Target: Florida Senator Marco Rubio
Goal: Remove English proficiency requirement from a major immigration reform bill
Senator Marco Rubio has introduced an English proficiency requirement for permanent residency into a major comprehensive immigration reform bill. This would exclude millions of undocumented immigrants from achieving a path to citizenship. Tell Rubio this amendment is an unfair obstacle and should be removed from the bill.
Rubio recently announced the English proficiency amendment to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act – a comprehensive immigration reform bill being written by the “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of senators. Currently, English proficiency is required for citizenship, but not for permanent residency or a green card. The most recent iteration of the immigration bill would require undocumented immigrants to enroll in English classes before applying for a green card, but Rubio’s amendment, if passed, would require English proficiency before even applying.
Requiring English proficiency before the application process can even begin would unfairly extend the process of applying for citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. According to the Migration Policy Institute, 6.97 million undocumented immigrants are “Limited English Proficient,” with 4.84 million of those reporting that they spoke English “not well” or “not at all.” Should Rubio’s amendment pass and these individuals attempt to apply under the Gang of Eight’s bill, they would face a major obstacle that would discourage them from applying in the first place. Rubio’s amendment would also send millions of people to government-funded English as a Second Language classes, which are already underfunded and not ready to accept an influx of new students.
Undocumented immigrants need a fair path to citizenship so that they can begin to contribute to the nation as citizens. The current immigration bill already requires individuals applying for a green card to enroll in an English class, and this should be enough to begin the application process. Urge Rubio to remove the English proficiency obstacle and allow undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship fairly.
Dear Senator Marco Rubio,
I urge you to remove your English proficiency amendment to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. This amendment would impact millions of undocumented immigrants by preventing them from achieving a path to citizenship.
Requiring English proficiency for permanent residency, or a green card, is not only discriminatory, but it would burden the government-funded English as a Second language education system, which is not prepared to handle an influx of millions of students. Stop the amendment, and allow a fair process for undocumented immigrants to apply for permanent residency, and eventually for citizenship.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr