Regarding the June 11 news article “Plan is called biased, anti-immigrant”:
As a teacher of English as a second language for the past 11 years, I was struck by the arrogance of the rationalizations for denying federal benefits to disabled older citizens if they can’t learn English. The Heritage Foundation fellow who said the current rule “underestimates immigrants’ ability to learn English,” as the article put it, should spend a few terms teaching older English learners.
Many factors influence how quickly people learn English. Older students can improve, of course, but it’s hard for many to achieve the fluency needed to learn a new field and hold a job.
The notion that the current rules are outdated because the nation is increasingly multilingual is almost laughable. Granted, there are jobs for non-English speakers, but the majority of those jobs require some kind of physical labor. Maybe if you are a Spanish speaker in Puerto Rico you can find a desk job without learning English, but if your first language happens to be Urdu, Farsi or Amharic, good luck finding work.
I can’t believe we have become a nation that will not only deny English lessons and soccer to detained children at the border, but will also cut off older citizens if they can’t learn enough English to start a new career after they have become disabled.
Megan Durham, Reston