Texas State Senator, Chris Harris, Arlington
Antolin Aguirre of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, was giving testimony on an illegal immigration bill. For the testimony Mr. Aguirre was using a Spanish interpreter.
This is a question that needs to be asked more often. We spend millions upon millions (billions?) each year in the US providing interpreters for people who refuse to speak English.
This is a shift from the past. At one time in our society it was assumed that if a person moved to the US they would take an English class and learn to speak the language of the US, English.
I very much doubt that English interpreters are as prevalent in Mexico or most other Spanish speaking countries. I find it highly unlikely that government offices, health care facilities, and retailers in these countries provide a staff of English speaking interpreters free of charge.
I see this first hand in the hospital I work at. I work at an inner city ER in a Catholic hospital in a city with a sizable Hispanic population. We get a high percentage of Hispanics.
I mostly enjoy our Hispanic patients. They are more often than not good, hard-working people. They have a strong family culture and take very good care of their children. They generally tend to be polite and grateful for the care we provide.
I have no numbers but we have to spend a million dollars or more a year on interpretation services. This is not a service that can be billed to the patient or their insurance. It is a service that comes directly out of my paycheck or is taken away from purchasing equipment for us to use for our patients.
I do want to make clear that I often see interpretation as an important service. Health care is important and we have to make decisions that can often literally be life or death. As a strong patient advocate, I want a patient to understand what we are saying so they can make an informed decision.
With that said, I get incredibly frustrated with people that I know are in the country for years and are refusing to become proficient in English. At what point do we stop providing this service?
Many on the left are going to attack Senator Harris as a racist.
His question though is one that is overdue. If someone has been in the United States for 23 years, why aren't they speaking English?