Adventures of a Forced Migrant Contact Me
“Someone told me I should have put English as my first language when I registered for school,” Phanachone said. “But I refused. I will not deny who I am. And I will not disrespect my culture or my mother.”
An Iowa high school student who speaks and understands English perfectly has been declared ‘illiterate’ as she refuses to take the English proficiency test at her school. The Sioux City Journal reports:
Lori Phanachone is a member of the National Honor Society, has a 3.9 grade point average and ranks seventh in the senior class of about 119 at Storm Lake High School.
But school officials have told her she is considered to be illiterate based on her refusal to satisfactorily complete the English Language Development Assessment, a test she says is demeaning and racist.
Well, of course it is demeaning and racist. Phanachone was born and bred in the United States. She is being targeted to sit the ELDA because she indicated on a form that English was not the first language spoken in her household and her parents spoke very little English.
Obviously, English is not the first language spoken in most immigrant households but that does not correlate with an inability to speak English. There are white American kids who can barely spell, let alone speak English. Maybe the wrong person is being asked to sit an ELDA.
Want a good, steady and stable job with great benefits? Head for the border!
Border Patrol agents earn at least $36,000 to start and $70,000 within three years.
ON THE WEB Information on becoming a U.S. Border Patrol agent: www.borderpatrol.gov
“There’s no chance of layoffs, especially with the way the world is going right now. It’s steady work,” said Steven Passement, 39, who has been an agent for 12 years.
Agents must be willing to spend their first three years along the nation’s southern border in Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona. Their work involves catching illegal immigrants, terrorists and drug smugglers.
Later, agents can transfer to jobs in areas including the coastline or Canadian border, Passement said.
The Minutemen*, ALIPAC* and other nativists* that ‘copy-n-paste’ their hate speech all over the web, especially about those ‘illegal aliens taking their jobs’ should jump at this opportunity! According to the Border Patrol, they are looking to add 2000 more border patrol agents by the end of the year — if you believe in the ‘border fence’ and restrictive immigration policies, why are you still reading this?
* Might be ineligible prima facie due to lack of aptitude and fitness. The process includes filling out an online application and taking a 30-minute practice test to help recruits prepare for the real entrance exam, which takes 41/2 hours, with only a 40 percent passing rate. The physical test involves 25 sit-ups and 20 push-ups, each within a minute, and a five-minute test on a stair climber. Those who are accepted go to 55 days of basic training in New Mexico. If they don’t speak Spanish, they must take a 40-day crash course.
I think that is what kills the deal for the poor nativists–they still have to learn Spanish for their ‘perfect’ job.
In a new poll by Rasmussen Reports, 32% of likely voters polled expressed anger over “illegal immigration” whereas 39% said it was just another one of the issues.
However, only 12% of people blamed immigrants for coming here–an overwhelming 83% held the federal government responsible for inaction and being lobbied by ‘special interest groups.’ It is indeed true that the federal government is unlikely to make any new immigration laws until after elections–increasing border control, passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Agjobs and the DREAM Act–are issues that the government would much rather ignore than tackle effectively.
Survey questions revealed that 43% of Americans thought that the government allowed immigrants to retain the culture of their home country while 32% thought the government encouraged them to fully embrace American culture with 26% unsure. It is unclear whether this issue contributed to voter anger and dissatisfaction.
How can ‘illegal immigrants’ be encouraged to assimilate into American culture? The obvious answer is to stop driving them underground and encourage them to become a part of American society. And yet, the expectations of the American public with regards to assimilation disregard history and the processes of cultural change. A first generation of immigrants hardly assimilate or integrate, even though studies suggest that they are assimilating and integrating in larger numbers than the first wave of European immigrants in American. It is usually the second-generation that adopts American culture much more readily than the first.
Americans want immigrants to adopt American culture–and there is nothing wrong with that desire. However, cultural change is a process and not something that should be ‘forced’ upon people. In itself, culture is also not a fixed immutable object–it is open to change, much like American culture that is an amalgamation of immigrants from many walks of life and continues to change.
There are studies that suggest the harmful side-effects of ‘assimilation’ — adopting American habits and behaviours, especialy diet, is particularly degrading for immigrant health according to a Smith College-led study.
“Simply put: the longer an immigrant lives in the U.S., the heavier that immigrant becomes. Scholars theorize this weight gain as due, in part, to acculturation, the adoption of U.S. diet and physical activity habits,” said Park. “Although in the popular imagination, acculturation is thought to be a positive factor for immigrants, in many arenas of health, acculturation has been shown to have a negative effect.”
Surely, we must be welcoming towards immigrants and encourage everyone to speak English. But there is no harm in learning foreign languages and eating healthier foods–it wouldn’t make us less American or threaten our sovereignty. After all, we are a nation of immigrants and adopting parts of other cultures into our own is ultimately very American.
In the study, researchers examined information on more than 13,000 New Yorkers from all five of the city’s boroughs, who voluntarily had their height and weight measured. The data, collected at community-based health centers and hospitals using this this body fat analyzer between January 2000 and December 2002, was used to calculate each person’s BMI.
For Hispanics, whether the neighborhood is largely English speaking or not is an important predictor of body size. The less English spoken in a neighborhood, the less weight gain occurs, according to researchers, whose findings appear in a recent issue of the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
“Simply put: the longer an immigrant lives in the U.S., the heavier that immigrant becomes. Scholars theorize this weight gain as due, in part, to acculturation the adoption of U.S. diet and physical activity habits,” said Park. “Although in the popular imagination, acculturation is thought to be a positive factor for immigrants, in many arenas of health, acculturation has been shown to have a negative effect.”
The new study supports earlier research that found that weight gain is most consistent and significant among Hispanic immigrants to the U.S., who face a particularly high risk of obesity and attendant health problems even when socioeconomic status is taken into consideration.
The link to the study can be found here. I wish journalists would clearly cite the actual source of study because oftentimes it takes a while to search and find it and only the most interested users bother to go to the source of information.
I can actually attest to this sparingly, since the study only seems to hold true among Hispanic immigrants and I am not. I gained about 40 pounds since I started residing in the United States without any changes to my height or level of physical activity. I have shed about 15 of those down to 115 in the past year after getting more health conscious, but the point is that Americans do consume foods with higher calories. And the more we “assimilate,” the more we tend to consume “American foods” on the go instead of ethnic, home-cooked meals which are generally and broadly-speaking, healthier. I don’t think the morale of the story is that we should hide out in our own ethnic enclaves–but that mirroring American consumerism and diet is the wrong way to go.
Supporters of cultural assimilation beware–Encouraging and pushing for assimilation i.e. “English-only” can be contradictory. According to the research of Tomás Jiménez, an assistant professor of sociology at UC San Diego:
That efforts by opponents of illegal immigration to stamp out the ethnic identity of immigrants and their descendents, and to emphasize assimilation, backfire… Nonimmigrant Mexican-Americans who were already largely assimilated feel a closer connection to their Mexican identity when they see it as under attack.
“People who feel the country is fractured by ethnicity may be doing more than anyone to harden ethnic identity,” he said.
The study holds up when compared to conflict theory. When a minority culture faces attack from the dominant culture, it resists or pushes back.
While we are on the topic of assimilation and “illegal immigration,” is it not strange that the biggest proponents of assimilation are also the ones that prevent avenues for immigrant assimilation–Studies show that being undocumented is a barrier to assimilating.
As Duke University economist Jacob Vigdor explained in The Washington Post: “If you’re in the country illegally, a lot of the avenues of assimilation are cut off to you. There are a lot of jobs you can’t get, and you can’t become a citizen.”
Therefore, if we want our immigrants to assimilate, should we not ensure that they have the necessary institutional support to do so? Otherwise, it is ridiculous to expect migrant workers to speak American-English.
One last note. Americans DO NOT speak English but a bastardized version of it. Over the past decade, my English has actually deteriorated. I used to be a spelling bee champion and nowadays I let the Firefox browser correct my spelling. Same goes for my grammar. It is not correct to say “Who are you going to the movies with?” but rather “With whom are you going to the cinema?” Besides the error of ending in prepositions, I use way more passive language than I used to — we used to be graded down for “passive usage.” Most Americans have no idea as to what that means! Anyway, I am no fan or supporter of any “pure language” theories so the deterioration of English does not bother me. What does bother me is this:
Lets learn to speak English first, eh?
Note: There is more where this comes from. Originally posted at ADreamDeferred.org by DreamActivist.
|William Gheen, the President of ALIPAC.us (not to be mistaken for ALIPAC.net) claims that his site is not a hate group and not anti-immigrant; they are in fact, pro-legal immigration and anti-(illegal)-immigration, and 1 out of 5 members belong to a minority ethnic group. He was incredibly upset by a Charlotte Observer article a few days ago that called him an immigrant-scapegoating bigot, after highlighting his rhetoric:
I decided to give him and ALIPAC.us the benefit of doubt and check out their discussion forum to see their discourse and what kind of actions they advocate against “illegal immigration.” The following is what I uncovered in a couple hours:
|DreamActivist :: ALIPAC stands for “Anti Latino Immigrants”|
|1. William Gheen stating that placing a bounty on the heads of “illegal aliens” is a humorous idea. Pintobean – “…So, put a bounty on the head of every single illegal alien in this nation, and let the red necks and their shotguns go to work…you can bet in a year this place would be DEVOID of illegal aliens, and the price tag WELL WORTH IT. “Humorous idea Pinto, but I don’t think the American public would be happy with a bounty driven illegal alien hunt. Besides, US citizens do not have the ability to determine legal status…W” See here 2. After defending himself against the Charlotte Observer article and proclaiming he is not a racist, Gheen adamantly stated in reference to a post about an upper-class Mexican-American community (most of whom are legal):
See here. It seems as if even legal immigration is colonization for Gheen and his ALIPACers if that migration is from Mexico (and other Latin countries). 3. William Gheen purported that due to expanding ethnic minority groups, the White race was facing extinction, a popular statement among neo-Nazi groups. See here. FYI – Hitler used this as one of his arguments against the Jews and it is a sentiment shared widely by neo-Nazi groups today such as StormFront, AryanUnity.org, Aryan-Nations.org Oh, it gets worse. We go from fear-mongering over the extinction of white people to hating ethnic celebrations like Cinco de Mayo. What does this have to be with being against “illegal immigration?” 4. Expressing hatred against ethnic minority celebrations like Cinco de Mayo. See here.
Uh-oh, we were right back to the extinction of white people due to a day of ethnic celebrations. The ignorance, cultural insensitivity and intolerance was shocking. Time to get out of here. 5. ALIPACers advocating segregated schools for children who speak Spanish and disparaging Latino leadership. I quickly took one last look through the forum for latest posts. It turns out that today (as in June 7), the ALIPACers were very upset about this news article “Services Sought for Growing Latino population.” Again, the news has no connection with “illegal immigration” or breaking the “rule of law” and yet, these were the comments who can see here:
They have issues with the teaching of Spanish in schools and some even purport returning to an era of school segregation. The discourse reflected on this page is not just anti-‘illegal’-immigration, it is directed against Latinos, bi-lingualism, diversity, and multi-culturalism.
With a preponderance of evidence gathered in just a few hours, it was crystal clear to me that ALIPAC is a hate-group ranging from subtle and disguised discourses of anti-Latino racism to outright neo-Nazi statements from their members and even the founder. Do you need more evidence?