Did the immigrants of yore have government programs to teach English?

One refrain I hear from the pro-illegal crowd is that a huge reason illegal aliens from Mexico don't assimilate is because there are not enough (yep, you guessed it!) government programs to teach them English. OK, super. Let's flash back several decades to the immigrants from Italy, Germany, etc. and, to... show more One refrain I hear from the pro-illegal crowd is that a huge reason illegal aliens from Mexico don't assimilate is because there are not enough (yep, you guessed it!) government programs to teach them English. OK, super. Let's flash back several decades to the immigrants from Italy, Germany, etc. and, to a lesser extent, places like Ireland. After they put in their day doing backbreaking work for little pay, they learned English and assimilated on their own.

So, given that, is it STILL unreasonable to expect people to assimilate without taxpayer help?
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