Birthright citizenship

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by russmuller, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    Yeah, we have a citizenship test in Australia. Only 1.1% of applicants fail the test, which only comes in English (I'm pretty sure) and if you fail it three times, you're out. So, it's not exactly an effective social sieve.

    It's also tricky to define 'proficiency'. Realistically, we've probably all met people that wouldn't pass an English proficiency test who were born in English-speaking countries and don't speak another language. Being incapable of speaking or writing a language shouldn't exclude one from participating in society, which is why we don't exclude deaf/mute people, or those whose mental health prevent them from communicating effectively.

    Realistically, this is as much about culture as it is language.
     
  2. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    While I think that "Enqlish as a requirement" is ideal for mainstream society, I have some friends who's grandparents still only speak their own language like Navajo, Lakota & Cherokee and have rarely left the reservation but perhaps only for visiting other relatives. Taking that into consideration, English as a required language is a hard sell for some of the more traditional groups of our people.
     
  3. celticelk

    celticelk Enflamed with prayer

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    I find this amusing if only because it's a big-government solution that would immediately be taken up by politicians who otherwise loudly beat the "free market rules!" drum.
     
  4. troyguitar

    troyguitar SS.org Regular

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    Proficiency has already been defined, there's a standard exam already used by many (most?) universities in the country.

    TOEFL: Home
     
  5. Rus

    Rus SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, why won't they pay to have themselves replaced? Racists.
     
  6. tacotiklah

    tacotiklah I am Denko (´・ω・`)

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    Ignoring the fact that doing this would basically be antithetical to the cultural diversity of the US that has been in place since prior to its founding, I can see this causing many native born US citizens getting deported thanks to our failing education system. Also, with the way a lot of these "citizenship" tests are put together, the majority of US citizens themselves cannot even pass it.

    Though with the current political climate going on here, my being deported to Canada might not be such a bad thing. :lol:
     
  7. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Old people are always going to eventually be replaced. It's called the circle of life. :lol:
     
  8. tacotiklah

    tacotiklah I am Denko (´・ω・`)

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    Or circle of death, depending on your outlook of life. :lol:
     
  9. celticelk

    celticelk Enflamed with prayer

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    The TOEFL is geared to the needs of university students; it's probably too rigorous to use as a general-citizenry test. I would bet that there are native English speakers on this board that would have difficulty scoring a passable grade on the TOEFL.
     
  10. asher

    asher So Did We

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    "Progress advances one funeral at a time."
     
  11. troyguitar

    troyguitar SS.org Regular

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    So what's your better solution?

    I think it's just fine to have stricter standards for immigrants. Look at Australia, they seem to do OK with it (having stricter standards in general, their English requirements in particular are not strict).

    It's not like we're in dire need of more immigrants - what's the harm in having higher standards?
     
  12. asher

    asher So Did We

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    It's not like we're in dire need of fewer immigrants - what's the harm in having higher acceptance?

    If there are two equally valid statements, always choose the option motivated by compassion for other people.
     
  13. troyguitar

    troyguitar SS.org Regular

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    We have tons of segregation already, allowing more people in who can't even speak the language just makes it worse. That's one of the ways we are harming ourselves.

    Do we want to be a melting pot or a bunch of different communities that don't mix?
     
  14. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    We're really not 'doing ok with it'. Apart from the fact that our stance on border protection has led us to committing human rights abuses at our offshore detention centres (particularly on Nauru, and in our plan to send refugees to Cambodia of all places), it's kind of hard to claim that our 'higher standards' actually lead to a more integrated society.

    The problem with testing is that most languages have two technically distinct sets of rules: written and spoken. Being able to read and write a language is not the same as being able to speak it, and as the TOEFL websites shows on their 'sample test' page, it's a written test. I'm an English teacher. I've taught students from China that write better essays than half the class combined, but couldn't respond to any questions I asked them because they didn't have a clue what I was saying. Hell, I tested pretty well on Indonesian when I was a high school student myself, but I've never been able to speak more than a broken sentence about how cute a dog is. Look up some basic info on linguistics; written language and spoken language are treated quite differently (or ask GMTim - pretty sure he knows this stuff way better than I do).

    Furthermore, if I were a betting man, I'd bet that every person that has contributed to this conversation has at some point in their life 'crammed for a test' and then forgotten most of what they were trying to learn. I got a decent mark in Business Management in my final year of high school. I've since sat in on a couple of Business Management classes to fill in for teachers when they're away, and I have yet to stumble upon anything that I even remotely remember from that class. I passed it by learning what I needed to know for each and every assignment, and then immediately forgetting it because I kind of disliked that class. There's nothing stopping anyone with internet access from using Duolingo (or whatever site) to get the basics down, pass a language test, get into a country, and immediately stop practicing the language.

    Last point. The US, like many Western nations, has an aging population. You're not actually replenishing your workforce in skilled industries at the rate that baby boomers are retiring from them, and in opposition to the common theory that immigrants take all the low-skill jobs, there's a decent amount of evidence that they're replenishing a lot of high-skill jobs that Americans aren't choosing for their careers. The American economy relies on immigration.
     
  15. troyguitar

    troyguitar SS.org Regular

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    OK I'm a moron who is wrong about everything...

    What is the solution?

    It's easy to pick at the thoughts of others, please share your thoughts since you know so much more than the rest of us about this. Why aren't you in charge? What should we do?
     
  16. flint757

    flint757 SS.org Regular

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    Chill man. Just because people aren't agreeing with you doesn't mean they're calling you an idiot.

    A solution doesn't have to exist for there to be evidence saying something else doesn't work, or rather might not work.

    Your sarcasm is just unnecessary...
     
  17. troyguitar

    troyguitar SS.org Regular

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    Are you saying that a solution does not exist?

    Is the current situation the best we can do?
     
  18. asher

    asher So Did We

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    It's pretty clear exactly what he's saying...
     
  19. JSanta

    JSanta SS.org Regular

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    I am not sure how many of the people here have parents (or relatives) but both my my parents immigrated from the former Yugoslavia, legally. My dad, after 36 years finally became a citizen (not relevant to this conversation, I am just extremely proud).

    I don't have an answer to fixing our immigration problem; I don't particularly care for illegal immigration either because of how hard it was for my parents to come here. But the answer is not kicking everyone out or completely shutting our borders. Part of the problem is the complete bureaucratic nightmare anyone has trying to get a visa in this country. I think our leadership could do a lot to make a legal path easier, and not turn a blind eye to the refugee crisis Europe is currently taking the brunt of. As a nation we are better because of the vast array of individuals that bring their culture here.

    In my parents case, learning English was a must because Hungarian and Serbian really aren't common outside of those respective areas, and I agree being able to function linguistically even at a basic level is important.

    Having a family of all immigrants, I know what they all want. The opportunity to be productive and part of a country that protects them. I understand the initial concept of this thread was birthright citizenship, but the problem is not "anchor babies."
     
  20. Grand Moff Tim

    Grand Moff Tim Some call me... Tim

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    Regarding increased communication, I still think education is a large part of the solution. As has been suggested in this thread, increased access to English classes would be an important step. However, as I also suggested, I think second language education for native English speakers would also be a huge benefit. In fact, I think third language education would be ideal.

    I'm absolutely sure it won't happen in my lifetime, but I think Spanish should be a mandatory subject across all grades in all schools. In addition to that, though, I think students should be required to take a third language, maybe starting in middle or high school. Perhaps it could be whatever random language their schools offer, but ideally, local governments would research what languages are most common in their part of the country/state/county/district/whatever, and offer those languages. That would lead to situations like students in, say, partsof California with high numbers of Vietnamese or Chinese speakers studying those languages, or people in places like Dearborn, MI, which has a strangely high population of Arab immigrants, studying Arabic (though lol @ a government trying to convince taxpayers that they need to be teaching their kids Arabic :lol:).

    Isn't that how some countries in Europe already do it? Perhaps a European can chime in? I think the situation in places like Finland is that English is mandatory from an early age, and then at another point later on in their education, the students choose another language to study, like Swedish or Russian, depending on where they live. Is that the way of things? How about in other European countries?

    I realize of course that that's a hard sell. I don't expect it to actually happen. I think it'd be of great benefit, though, both educationally and culturally. Frankly, many in this country could do with a nice helping of increased cultural understanding, actual language ability benefits aside. With increased knowledge and communication comes increased understanding, and I believe that instead of trying to shut ourselves off from people who don't speak, live, or think the same way we do, we should be building bridges to increase cooperation. There are plenty of countries out there with multilingual populations that get along just fine, and the only things keeping us from being likewise are stubbornness, fear, apathy, and laziness.
     

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