An aspect of immigration that irritates me, be it legal or illegal, is when do-gooders bring up the old “Give Me Your Poor” Statue of Liberty quote and the fact that except for the Native Americans we are all descended of immigrants. Up until fairly recent times immigrants were expected to support themselves and assimilate. That is not the current expectation. There is no comparison to how it works today in a world of govt entitlements. It is apples and oranges.
On yesterday’s news there was a feel good story about refugee kids (focused on a specific mother & her 4 kids from Burundi) being taught English in the Burlington, VT schools. This exchange says it all:
Reporter Eva McKend: Is there ever a concern that when you are teaching these young people English that at the same time you aren’t contributing to an erasure of their culture and their language and all that they stand to contribute to Vermont?
Miriam Ehtesham-Cating/ELL Director: Language and culture and identity are all woven in together, and so we never want to suggest explicitly or even implicitly that the best path to English is to eliminate the other language or the best path to becoming culturally competent and comfortable in American society is to remove or decrease your connection with your original culture.
The multilingual liaisons like Alina Mukiza aid in that cultural preservation.
I’m sorry but there is nothing about the culture in Burundi that can be deemed a contribution to Vermont. Meanwhile given the nature of how schools are funded in VT, I am left wondering if my property taxes are higher so as to provide programs in Burlington that implicitly include in their objectives these kids not fully assimilating. It’s bad enough if they don’t fully drop their Burundi culture but even worse if I have to pay for it.