At Odds Over Immigrant Assimilation

Karin Brulliard:

But he knows that not everyone sees people such as him — an immigrant who prefers to speak his mother tongue — that way. To this, he responds that the U.S. government should demand that newcomers know English — and help them learn it.
“This country was founded by immigrants. There should be a lot of cultures,” Ruiz, 48, said. “But at the base is the government.”
Ruiz’s idea lies at the heart of a question that has recently entered the national immigration debate, one some researchers say is important as new trends challenge old integration patterns: Should the government encourage assimilation?
The Bush administration is taking steps to do that. The Task Force on New Americans, created by executive order last year, recently presented initiatives that supporters say will help immigrants “become fully American.”