English-only bill: There are better ways to help immigrants

I am gratified that the chairman of the Official English movement and proponent of the Anne Arundel County English only bill is not motivated by the same hostility against immigrants that I have seen enacted in Arizona and Alabama and even in some of the xenophobic capers among the Frederick, Carroll and Baltimore County commissioners and council members ("English is the language of success in America," Feb. 12).

Instead, an English-only bill is touted as the quickest way to help immigrants succeed. If that is the case why aren't the same good intentions a ringing endorsement of the Maryland Dream Act? Why wait and hope to see if any of these shiftless immigrants will wise up and learn English in Anne Arundel County out of brute necessity when the students who could benefit from the Dream Act have already demonstrated enough English proficiency and good conduct (i.e. paying taxes and applying for citizenship) in order to justify receiving a modest college tuition break?

There is no question that learning English leads to a life of better higher paying jobs. So why not reward those that are much closer to attaining that goal by already having a track record of thriving in academia? If the goal here is to help immigrants succeed, then the Maryland Dream Act is the way to go. Making Anne Arundel County immune from all other languages besides English is, as this newspaper has already correctly indicated, an empty gesture aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the most bigoted and ethnocentric.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

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