Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Linguistically Advanced 

To the editors:

This is in response to a piece in the City File (April 9) in which Harold Henderson seems to find it ironic and misguided that only a small fraction of the area's hospitals and clinics employ interpreters for their non-English speaking patients.

I find it very ironic and misguided that anyone believes that the non-English speaking patients should be accommodated in this way. Why should an already economically overburdened system be made to employ interpreters for those who voluntarily came to this country (presumably to take advantage of benefits this country may have to offer that their original homeland did not), when they cannot be bothered to learn the language?

Should the priority be for businesses and institutions to hire interpreters so that even non-English speaking persons be able to take advantage of its benefits; or should the priority be for all of those living in this country to speak the language fluently?

This is not a form of isolationism. This is a form of practicality. I am not suggesting that we limit immigration; I am suggesting that those coming to live in America speak English. This should not be a difficult task for anyone planning on becoming a productive member of our society.

Kelly Brown

Chicago

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