Immigrants and EnglishThe question of whether or not immigrants want to learn English remains a flashpoint in the immigration debate. Where some may see only a linguistic shortcoming, others interpret an inability to speak English as an unwillingness to fit into American society. Common complaints framed in the form of questions include “Why can’t they speak English?” and “Why don’t they learn English the way past immigrants learned it?” As with many other issues, Americans base their conclusions about this subject largely on personal experience. Native-born people who come into contact with the many immigrants who work in restaurants, hotels, and retail, draw conclusions from these encounters about whether immigrants as a group are learning English. To understand the subject, it is helpful to examine academic studies and census data to see how people’s perceptions match up with reality. Moreover, one should review survey questions answered by immigrants, analyze data on earlier immigrants to the United States, and look at currentU.S. efforts to teach English to newcomers. This is the led-in to a report made by the CATO Institute. It tries to make Americans think that Mexicans and other Latin American people who are now in the US are trying their best to learn English and be good Americans. It also attempts to show that the children of these "Spanish Only" language people will actually drop the use of Spanish the longer they live in the United States. Here is the report: http://www.cato.org/pubs/irb/irb_october2010.pdf If you are an American living near these people, you must have experienced that even if they know how to speak English, they seem to put up "the wall of Spanish" as an American walks by to keep you at a distance. (A real insult in most countries and might even get you killed) You will also notice that as these "immigrants" start taking over a neighborhood, they use the Spanish language to mark their territory. Businesses spring up with not a word of English on them to invite American customers onto their property. They are basically saying "YANKEE GO HOME"! Is this a sign that these "immigrants", who borrowed money from American banks to open those businesses in the first place, will make good Americans? The report goes on to use an example of 1910 Wisconsin and German speaking residence. They use this hundred year old example to show that very few of these Germans spoke English. What they don't discuss is the fact that in most farming communities, the average person may not travel more that twenty miles away for years and maybe not for their entire lives. What brought them out of those communities was being drafted into the wars of the 20th century. But the vast majority of Latin Americans really have no experience of helping the United States fight those wars. The final paragraphs are on how important the English language is, not just to America, but the world, as it is being learned in virtually every country around the globe. But if this is the case, why are these people forcing Spanish on their children? Why are they forcing Americans to learn Spanish?