Jury Duty and Non-English Speakers

Discussion in 'Politics & Law' started by Mirage, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    Ummmm, generally I was the guy who said who cares if people learn English if they live here. After all, it's their loss, but having been selected for Jury Duty tomorrow, I was reading the list of disqualification reasons that are accepted, and here's one of them:

    I'm sorry, but excuse me? If you are an American citizen, you should be REQUIRED to participate in jury duty just like the rest of us. I have no problem with the health DQ reasons, or if somebody is a primary caretaker, but come on. So immigrants who don't learn English just get off Scott free? Not that I'd want them on my jury anyway (not knowing English and all), but I think this is just another argument towards requiring immigrants to learn and become fluent in the English language before being allowed to become citizens.

    I personally think it's ridiculous that we've essentially created two groups of citizens. Those who learn the language and are therefore required to perform jury duty, and those who don't learn it and are therefore not eligible.

    It's America. If a civil duty requires you to know English, then as far as I'm concerned we shouldn't be solving this issue by making certain people exempt from said civil duty, instead we should require that ALL immigrants do what they can to be eligible for their civil duties before they are allowed to become citizens.
    Sim likes this.

  2. Dragon

    Dragon Registered Member V.I.P. Lifetime

    When my parents came to America, they did not speak english at all but they eventually learned how to read and speak english. It would be great if everyone knew english since its the primary language here in the states. My uncle got a notice for jury duty but he lived outside the city district.
    Sim likes this.
  3. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    I don't think it's asked too much from immigrants, who apply for citizenship of their new home country, to learn the generally spoken language of that country. So I think language tests before giving citizenship are in order (they shouldn't be difficult, and certainly, immigrants should not be required to speak the language better than many natives. Basic communication skills that enable to solve everyday tasks are just fine, IMHO).

    Maybe it's different in the US than in Germany, because the US are traditionally a country based on immigration. But still I think many problems regarding immigrants stem from a lack of language skills, at least in Germany. Those immigrants who don't speak German have fewer chances to be accepted on the labor market, and finding native friends and colleagues is more difficult, if not impossible. The result is unemployment, often the tendency for crime, lower social status and the tendency of some immigrants to "stick to themselves" or to cling to traditional, rather backwards values that makes fitting in even more difficult.

    So I think efforts should be taken to make immigrants learn the common language. There should be according offers, like language classes for immigrants. And immigrants should also be encouraged to learn the common language.

    And I agree, just excepting people from civic duties because of lacking language skills is not a good thing. Other solutions should be found.
  4. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    I agree. They don't need to be experts in the language, but they should know enough to have everyday conversations and be able to understand what is going on in a court (for jury duty summons).

    Here's another question I have now that I think about it.. what happens if somebody who speaks another language goes to court? All these English speaking jury members are no good then unless they have a translator. At the very least people who speak another language should be selected for jury duty in trials where foreign languages will be spoken.

    But seriously, this entire problem can be solved by just having a language test of some sort before granting citizenship in the first place.

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