Why learning English may help you avoid immigration problems

On behalf of Cynthia Ceballos of Ceballos Legal Consulting LLC on Friday, November 8, 2019.

It's not uncommon to struggle with a language barrier when you arrive in Louisiana or elsewhere in the United States from another country of origin. Whether you prepared for months ahead of time or showed up at a border to seek asylum in an urgent situation, how well you can speak, understand, read and write English may have a significant impact on your ability to accomplish your immigration goals.

If you hope to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you'll have to take a test. The test will include exercises in English, which is another reason it pays to try to become fluent in the language. Perhaps, you'll have to attend an immigration interview. If you don't have a translator and can't understand what the interviewer is saying, things might not go well. The good news is support is available in many forms.

Doing these things might help you learn English

You obviously can't learn English in one day, although you might be able to learn a series of words or phrases in that amount of time. The following list provides suggestions and tips for learning to speak, read, write and understand English:

  • It can definitely be comforting to associate with people who share your ethnic background when you first arrive in Louisiana. However, by making a few new friends who speak English well, you increase your chances of successfully learning the language.
  • You can set up a study group that meets regularly. Everyone in the group can help each other master challenging pronunciations or concepts.
  • There are often tutoring sessions available to help you learn a second language. This would be a valuable tool for most immigrants, especially if you're preparing for an upcoming interview.
  • Advanced technology is a great asset when it comes to learning English. Get online, download apps or take advantage of other products and services.
  • Immersing yourself in the culture and daily life of your new community is, perhaps, one of the best ways to become fluent in English.

It's not as if the United States can kick you out for not being able to speak, read, write or understand English. You may find, however, that lack of such knowledge impedes your ability to accomplish your immigration-related goals. It's even possible that legal problems might arise in connection with an inability to speak or understand English.

Who can help?

Tutors, family members who are U.S. citizens, teachers and others can provide guidance and support as you try to overcome a language barrier. If you're worried about a specific legal status problem, you can discuss it with someone who is well-versed in U.S. immigration law.