Rubio Amendment Tightens English Requirement for Immigrants

Image: Rubio Amendment Tightens English Requirement for Immigrants Immigration-reform protesters outside Sen. Marco Rubio's April 5 fundraiser at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla.

Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013 02:36 PM

By Dan Weil

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Sen. Marco Rubio planned to offer an amendment to the Senate immigration bill Tuesday,  tightening the requirement for immigrants to speak English before they can live here legally.

His amendment strengthens the definition of "English proficiency." Immigrants would have to speak the language to qualify for permanent residency status, The Hill reports.

"On the day we announced the principles that would shape the immigration bill, we made it clear that English proficiency would now be required for permanent residency for the first time in American history," Rubio said in a statement.

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"This amendment ensures that will be the case."

The amendment gets rid of language in the bipartisan reform measure that would allow immigrants to meet the proficiency standard merely by signing up for an English course. Critics called that a loophole that makes it too easy for immigrants to obtain legal residency and eventually U.S. citizenship.

"Contrary to what the Gang of 8 says, S. 744 (the immigration bill) has no requirement for illegal immigrants to learn English to get work permits or amnesty," according to a statement from the advocacy group ProEnglish.

"They can renew their work permits indefinitely. They only have to show some knowledge of English if they apply for green cards after 10½ years of residency."


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