was amazed at how many people I encountered that
knew not just one or two languages but several. Let's not sell
ourselves short. Plus, it is good for business. People in other
parts of the world learn different languages so they can do
business transactions.

Side read:
Here is a story I did two years ago about a Mexican immigrant
population in small rural city in North Carolina.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Teresa, you missed a lot of points about immigration in your blog, but let me comment on one that you did address. The English language.

People don't care if someone wants to speak only Spanish.People just don't want to have to pay for it. You know, it costs a lot in taxes to translate government documents, hire interpreters, etc. People don't have a problem with people wanting these services, they just want the people that require them to pay for them. For example, if you enter another country and cannot speak the language, then commit a crime, you should be expected to pay for your own interpreter. If you can't afford one then eith I have to pay for it or you do without. I don't want to pay for it.

Same with business. When someone presses 2 for Spanish they talk to someone in Spanish. Businesses actually have to hire a whole new set of customer service reps because these people don't speak English. But do the non-English speaking people get charged extra for this special service? No. I end up helping pay for it.

When you go to an ATM and it says press 2 for Spanish, do you think the bank had to hire someone to write programs to display screens in Spanish? Of course.

These'e a cost to people not speaking English. If the cost was taxed to the people that use these services there wouldn't be any problem about it. As it is, I don't want to pay for it. That's the issue.

Anonymous said...

In addtion to what the above author wrote, our country doesn't need to end up with the problems Canada deals with regarding language (English/French) and the continual insistance of separation by many in the Quebec provence from Canada as a whole.

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