A Genuine Perspective On Immigration

To The Reader’s Forum:

I’d like to comment on recent letters written by Ms. Forbes (6/13), Mr. Beardsley (6/27), and Mr. Marsh (7/7) regarding elimination of the Hispanic navigator. I believe the first two writers could’ve conveyed their ideas in a more considerate manner. This would’ve inclined people to consider their messages rather than respond to their tones. Tact is everything when it comes to delivering an argument. Without it, people will overlook your ideas and make unfair conclusions, as I believe Mr. Marsh has done.

Yet Mr. Beardsley and Ms. Forbes do have legitimate complaints. America’s primary language is English, and the obligation to adapt should rest on those who come here. America provides the freedom, individuals take care of the rest. To expect another country to cater to your native language is selfish. Also, the assertion that one is being “denied” an education simply because they’re not being accommodated with free translations, and then calling it “discrimination,” is an insult to anyone who has actually experienced real discrimination.

Deeming these complaints as inherently racist without knowing the personal mindsets of the other people is irresponsible. While there certainly are connections between immigration and race, it’s inappropriate to automatically entangle the two without considering the context of the conversation and the heart of the person you’re debating. Genuine disagreement on immigration can exist without racism.

Many people understand the importance of immigrants. America wouldn’t exist without them, because they built it. I agree with Mr. Marsh that we should embrace them and the contributions they make to our melting pot. A lack of English literacy does not imply malicious intent, as many immigrants have noble intentions. However it is also true that an individual’s demand for learning English does not imply he is racist, fears immigrants, is uncomfortable with minorities, or that he is even white. To insist on this linkage with such certainty makes you guilty of the same judgmental attitude you’ve previously criticized, since it requires a great deal of assumption.

I’ll admit, it’s discouraging when some (not all) immigrants come here voluntarily, but then expect accommodation rather than contribution. It’s an insult to other immigrants who came here with a thankful attitude and adapted to the culture of freedom they so desperately sought. And when I think of the compassion I have for immigrants and the racial harmony I know is in my heart, I become very offended when my discouragement is dismissed as “fearful nativism.”

Rick Hammond

Jamestown