For Immediate Release Contact: Phil Kent
February 14, 2013 Phone: (404) 226-3549
ARLINGTON, Va.—“The proposed bipartisan U.S. Senate immigration legislative framework deserves an ‘F’ grade when it comes to promoting English as the common, unifying language of our nation,” said Robert Vandervoort, executive director of ProEnglish, a group that advocates making English the official language of government operations. “A glaring omission is that this framework fails to designate English as the nation’s official language– a move which would help assimilate illegal immigrants if they are amnestied and given legal status to stay.”
“This omission will mean the Social Security Administration will continue providing interpreters in over 150 foreign languages, and federal agencies would continue to provide translations and interpreters in dozens of foreign languages. This is not the melting pot. This is a recipe for the balkanization of our nation,” he said.
“The vague Senate proposal gives millions of amnestied illegal aliens years to demonstrate a minimal knowledge of English. So far there is no requirement to pass a language proficiency test, which is part of the U.S. citizenship examination,” Vandervoort notes. “In fact, that test requires applicants to read and write just two sentences in English. So even if the Senate bill adds that citizenship test requirement like it did in 2007, the claim that those who get amnesty under this bill will have to learn English is nonsense.”
A 2007 Harvard University survey showed that 72 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 favor official English, including majorities of Hispanic and Asian young people. Recent polls indicate a large majority of respondents favor English as our official language. “The president and lawmakers pushing for passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill should be ashamed for trying to deceive the public into believing they will do anything specific to require amnestied immigrants to learn English and assimilate,” Vandervoort concluded.