Immigration has long been a controversial issue in U.S. politics, yet the polarization of viewpoints on this issue has increased over the summer due to comments made by the Republican Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal.
Such statements Jindal has made include “immigration without assimilation is an invasion” and “we’re not Indian-Americans or African-Americans or Asian-Americans. We’re all Americans.”
To further state his point, Jindal proposes that every immigrant coming to America should learn English, adopt “American values,” and start the daily grind of finding a job and working hard. Marina Fang of the Huffington Post writes that “many experts and scholars of immigration say his views are from a bygone era.”
“Today’s self-described ‘progressives’ tend to regard the old ideal of patriotic assimilation as a form of cultural suppression. Instead of celebrating a common American culture, they pursue ‘diversity,’ and elevate racial, sexual, and ethnic identities over national identity,” says Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe.
Perhaps Jindal was not as tactful as he should have been; however, he did speak from the heart, and he has presented a viewpoint worth considering. As antiquated as Jindal’s views are, I believe they are the best course of action for the cultural integrity of America.
That being said, America has always had an exceedingly culturally fluid nation, being aptly termed a “melting pot” because of our many cultures, ethnicities, religions, and political views.
Therefore, I believe that the best course of action in this area is one in which immigrants learn the common language—English—and adopt American culture and values as their own.
Yet, we would be entirely foolish to divest them of their heritage. Assimilation needs to happen for Americans to retain some sense of oneness, but learning from other cultures is a part of who we are, and immigrants need to be able to teach us in a safe environment.