Whoa, what was that? I recently read an article in the Washington Post that said hundreds of Puerto Ricans living in the United States are now, and have been, receiving Social Security disability payments because they cannot speak English. Over two hundred Puerto Ricans have been granted disabled status between 2011 and 2013. It seems they are less employable due to the language barrier.

I recognize that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and that the residents are non-voting U.S. citizens, but Spanish is their native language. Spanish is also the native language of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and of course Mexico. Does this mean that soon we will be working and contributing to Social Security not for our own supplemental income in retirement but so that illegal immigrants, made non-deportable by an unconstitutional executive mandate, can draw on this fund rather than having to learn English? Is this a way to redistribute wealth that the candidate Obama told Joe the Plumber about?

I have seen many employment ads for applicants who must be bi-lingual. But those two languages are generally assumed, not identified. In fact, I know one Vietnamese job seeker, a college graduate, who was turned down for a job in California despite the fact she could speak English and three other languages fluently. Her problem was that none of those four languages was Spanish. Could she have received disability benefits for not speaking Spanish? She was otherwise well qualified for the position.

Perhaps, just maybe, if we had an official national language, and if we had an immigration policy that was properly and legally enforced this problem could be overcome. How about, “if you want to come to this country and work, you must first prove who you are and that you can meet all conditions and qualifications of that employment”.


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