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Dear Editor:

I have been legally in the U.S. for almost 15 years and I have been an immigration paralegal for the past few years. When I arrived from Italy as a 15-year-old daughter of a multinational executive I did not speak one word of English. I was thrust in a high school in rural North Carolina without the assistance that is now commonly provided to those whose first language is not English. Yet, I learned to speak and write English very well. However, I beg to differ from Congressman Tancredo's comments regarding multiculturalism as some kind of poisonous notion instilled in the immigrant (legal or otherwise) population. I, like many other immigrants, cannot detach myself from my country of birth or my parents' country of birth, nor can I detach myself from my language or culture; it is who I am, it is what has molded me. I do not think that this translates into not respecting the United States or valuing the United States properly. I do believe, though, that a person's own opinion of the United States in relation to other countries is an individual matter. The same tired arguments that are made by Congressman Tancredo were made during the several waves of immigration that occurred in the United States. Yet, the majority of immigrants in their successive generations has become fully assimilated. I am confident that the next generations of Spanish-speaking immigrants will follow this natural course as well. Instead of concentrating on the perceived negatives of multiculturalism, Congressman Tancredo should perhaps recall with the same vehemence the positive contributions of multiculturalism among which I include the ability to see foreign and domestic policy, social issues and other topics from a variety of perspectives, rather than from a static and monolithic point of view.

Alessandra B. Hall
Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke LLP