Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Immigrants see need for English

A good story showing that immigrants understand how important it is that they learn English in order to succeed here. DP

Survey results show most Hispanics view language as essential

By Tillie Fong, Rocky Mountain News

Rocky Mountain News: Israel Salgado wants to become a medical assistant.
But first, he has to master English and pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language to qualify for college.

"I think it's important for people (immigrants) to learn the culture, the language, the tradition of the country in which people are living," said Salgado, 27, who is studying English at the Emily Griffith Opportunity School. "It's part of assimilation. English is the official language of the United States."

Salgado's sentiments echo a 2004 study by the Pew Hispanic Center, which found that a majority of Hispanics believe that immigrants have to speak English to be part of American society.

"The numbers speak for themselves," said Gabriel Escobar, associate director of the center. "It leaves no doubt. Hispanics, regardless whether they speak English or not, are citizens or not, regard acquiring English as important."

The center decided to release partial results from national surveys of Hispanics that it conducted in 2003 and 2004 after President Bush spoke about the need for immigrants to learn American values and English.

"It's part of the debate," Escobar said. "The president has weighed in on the English language issue, and it's been explored in a public survey."

The center's 2004 telephone survey on politics and civics education polled 2,288 Hispanics across the country.

Fifty-seven percent of foreign-born and 52 percent of native- born said "yes" to the question: "Do immigrants have to speak English to say they are part of American society or not?"

Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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