Immigration has been a hot topic in the United States for decades. In fact, it’s probably safe to say it has been a point of discussion, as well as contention, for all of the nation’s history. This day in age, when people mention immigration, it’s usually safe to bet they’re referring to the Mexican population. Hispanics and Latinos, meaning anyone with origins in the Hispanic countries of Latin America or Spain, comprise the largest minority group in the country, at around 16% of the total U.S. population. Over the past 20 years, as this population has continued to steadily rise, economists and statisticians have predicted an ever increasing Hispanic influence on American culture; most notably, there is a belief that Spanish will one day become the nation’s second official language after English, much like Canada, who observes both English and French as official languages.
As will generally accompany change of any sort, there has been a great deal of controversy on whether the United States should or could become a technically bilingual nation. It is a headline that comes and goes, never really offering a concrete assertion as to when this abstract idea might eventually manifest.
But on July 6, 2011, the New York Times published an article by author Damien Cave describing reasons that Mexican emigration to the U.S. is decreasing. This informative piece caught many a critical eye due to its appearance in both English as well as Spanish. Ameena Schelling of The Daily Caller, a political news website based out of Washington D.C., commented “The decision to provide an article on such a contentious issue as immigration in a language so closely tied to the conflict raises questions about the intent of the coverage, as well as about the future possibilities of bilingual coverage in foreign bureaus.”
The fact of the matter is Cave set out to reach the vast audience he imagined would find his article relevant. Indeed, there is a broad enough population of Spanish speakers in the U.S. to make a bilingual publication worth his while. The implication is: though an argument on immigration laws may be becoming less and less relevant, the United States’ existing Hispanic and Latino population is evidently becoming more so.