Recently, President Obama surprised many of us by directly addressing immigration reform. Apparently, the man hasn’t had enough criticism aimed at him. In any case, one of the aspects of the president’s plan is that all immigrants should learn English.
Certainly, it is in the best interests of immigrants to learn the nation’s dominant language. The economic disadvantage of not knowing English is a very real phenomenon.
However, as I’ve written before, we Americans get more than a little self-serving when it comes to immigrants speaking English. The argument that it benefits them is rarely invoked. Instead, we’re told that it’s part of the process of assimilation — necessary for them to become integrated into American culture.