E Pluribus Unum

The democratic case for bilingualism.

By Cristina M. Rodríguez

Tagged BilingualismMulticulturalism

The United States is in the midst of a demographic reordering, brought on by levels of immigration unprecedented in American history. The numbers are staggering: Between 1971 and 2000, nearly 20 million immigrants came to the United States legally–almost two million more people than entered between 1891 and 1920, the last major period of migration-fueled transformation. Of course, as a percentage of total U.S. population, immigrants today represent a smaller cohort than at the turn of the twentieth century, but the acceleration of migration in recent years has been dramatic nevertheless. Between 2000 and 2005, approximately 7.9 million immigrants arrived; the largest number in any single five-year period in American history. By 2002, more than 20 percent of the population of the United States consisted of immigrants or their children. Add to these totals the nearly 12 million unauthorized immigrants estimated to be present, and it’s no wonder that the immigration debate has roiled the country.

As the number of immigrants entering the United States has reached
historic highs, a variety of familiar anti-immigration arguments have
surfaced in the public debate: National security is at risk, public
safety is being undermined, and American workers are losing their jobs.
But the trope most often invoked–across historical periods and the
political spectrum–is of immigration as a cultural threat. In this
view, demographic trends threaten to dilute the common national culture
that sustains the unity essential to our self-government. A nation in
which salsa replaces ketchup as the nation’s favorite condiment, and in
which public parks are filled with pick-up soccer games as opposed to
basketball or baseball, is a nation changed. More than that, some fear,
it is a fractured nation in which democracy becomes increasingly
difficult to sustain.

Throughout American history, the cultural bogeyman has taken various
forms. It has been defined by race, as with the Chinese, who were
subjected to draconian exclusion laws in the late nineteenth century
and declared inherently inassimilable by Justice John Marshall Harlan,
just as he was condemning racial segregation in his famous Plessy v. Ferguson
dissent. It has been given religious form, with warning bells sounded
about criminal Italian Catholics and venal Eastern European Jews–the
two groups that dominated the last period of large-scale immigration.
And the arrival of new ethnic groups has been linked by opponents to
grave political and national security threats, leading to the swift
disappearance, in the wake of World War I and Theodore Roosevelt’s
Americanization campaigns, of formerly robust German-language schools,
newspapers, and clubs, and the deportation of many Eastern European
“radicals” to Russia during the same period, for fear of their

Today, these prejudices seem almost quaint. Chinese-, Italian-,
German- and Jewish-Americans have achieved success at all levels of
American society. Racial and religious pluralism, in particular, are
widely accepted as fixed (though often anxiety-producing) features of
American society; relatively few claim our survival as a nation depends
on racial or religious uniformity. But the impulse toward homogeneity
and the suspicion of foreigners have not disappeared, they have just
taken another form. At least as they are expressed in polite company,
these tendencies are most often articulated in linguistic terms. Public
figures, opinion writers, and lawmakers at all levels venerate the
English language as the glue that provides cohesion in an otherwise
impossibly diverse immigrant society–what makes e pluribus unum possible.

Consider the English-only ordinances that have been passed by a
number of states and municipalities in the last year. They declare
English to be our common language and emphasize that universal use of
English “removes barriers of misunderstanding” and “helps to enable the
full economic and civic participation” of all citizens, justifying
government efforts “promoting, preserving, and strengthening” the
English language. During last year’s Senate debate over whether to
adopt a national language, James Inhofe of Oklahoma worried that by
taking in “great numbers of immigrants,” we are “overwhelming the
assimilation process and creating ” linguistic ghettoes.” Lamar
Alexander of Tennessee declared that nothing could be more important
when debating immigration reform than “talking about our common
language,” which enables us to “take our magnificent diversity and make
it even more magnificent.” And despite his skepticism of the
Republican-sponsored bill, Ken Salazar of Colorado, one of only two
Latinos serving in the upper chamber, offered his own amendment,
supported by large numbers of Democrats, declaring that “English is the
common and unifying language of the United States that helps provide
unity for the people of the United States.”

Though the bulk of today’s immigrants come from multilingual corners
of Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean, the language that motivates
policymakers’ concerns is Spanish–a language simultaneously associated
with immigration-fueled transformation and an old history of manifest
destiny, imperial adventure, and civil rights struggles. Indeed, as
commentators have observed, the Spanish language is to the United
States today what the Islamic veil is to Western Europe–the potent
symbol around which the assimilation debate turns. In both societies,
the symbol is described as an impediment to mutual understanding, and
in both societies, the symbol’s prevalence, whether real or perceived,
challenges the cultural security of the general population.

This perception of a new cultural threat in the United States is
compounded by the fact that immigrants are increasingly settling not
just in border states or big cities but throughout the South and
Midwest. In towns across the country, residents are interacting with
Latin American immigrants for the very first time. Communities
unaccustomed to incorporating immigrants now hear foreign languages in
public spaces, see Spanish signs on storefronts, and grapple with the
challenge of a sizable non-English-speaking student body in the public

This new challenge is one of the factors that has prompted state
legislatures and local governments in the last few years to debate and
adopt a slew of measures designed to control immigrants and those with
whom immigrants associate. Most of the “illegal immigration relief”
acts passed by cities and towns, as well as most laws passed by states,
explicitly address illegal immigration. But it would be na‘ve to assume
that the problem of illegality is the only force driving this
phenomenon. Many immigration-control measures have been accompanied by
official declarations that limit the government’s authority to operate
in languages other than English–measures that affect U.S. citizens,
legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants alike. In some corners, the
defense of English has been taken to extremes. In one Georgia town, for
example, a local minister was prosecuted in 1999 under an English-only
sign ordinance for advertising his church services to the community in
Spanish. A Chicago public school gained notoriety last December for
requiring students to sign a pledge vowing not to speak Spanish while
on school grounds. And in Tennessee in 2005, a child-court judge made
headlines for ordering a Spanish-speaking mother involved in neglect
and custody disputes to take English classes or risk losing her

But this fixation on language as the marker of assimilation and the
source of unity, while understandable, is misplaced. The fact that
immigrants speak their mother tongues does not mean that they are not
integrating in profound ways; that immigrants aren’t contributing to the
economy, investing in their neighborhoods, or becoming involved in
politics. On the flip side, complete linguistic assimilation does not
necessarily indicate that immigrants have become meaningfully
integrated: Consider the linguistically assimilated but otherwise
disaffected second generation of Muslim immigrants in Europe.

In fact, the drive toward linguistic homogeneity makes the
absorption of immigrants more difficult and saps American democracy of
vitality. Bilingual individuals, institutions with multilingual
capacity, and even a self-conception as an English-dominant but
linguistically diverse nation are indispensable to a successful,
self-governing American polity, particularly in an increasingly
interdependent world. Though it may seem counterintuitive, bilingualism
promotes the integration of immigrants and ethnic minorities, enables
effective citizen participation, and strengthens our democracy and
nation. In other words, we should be promoting bilingualism, not
fighting it.

American Immigration: Three Schools of Thought

Currently, almost no one argues the democratic case for
bilingualism. Instead, three schools of thought dominate the debate:
conservative or “thick” assimilationism, multiculturalism, and liberal
assimilationism. With political scientist Samuel Huntington as their
academic standard-bearer, conservative assimilationists like George
Will and Newt Gingrich, who have called for an end to bilingual
ballots, and the likes of Senators Inhofe and Alexander, who along with
Lindsay Graham of South Carolina co-sponsored the national language
bill, warn that today’s immigrants, particularly those from Latin
America, resist learning English. This resistance demonstrates an
unwillingness to participate in American life and threatens the
perpetuation of important public values. As Huntington put it, “[t]here
is no Americano dream. There is only the American dream created by an
Anglo-Protestant society. Mexican Americans will share in that dream
and in that society only if they dream in English.” To conservative
assimilationists, public services translated into languages other than
English seem like a costly crutch; bilingual ballots appear to threaten
a political community that depends on mutual understanding; and
bilingual education looks destined to create ethnic ghettoes.

On the other hand, multiculturalists weigh in by contesting the
notion of assimilation altogether. As Nathan Glazer has explained in
his work on multiculturalism, the “melting pot” has lost its universal
appeal in multicultural circles, because the idea of assimilation
“suggests forced conformity,” stands “opposed to the reality of
individual and group difference,” and fails to recognize and celebrate
those differences. Because of its association with historical practices
of coercion and domination, the rhetoric of assimilation is
presumptively suspect to the multiculturalist.

Finally, liberal assimilationists, who have responded to Huntington in the pages of the American Prospect and the New York Review of Books,
adopt a posture of empirically supported avoidance, diffusing the
conservative critique by emphasizing that Latin American immigrants are
assimilating according to the standard “three-generation” pattern.
Virtually no one in the so-called third generation, the rebuttal goes,
speaks the language of his or her grandparents. Liberal
assimilationists draw support from the latest sociological research,
such as a recent study in which social scientists Rubén Rumbaut,
Douglas Massey, and Frank Bean describe the United States as a
“graveyard for languages” and document that Spanish-language usage
readily disappears across generations, even in areas of Latino

Each of these positions contains important insights. Conservative
assimilationists are correct in observing that the English language
runs as a unifying thread through a deeply diverse population, and
immigrant advancement does depend heavily on knowledge of English. But,
as the liberal assimilationists point out, this insight is hardly lost
on immigrants themselves, who fill waiting lists for oversubscribed
English-as-a-second-language classes. And the core of the
multiculturalists’ position remains compelling–ethnic subcultures not
only give the life of the individual added meaning, but they also
create cohesive local communities and represent influential and
valuable dimensions of American history and culture. But, while
advocates for these three schools of thought often find themselves at
odds, these positions can in fact be bridged if we leave the Ivory
Tower and see how the language issue actually plays out on the ground.

The New Multilingual Reality

Whether lawmakers succeed in passing comprehensive immigration
reform, we can expect continued large-scale migration, particularly
from Latin America and Asia. As sociologists Mary Waters and Tom&‌aacute;s
Jiménez have shown, one of the novelties of the current wave of
immigration is the way in which ongoing flows of migration will
replenish immigrant communities for the foreseeable future. This
replenishment means that linguistic diversity will remain a demographic
reality, even as the children and grandchildren of immigrants become
native and exclusive English-speakers. Thus, based on the 2000 census,
we can project that the majority of people in the United States, by
2044, will speak a language other than English. And some researchers
speculate that English-Spanish bilingualism may persist more strongly
in the third generation than in the past, in part because of the
replenishment Waters and Jiménez document, and in part because
geographic proximity and technological advancements make connections
with Latin America relatively easy to sustain. America’s linguistic
profile, therefore, will continue to consist of a “mutability
continuum,” or of complex speech communities made up of
non-English-speakers, individuals in the process of learning English,
bilinguals, and monolingual English-speakers with connections of
varying intensity to their fellow ethnics. No amount of rhetoric about
the importance of linguistic commonality will dislodge the reality that
the non-English-speaking immigrant and his bilingual descendants will
continue to be significant parts of American society.

To the conservative assimilationist, this linguistic diversity means
that we are in danger of being unable to communicate with one another.
But that assumes that civic engagement involves one simultaneous
national conversation–with knowledge of English as the prerequisite for
joining. But our public conversations are far more varied than this
model admits. Public dialogue consists of innumerable conversations in
multiple media and in any number of languages. In fact, genuine
dialogue depends on this variety of conversations. Only a small number
of voices actually can be heard and then expressed by the national
media. Subsidiary media, such as the local and ethnic press and the
blogosphere, which inevitably target particular social groups, arise to
give voice to the rest of us. In a country that will continue to be
linguistically diverse, no matter how long or high a wall we build
along our borders, multilingual dialogue will continue to be essential
to national debate. Conservatives may not like it, but it’s the reality
we face.

The immigration reform debate that culminated in nationwide
demonstrations in May 2006 provides a case in point. It was as close to
a national debate as one could imagine, but it had a wide variety of
focal points–from President George Bush’s first major speech on the
subject in 2004 to the machinations on Capitol Hill, the public
discourse filtered through mainstream media, debates in local
communities covered by local press, and the organizing efforts within
immigrant communities. For a truly national conversation on the
important matter of immigration reform to have occurred, all of these
stakeholders, including immigrants themselves, had to be involved. The
only way universal participation in this debate could be ensured was
through the mobilization of multilingual resources in the form of the
English- and Spanish-language media, bilingual organizers, and members
of the general public and the political classes capable of
understanding the multiple strands of the dialogue.

To be sure, there are those who lament the growing influence of the
Spanish-language media and bemoan its growth as a sign of an
increasingly fractured body politic. But given today’s demographic
realities, it simply cannot be any different. An immigrant’s inability
to speak English is not a sign of refusal to learn, but rather a sign
that the process of learning a new language, not to mention becoming
capable of expressing complex ideas with ease in a new language, takes
time. If we want immigrants to be a part of American society, we need
to embrace these non-English media outlets, not condemn them.

After all, contrary to the assimilationists’ lament, the growth of
the Spanish-language media has not isolated Spanish-speakers. According
to a 2004 study by the Pew Hispanic Center, only 6 percent of likely
voters in the Hispanic population access all of their news in Spanish;
53 percent access news only in English, and 44 percent rely on media in
both languages. In the Latino population as a whole, at least 60
percent of the foreign-born consume news in English, a practice that
grows in regularity the more time one spends in the United States.
Rather than isolating Latinos, then, the Spanish-language media expand
their horizons by creating new opportunities for information-gathering
for bilinguals and by enabling those who have not yet become proficient
in English to take part in debates of public concern. And, as the study
documents, by presenting more extensive coverage of events outside the
United States, and by generally portraying Latinos in a more favorable
light than the English-language media, the Spanish-language media
provide a crucial and distinct perspective–an inherently valuable
contribution to a society that values freedom of thought and progress
through the exchange of diverse ideas.

Bilingualism and Decentralization

Of course, the type of wide-ranging national debate embodied by the
immigration marches is rare. More often, pressing issues are debated at
the local and regional level, reflecting the decentralization of our
federal system and geography. Therefore, the rules of the political
game, including the linguistic rules, can and should be tailored to fit
the varied characteristics of the population. For instance, a municipal
ordinance requiring the translation of certain essential services into
six languages is both necessary and possible in New York City, where
multiple language groups make up the body politic, but less necessary
in a smaller and more homogeneous city in the same state, such as
Binghamton. The staging of a Spanish-language debate in Texas during
the 2002 democratic gubernatorial primaries resonated with a
politically significant segment of the population, not because these
voters lacked the capacity to understand an English-language debate,
but because it signaled the important status of Mexican Americans in
the political community, thus enhancing their connection to and
participation in politics. And in New Mexico, a state with a deep
Spanish-English bilingual tradition, it made sense for the state
supreme court to interpret its constitution to require the
accommodation of citizens who speak neither Spanish nor English, so
that they too could participate in community governance by serving on a

Beyond the federal structure of the United States, which allows for
a degree of regional variation, there are other decentralized aspects
of participation worth considering. To strengthen participation, we
must also focus on decentralized institutions, or the places where most
of our public engagement unfolds, such as the workplace, public
schools, local social institutions, and neighborhoods. These are the
spheres in which we spend most of our waking hours and develop our
vocabulary and capacities for public engagement. Meaningful
participation in these mid-level institutions depends on forms of
engagement with deep roots in the characteristics of the community,
rather than forms of interaction modeled on a perfectionist image of
the national body politic.

What effect does bilingualism have in these venues? For one, when
public institutions can deliver translated or interpreted services,
they make themselves comprehensible and useful to non-English-speakers, thus engendering
confidence in the government and its officials. Law-enforcement
authorities with multilingual capacities, for example, are better
positioned to build trust in the immigrant communities than officials
unable to communicate in other languages. Public schools with
multilingual resources at their disposal are better positioned to
educate non-English-speaking students and involve their parents in the
educational enterprise, thus facilitating the integration of students
and parents alike. Hospitals and government agencies with the capacity
to communicate with non-English-speaking communities not only perform
their functions more effectively, but they also increase the
willingness of immigrants to engage public institutions. A given
institution’s ability to develop this communicative capacity may be
limited by budgetary constraints, and the commitment to providing
translation and interpretation may not make sense until a language
group passes a numerical threshold. But, as a general matter, we should
regard public investment in language services as an essential mechanism
of immigrant integration, not as costly insulation of immigrants from
the demands of assimilation. As Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has
put it, “[I]s it not in the interests of all Americans to have every
member of our society as well-informed on matters of health, safety,
and our democracy as possible?”

In a similar vein, multilingual networks can help promote democratic
habits among non-English-speakers. Again, last spring’s immigration
marches present a case in point. Spanish-language media networks made
the organization and coordination of those demonstrations possible,
turning workers into social actors willing to unite with others around
common economic and social interests. These acts of collaboration
depended on the existence of multilingual institutions, and they are
precisely the forms of concerted action that make for a better
citizenry. Rather than serving as crutches, multilingual resources
enabled an engagement with the public sphere that otherwise would have
been difficult to secure, given the inscrutability of an English-only
world to a non-English-speaker.

But bilingualism is not just a boon for the non-English-speaking
immigrant. It also advantages the bilingual individual herself, as well
as society at large, particularly in the context of the globalized
workplace. Indeed, bilingual capacity helps companies access foreign
markets, and those with language skills are in demand. Because of the
globalization of markets and the explosion of immigration from Latin
America and Asia, many employers in large cities and on the coasts have
increasingly come to value bilingualism in their employees. Yet even as
human resource journals document–and even celebrate–this trend, many
employers also continue to adopt English-only rules, often to protect
the interests of monolingual English speakers, who report feeling
harassed or isolated when their co-workers speak languages other than
English. Such language restrictions ultimately interfere with important
forms of social bonding in the workplace. They make it more difficult
for bilingual employees to communicate with and thus integrate
non-English-speaking workers, and they constrain the terms on which
bilingual employees develop relationships with fellow workers. Given
that most English-only rules appear in the consumer-services sector,
the rules also distance important public spaces from the communities in
which they are located. And, perhaps most important, English-only rules
insulate customers and workers from demographic changes in their
environment–changes to which people must learn to adapt to ensure
long-term peaceful co-existence in a society of immigration.

The Need for Bilingual Bridges

It is important to recognize the distinction between a multilingual
society in which different groups speak different languages and one in
which multiple people are bilingual, a distinction often lost on
advocates of the assimilation-or-bust approach. Bilinguals possess a
crucial capacity to be interlocutors with and organizers of
non-English-speaking individuals and are an important resource in a
society of immigrants. As Justice Anthony Kennedy recognized in Hernandez v. New York, a Supreme Court case involving bilingual jurors, “[l]anguage permits an individual to express both personal identity and membership in a community “Bilinguals, in a sense, inhabit two communities, and serve to bring them closer.”

As we face a future of continued immigration from
non-English-speaking nations, bilingual individuals will become
increasingly important to the processes of immigrant integration.
Bilinguals can serve not only as practical guides through the ins and
outs of everyday American life but also as bridges between new
immigrants and broader American society. Given our demographic
realities, the United States should be committed to developing these
human resources.

This commitment will require active investment in the development of
the country’s bilingual capacities. And that inevitably brings us, at
last, to the hot-button issue of bilingual education. Over the past
several years, the debate surrounding bilingual education has revolved
around whether English-language-learners (ELLs) learn English more
effectively through bilingual education or English-immersion courses.
This concern is understandable. The public schools, particularly in
areas with many immigrants, are overwhelmed by non-English-speaking
students who require English-language ability to perform well on
state-mandated standardized tests, let alone graduate. But as educators
and policymakers focus single-mindedly on the best way to teach
English, they are squandering a significant opportunity by giving scant
consideration to native-language retention. In effect, the
English-at-all-costs mentality precludes us from building these
bilingual bridges.

Approaching ELLs as potential bridges would not mean pigeonholing
them as the bilingual education teachers and government interpreters of
tomorrow. Rather, properly valuing their native language capacities
would have long-term participatory benefits for both the individual
student and society. Those benefits include expanding the individual’s
social and economic opportunities through the development of
multilingual capacities, as well as strengthening the families and
communities integral to socialization. Children’s loss of their
capacity to speak a home language has dramatic implications for family
relations, as well as for their ability to socialize in the worlds in
which they live and find essential family support. For immigrant
children to be truly effective participants in the societies around
them, they need to develop the ability to navigate the variety of
communities and institutions that comprise their American society.
Given that this enhanced socialization is likely to benefit society at
large, as well, our educational and social policies should aim to
foster it.

To do so, we first should reverse, through the political process,
referenda such as those passed in Arizona, California, and
Massachusetts that prohibit the use of native languages in the
instruction of ELLs. Such bans prevent state and local policymakers, in
cooperation with parents, from acting on the evidence that properly
resourced bilingual-education programs produce the best long-term
results, not only with respect to language acquisition, but also with
respect to other forms of cognitive development. In fact, education
researchers Wayne Thomas and Virginia Collier concluded in a 1997 study
that well-designed and long-term bilingual programs best promote the
“cognitive and academic development necessary” for academic success in
the long run. In a 2003 study, they also found that bilingually
schooled students, over time, outperform comparably monolingually
schooled students, even though the latter initially perform better when
tested in English. They further concluded that native English-speakers
educated in two-way bilingual immersion programs equaled or
outperformed their monolingually educated peers along all measures.
Yet, for ideological reasons, native-language bans preclude any
experimentation with bilingual-education methods that could boost
student performance.

Second, we need to develop programs that facilitate ELLs’
native-language retention without keeping them segregated from the
larger student population or damaging their ability to learn English.
Perhaps the best way of accomplishing this objective would be to adopt
two-way bilingual instruction as an option for all students, following
the lead of school districts like Florida’s Miami-Dade County. With the
assistance of a federal grant, Miami-Dade has implemented a program
that includes a curriculum exposing students to two languages in a 60
percent English/40 percent “other-language” format. Such programs not
only ensure that the development of bilingualism takes place in the
context of “mainstream” settings; they also help develop in the native
English-speaking population a capacity and incentive to engage
non-English-speaking communities and cultures–an engagement
indispensable to mutual understanding in a multiethnic society and a
globalized world.

Progress Through Heterogeneity

Rethinking language education–much less the linguistic identity of
the United States–won’t be easy. Despite the clear benefits of
developing multilingual resources, segments of the American population
always have resisted linguistic heterogeneity. In the 1890s, for
example, the Nation recommended that only English-speaking
immigrants be admitted to the United States, in order to preserve the
country’s linguistic commonality. During World War I, the teaching of
German was suppressed by many states and localities, on the theory that
teaching children languages other than English inculcated them with
anti-American values. And there is a long history of punishing kids for
speaking Spanish in the schoolyard, particularly in the Southwest.

As with the immigrant who turns to a community of co-ethnics for
support, this preservationist impulse among the English-speaking
majority sometimes reflects genuine anxieties about a changing
environment. The English-only ordinances that have appeared in the last
year underscore these fears. Absurd as it is to believe that
English-speakers require special protection, these ordinances call for
defending the rights of those who speak only English, giving voice to
the worry that growing multilingualism could translate into forms of
disadvantage for the monolingual English speaker–that job opportunities
might hinge on the ability to speak Spanish or that going about one’s
daily business might be complicated by having to interact with people
who do not speak English.

But why not treat this anxiety the way we would handle other shifts
that have resulted from the emergence of the information economy and
globalization? Instead of retrenching into an old world that cannot be
recaptured, we should focus on providing people with the incentives and
resources for adaptation, which in this case would mean giving all
Americans the tools to operate in a bilingual world. Ironically, the
English-dominant majority’s resistance to change and the creation of
obstacles to the development of bilingualism ultimately repeat the
multiculturalists’ chief mistake: resisting the assimilation that
demographic change inevitably demands of us.

In the end, we should regard confronting differences as essential to
self and mutual understanding. Politics is not just about finding
points of commonality and proceeding from them. It is also about
challenging one another with our differences. The end result will be a
society transformed, but that society will in fact be more coherent for
having faced the differences in the population directly rather than
having tried to suppress them with rules that posit a uniformity that
does not exist.

Controversies over immigrant assimilation put me in mind of my late
Cuban grandfather, who came to the United States as an adult in 1965.
He embraced his new home, proudly wearing the cowboy hat of his adopted
state of Texas and quickly learning sufficient English to run his own
medical practice with my grandmother. Like many grandfathers, he spent
his free time making aphoristic pronouncements to his grandchildren.
Among his advice was his belief that el que sabe m&‌aacute;s, vale m&‌aacute;s:
He who knows more, has more value. It was his way of encouraging me, my
sisters, and my cousins to maintain the native Spanish-speaking ability
we had been given by our parents and grandparents, even as we grew up
English-dominant Americans.

If, as a country, we took to heart my grandfather’s insight, we
might just diffuse the charged terms of the language debate. We would
worry less that linguistic diversity signals immigrants’ failure to
assimilate and be confident instead in immigrants’ strong desire to
learn English and improve their lives. But we also would acknowledge
the real benefits that bilingualism brings and put it to work uniting
our diverse people into a strong America democracy.

Read more about BilingualismMulticulturalism

Cristina M. Rodríguez is the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law, Yale Law School and co-author of The President and Immigration Law (Oxford 2020).

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