Pro-amnesty conservatives regularly assert that assimilation is proceeding wonderfully, because most second- and third-generation Hispanics allegedly understand English. Is Spanish spreading, then, because the arrival of even more immigrants speaking only Spanish overwhelms this progress, or because Hispanic-Americans themselves prefer Spanish? Again, neither possibility is reassuring. Week after week, the ten most-watched TV shows among Hispanic-Americans are Spanish-language telenovelas on Univision. Univision aims—realistically—to become the top-rated network among 18- to 49-year-olds in a few years; it already regularly logs the most viewers among the 18-to-34 demographic. Even during Super Bowl week this year, when Americans overall, including blacks, gorged on Super Bowl coverage, Hispanic-Americans were still glued to Amores Verdaderos (True Loves).
Open-borders conservatives might cite a second justification for their nonchalance: Yes, the country is becoming bilingual, but so what? Again, such a position well may be right, but one would like to hear the argument. Language is inextricably linked to culture. If politicians felt compelled to speak Arabic to reach Muslims living in the U.S., or if every consumer phone call triggered an Arabic prompt, would conservatives be so sanguine about assimilation? Without question, Americans should learn more foreign languages. But it should not be necessary to do so to communicate with their fellow Americans.