Immigration Reform 2013: Can Immigrants Assimilate?


With Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) leading the charge, immigration reform has been at the forefront of American politics these last few weeks. However, I’d like to call attention to a different aspect of the issue: assimilation, the need for immigrants to adapt to the new culture. 

I believe the discussion should not be whether or not Americans are too lazy to learn another language, but rather, should immigrants assimilate into their new culture?

In countries all over the world, English is a standard language. It's taught in the school systems, businesses use it as their primary language, and speaking English is a necessity. However, in America learning English is on the decline, and speaking Spanish is becoming increasingly important.

Because of the influx in undocumented immigrants, America is beginning to be face a cultural identity crisis. Besides the obvious language barrier and cost to American taxpayers, illegal immigration has a damaging effect on American patriotism. 

If you become a resident of a new country, your allegiance should be with your new home. But when you allow 11 million immigrants to completely disrespect our laws, and then reward them with government handouts, you create a culture where assimilation is not valued anymore.

America is a country built by immigrants; we should welcome immigration wholeheartedly! However, we cannot be afraid to demand assimilation into our culture.

When European immigrants come to America, we expect them to speak our language, learn our cultural norms, and stand hand-in-hand with us and sing "God Bless the U.S.A." Conversely, when it comes to undocumented immigrants, everyone is paralyzed with the fear of offending someone.

Take Brenda Brinsdon's story as an example. In 2011, a 15-year-old in Texas claimed she was punished for refusing to recite the Mexican pledge of allegiance and national anthem in her Spanish class. Her argument was that "Reciting pledges to Mexico and being loyal to it has nothing to do with learning Spanish."

The school district found her objections to the assignment offensive, saying the assignment was "simply spreading the culture of another country."

Glad to know the school district takes pledging your allegiance so seriously. I'd like to say this is an isolated event, but unfortunately such instances are becoming more frequent.

Earlier this year, a group of California high school students were suspended when they wore American flag bandanas and chanted "USA!" at a high school basketball game.

"There was symbolism there with the bandana and the chant … It has nothing to do with being patriotic or unpatriotic," claimed Gabe Soumakian, the school district's superintendent. "It has to do with the fact that they are making a chant regarding that we are from the USA and you're not. Whether that's the implied intent, that’s the way it comes across … They have to respect everyone. When you go to a game – you cheer for your team and you don't make any derogatory comments or make inappropriate comments toward the other team."

When we refuse to encourage American pride in the next generation, out of fear of offending someone, what do we have left? Have we let "political correctness" go too far this time?