Non-English speaking citizens?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2010
Non-English speaking citizens?
104
Tue, 06-01-2010 - 2:51pm

I know this may raise a heated debate, but I'm a naturalized citizen and my mom is also, she is from Japan and has been in this country for nearly 40 years. She had to pass the citizen exam, so at some point she had to read, write and speak English to pass.

My issue is with citizens like her that only learned enough English to pass that exam. Now she can barely read English, can't spell basic words without difficulty, and can barely speak English. I love her, but she can't survive without relying on others. I have tried to get her to work to improve her communication, but I feel she doesn't want to.

Does anyone feel that there should be some type of citizen review, maybe every 10 years, that as long as the person is of sound mind, able body, that they should have to go through some type of review to ensure that they still know enough English to be self-sufficient? This is a serious question, because I see how some people who don't speak English get over on the system.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2010
Wed, 06-02-2010 - 9:43am

I've stated a few times over and over, not deportation, but to enforce learning. Again, I've seen it happen time and time again, where a person will pass the citizenship exam and will feel that is all they need to learn. Yes, I know learning is optional and it's left up to the individual, if they actually want to learn.

I stated this as well in a previous post, that the person would be responsible to pay for the review, but it would be an affordable fee. Again, it would simply be another tool to help enforce learning. Learning never hurts, it's supposed to help.

I'm not speaking about natural-born citizens, that's another thread all together, some of their own issues are self-imposed. And, I said some, not all. It's a different situation for everyone.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-2010
Wed, 06-02-2010 - 10:19am

I see what you are saying, however, if such a "law" were in place, then ALL Americans should have to take it.

You might be surprised at how many natural born Americans would not be able pass the exam. Why should they get a pass just because they were born here?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2010
Wed, 06-02-2010 - 10:26am
And, I agree with you and see your point. No one would be except from it then, just to make it fair for everyone as a whole.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2004
Wed, 06-02-2010 - 12:07pm

How do you enforce learning if there is no consequence for a failure to learn? Or do you just want to force people to sit through classes, even if they have no intention of actually learning anything? And one person's "affordable" fee is another person's burden that takes money away from food or medicine or heat or housing.


Do you really think the government should be able to "enforce learning?" Isn't the desire to learn, or not to learn, up to the individual? As far as I know, there is no law against ignorance in this country, and no law against a poor command of the English language, and no law against a lack of knowledge about civic affairs. It would be nice if everyone knew these things, but do you really think the government should force people to learn them? Isn't that kind of like the reeducation camps in totalitarian regimes?


I guess I don't understand your suggestions because I don't understand what problem you are trying to solve. You have a personal problem -- your mother does not speak enough English to manage day-to-day life on her own. And you think the government should require that she take classes to change that. If it is such a problem for you, and your family, why don't you require her to take classes to change that?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2010
Wed, 06-02-2010 - 12:20pm

I would happily enroll her, if she thought it were important. She does not feel that it is vital for her to learn or improve upon her communication, when she can continue to rely on others to help her and there are many others that think like her. I know, because I'm witnessing it first hand. They don't feel that it's necessary to seek additional education and in my mother's case it would be covered by VA as a widow's benefit to her. I think it would be easier to enforce if the government did back it.

My point was simple to begin with enforcing a review, that would initiate all naturalized citizens to have to prepare for a review (to have to study, read, learn and be open to learning). What I'm conveying is simply, but of course, most people would opposed to anything that would implement learning, when most people naturally don't want to learn in the first place. It was just my wishful thinking.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-05-2008
Wed, 06-02-2010 - 12:22pm

"I know a few illegal immigrants who are here, working, and getting some aid. Will I tell on them? No, it's not my place to. "

Why wouldn't you report them, especially if it bothers you? If it's not your responsibility, whose is it?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2010
Wed, 06-02-2010 - 12:57pm

Again, I won't report them, it simply is not my place to do so. While I'm speaking on this topic, one of them speaks and writes better English than my own mother who has been in this country for nearly 40 years.

What bothers me most is the reason I started this topic, the high number of naturalized citizens who don't want to be self-sufficient, based on their inability to speak English, write English, read English and some are unable to conduct simple business transactions without the help of others, or, again, to write a letter, conduct a phone call. That's what bothers me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2004
Wed, 06-02-2010 - 1:00pm

You are still missing my point.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2009
Wed, 06-02-2010 - 1:03pm

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People who won't report such lawbreakers have no business griping about the expense.

Regarding your mother, if it bothers you so much, I suppose you don't have to help her.




Edited 6/2/2010 1:28 pm ET by shannon.fannon
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-05-2008
Wed, 06-02-2010 - 1:25pm


"Again, I won't report them, it simply is not my place to do so."

And again I ask - whose responsibility is it to report them?

"What bothers me most is the reason I started this topic, the high number of naturalized citizens who don't want to be self-sufficient, based on their inability to speak English, write English, read English and some are unable to conduct simple business transactions without the help of others, or, again, to write a letter, conduct a phone call. That's what bothers me."

It seems like what bothers you is your mother's reluctance to improve her English skills, and the burden this places on you. I don't believe that legislation should be enacted to relieve you (or anyone else) of this burden, nor do I believe that it would even work. Surely those who do not speak, read and/or write English realize that their lives would be simpler if they did, and they choose not to.

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