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From:  "Angus B. Grieve-Smith"
Date:  Sat May 27, 2000  8:48 pm
Subject:  Las Cruces and El Paso

On Thu, 25 May 2000, Nancy Cole wrote:

> Las Cruces is in New Mexico close to El Paso, Texas. In El Paso, they
> have around 150 Deaf children and a dayschool, but they use SEE.
> Their reason is that there are many children from mexican families
> that don't know English, which I don't think is a good reason.

Let me see if I can figure out their reasoning: these children
would have families who speak Spanish, and would be most likely to be in
contact with the Mexican Deaf community, which speaks Lengua de Senas
Mexicana, or LSM. Or if they plan to stay in the US, they'd have contact
with the US Deaf community, which speaks ASL. So the educators chose
something which would isolate the kids from all three: what a bright move!

On that note, I was also amused (in a weird way) by a press
release from the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (La Migra)
following a scandal in Queens, NY where Mexican Deaf immigrants were being
exploited. The INS said that its agents were being given courses in ASL
to help them talk to Deaf immigrants. Of course, most Deaf immigrants
don't know a sign of ASL!

> A very few Mexican hearing families are just now realizing that
> "perhaps" ASL is the best way to go in teaching their children (that
> is here in New Mexico, and El Paso), but I have just recently found
> this out from a Deaf friend who lives in Juarez, Mexico.

I guess Mexican hearing families living in the US would want their
kids to learn ASL, but if they have plans to go back to Mexico it'd be
good for them to learn LSM as well.

I took a one-week workshop in LSM from Victor Palma Gonzalez, who
I believe lives in Juarez. The workshop was offered through the Apache
Creek Deaf and Youth Ranch, a missionary organization. There were a few
people from El Paso Community College there; I think they have a
four-language interpreting program(?). The teaching at Apache Creek was
not very linguistically sophisticated, but Victor was patient and fluent
in ASL, and was able to explain a lot about his language to us.

-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
Linguistics Department
University of New Mexico

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