The United States is a country founded and grown on migrants. During the course of its history, harsh lessons were learnt to help new arrivals integrate. Unfortunately, the recent presidential campaign won by Donald Trump focused the issue in such a way that these lessons have been forgotten and once again we see migrants indicated as a source of problems rather than as new members of the population on which to continue building the future. This development risks needlessly acerbating racial tensions that never completely disappeared and must do confronted immediately.

Rants against other languages

Recently a woman was filmed in a shopping center ranting at a Hispanic customer because she was speaking in English This episode of racism, which also happens in other countries of migration such as Australia, highlights the fact that many have forgotten the realities of migration.

Migrant families often speak two languages, the original at home and with family members and in English when at work or outside the home. I could relate to the Hispanic woman because I was brought up in such at home, like millions of other children of migrants around the world.

Sadly, many people are intimidated by the use of other languages, yet they themselves do not understand that language also comprises an important part of the identity of a person. Taking away the language from the migrants equals destroying a part of their identity and also the links with their relatives overseas. Over time the family will change and in two generations these families will no longer speak the original language and become English language speakers.

Cost of loss of language

While in many ways this is a natural development the loss of the second language is also a loss for the United States and the other countries of migration.

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The ability to speak fluently other languages is an important skill in trade to sell products overseas, to promote mutual good relations and also for the welcoming foreign tourists into the country.

The ability to speak other languages means understanding better other cultures and therefore knowing how to behave with guests, or to undertake negotiations of any sort with persons from those countries. The children of migrants are potential resources for the countries of immigration because who better than they are capable of building bridges between the countries of origin and their countries of residence?

False defense of Culture

Unfortunately, the new level of intolerance we are now seeing in many countries with regards to migrants, both legal and illegal, have corroded the advances made over the last decades for the best integration of the new residents and future citizens of these countries.

In addition, the defense of the cultures from foreign intrusion by the new migrants is a false fear and, as history has shown, totally useless.

Cultures are living entities and change over time and the meetings of cultures, whether peacefully as in programmed migration, or forcefully as in wars, means that the two cultures will inevitably change as a result of the meetings.

Hollywood is a prime example of how Cultures change from these exchanges. Many American films were inspired by foreign directors such as Kurosawa, Truffaut, Fellini, and Bergman. Paradoxically the greatest developments to the most American of film genres, the Western, were made by and Italian director Sergio Leone.

There is only one way to describe a culture that does not change - it is dead.

The lessons of the past must about migration must not be unlearnt due to the new intolerance. Migration is an essential part of the cultural developments of many countries beginning with the United States, but it must be done with proper integration of the migrants, not with social tension caused by fear and ignorance which are the prime ingredients that lead to hatred. The price of forgetting the lessons of the past is too high to be paid again.