President Donald Trump’s recent Oval Office address concerning the growing national security and humanitarian crisis on our southern border only served to underscore the importance of English language immersion and proficiency for immigrants to this nation, and ProEnglish is closely monitoring the Trump Administration’s policies on immigration and English.
For example, it now appears that federal officials will likely reject legal migrants’ requests for visas or green cards if they cannot speak English, according to a draft regulation from President Trump’s Department of Homeland Security.
“English language proficiency is a skill that also is relevant in determining whether an alien is likely to become a public charge in the future,” said the draft “public charge” regulation. The regulation is intended to help officials exclude migrants who will likely rely on American taxpayers for their health care, welfare, housing, and wages.
The draft regulation stated: “People with the lowest English speaking ability tend to have the lowest employment rate, lowest rate of full-time employment, and lowest median earnings. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, people who spoke a language other than English at home were less likely to be employed, and less likely to find full-time work, when employed.”
The draft regulation also noted that people who cannot speak English are more likely to rely on welfare.
The new draft regulation was posted just after a report showed that nearly half of the residents in the USA’s top 5 cities do not speak English at home, and nearly 67 million people nationwide do not speak English at home. As well, a recent annual report by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies, showed that 58% of refugees to our shores have “below basic” English skills even after they have lived in the USA for 5 years, and only 14% of refugees have “proficient” English skills even after they have lived in the USA for 5 years.
These numbers are unacceptable.
By way of contrast, immigrants and refugees that immerse themselves in learning English, and quickly become proficient in the language, stand a much better chance of being offered better jobs, gaining full-time employment and higher wages, being in a better position to support their families, and not having any need to rely on any government welfare and/or other public assistance.
This is also why the RAISE Act, as sponsored by U.S. Senators David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, is such an important bill. The RAISE Act, which is supported by the Trump Administration, would create a point system for immigrants based on factors such as English speaking proficiency, education levels, and job skills in order to rank immigrant applicants for employment-based green cards.
Such policies are demonstrably compassionate to immigrants, because learning English and becoming proficient in the language, combined with rapid cultural assimilation in the United States, will put them on the fast track to achieving the American dream.
ProEnglish strongly encourages the Trump Administration to continue to support these types of immigration-related, English language policies and legislation.