It’s not what you say, it’s the language you say it in

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By Perly Viasmensky
Several people have called and/or approached me with a question difficult to answer: “Why does Elizabeth Warren have a Spanish ad on television when our elections are for the American people and are held strictly in English?”Several people have called and/or approached me with a question difficult to answer: “Why does Elizabeth Warren have a Spanish ad on television when our elections are for the American people and are held strictly in English?”
I have no idea why the woman is doing that. Actually, I don’t know anything about the woman and the only thing I remember of her was seeing her jumping up on the stage every time Hillary Clinton made a public appearance to hug and kiss her.
If Elizabeth Warren believes that she needs the Spanish votes by advertising in Spanish it is incomprehensible. Every Spanish voting person needs to be an American citizen and every naturalized citizen needs to speak, write and read English.
But, is this Elizabeth Warren’s fault? I don’t believe so; this is the fault of the Clark County election department (and only God knows how many other election departments in the country) when they send the voting ballots in English, Spanish, Tagalog and whatever language you request.
When you take the citizenship test in this country to become an American citizen you need to be able to have knowledge of history and government and be able to communicate in reading, writing and speaking English.
I honestly believe Immigration agents conducting exams of possible future American citizens need to be more thorough with the examinations to make sure those future American citizens know enough of our history and government. People nowadays know nothing about the history of our country.
It is also understandable that the country now wants more money for the applications for citizenship. There is a big difference between what used to be charged years ago and the hundreds of dollars they charge now, but because of that much higher cost, they should also extract more necessary information from the questions asked to pass the citizenship exam.
I want to share with all of you a personal experience. At the time I filed for my citizenship as a very young woman we had to pay our fees at the Post Office, and believe it or not, the fee was only $15.00.
Months passed and I received no information about my application. Then all of a sudden, I received notice that I was already a citizen as a former citizen of Haiti.
Haiti? Excuse me, Haiti? I went right to the local Immigration Office and requested an appointment with the director of the office, always speaking in English, the language of this country, which I had already learned in my own country.
I will never forget the last name of that director — “Rifkind.” He asked me, “Are you sure you are not practicing prostitution? My God, I had come out of boarding Catholic School. Coming out of his office, believe it or not, was when I grew up.
I continued with my education and writing letters from the bottom up — from the Mayor to the Governor, then to Representatives, Senators, the Vice-President and even the President because I was not from Haiti and needed to get to the bottom of that false statement.
All of a sudden, one good day, I received a call to be at the Immigration Office in one hour, one hour sharp, to meet with an agent from Washington, D.C.
I was greeted there by a man who sat there with his leg on top of the desk and a big Cuban cigar in his mouth and a huge file in front of him (the same huge file I was carrying with me).
He said, “I understand you wrote a letter to the President.” So, I said yes and asked him if he wanted a copy of it.
He said, “Well, let’s go into something more important; it looks like you are majoring in Political Science.
By the time we finished our meeting, I was a United States citizen.
If you are going to vote in our elections you need to speak, read, write, and understand ENGLISH.
* * * * *
Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She
writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky,
email her at pviasmensky@lasvegas

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