I am an immigrant and I am grateful to be able to live in the US. I love this country – but sometimes it puzzles me.
I swear to you, that no American begged me to come here. On the contrary, I begged at the American Consulate in (what used to be) Yugoslavia to come here. Bottom line – we immigrants come here because we choose to – not because Americans ask us or force us to move here.
That being the case, you would think, that all of us immigrants should be grateful to you Americans for letting us start a new life here and escape from whatever awful situation we faced back in our home country, right? You don’t owe us anything for blessing you with our presence, right? Or do you? Believe it or not, somebody must think so, because there seems to be whole lot of mandate to accommodate our languages and cultures at American taxpayers’ expense. Astoundingly, there is no mandate for us to learn your language and accommodate your culture.
Did you know that you can take the written test for California driver license in at least a dozen languages? Shockingly, last time I drove (about couple of hours ago), all the signs on the road were still in English. It would seem that knowing enough English to understand the traffic signs would be a reasonable requirement for allowing someone to drive, but apparently, it is not.
Apparently, some bureaucrat at the California DMV figured, that the benefit to all Californians, of having a bunch of moronic immigrants driving around without having a clue what “Wrong Way” means, is worth the cost associated with translations and printing the forms in dozen different languages.
Californians rejoice! The income tax just went up, the car tax is back, the employment tax is back, and the sales tax just jumped to 8.5%! Regardless, your politicians keep borrowing money to fund nonsense like multilingual DMV tests, so that all of us immigrants, who chose to come here but could not be bothered to learn even the most basic English, can drive!
I feel very confident, that if all the DMV forms were only printed in English, none of my immigrant rights would be trampled upon. The last time I read the DMV booklet (written in English, thank you very much), it stated that driving on public roads is a privilege, not a right. Oh – my bad! I forgot about the economic recovery – if Californians pay for translators, the economy will rebound!
I thought that no government could come up with a worse idea than a multilingual test for driver license, until I heard a story on NPR during the last election. A guest was a Russian activist, who complained that there were not enough Russian translators at New York voter pooling stations.
The reporter saw no irony in any of this. Apparently, Russian immigrants, who can’t match a name to a bubble on a ballot without a translator (paid for by American tax payers), can make perfect sense of news in English to form an intelligent opinion about the candidates. The same reporter was perhaps blissfully unaware, that one of the requirements of becoming an US citizen is – you guessed it – to demonstrate sufficient English language skills to be able to function in society and perform your civic duties. So why would any American citizen need a translator? Maybe uttering “Я не понимаю” (= I don’t understand in Russian) passes for a sufficient English language skill during INS administered citizenship test in New York.
Good thing that American politicians can always borrow a few more billion from Chinese government to fund this nonsense — and leave it up to the future generations to pay the debt.
If you are an American citizen who can write (in English), I encourage you to write to your representatives in congress and ask them to write a bill that would really reform the US immigration policy. The bill which would require us immigrants to respect our host country. What is wrong with demanding that we
- Obey the laws
- Communicate in English (= no translators necessary to vote, drive, or appear at any court)
- Contribute (= no sitting on welfare for years and years)
I love this country – and I am The Immigrant.