Marco Rubio, the first person to deliver a response to the State of the Union in both English and Spanish (the English version was kinda dry, hey-ohhhhh) wants immigrants to be proficient in speaking English before being given permanent residency.
"On the day we announced the principles that would shape the immigration bill," Rubio said in a statement, "we made it clear that English proficiency would now be required for permanent residency for the first time in American history. This amendment ensures that will be the case."
For now, immigrants do not need to prove English proficiency to obtain a green card.
The proposed amendment by Rubio would strike a provision that allows immigrants to take an English speaking course even after they've already attained residency.
A provision in bill, S. 744, says that a registered immigrant over 16 years of age needs to prove that he or she is "satisfactorily pursuing a course of study, pursuant to standards established by the Secretary of Education, consultation with the Secretary, to achieve an understanding of English and knowledge and understanding of the history and Government of the United States, as described in section 312(a)."
But Rubio, who was born and raised in a state where most legal immigrants who voted him into office speak mostly Spanish, says this is a provision that must be fixed.
"Since the bill was introduced two months ago, the open and transparent process it has undergone has elicited constructive criticisms to improve it," he says in his statement. "This is one of the bill's shortcomings that came to light, which we can now fix."
Like most other things in his immigration reform bill, the logistics of pulling off such an amendment could be kind of a pain in the ass. It takes hundreds of hours of classes for a non-English speaker to become proficient in English, not to mention the majority of those who are already legal who aren't proficient in the language at all.
It's a rigid requirement and one that further muddles a bill that is getting everyone's panties in a twist.
Of course, those who have turned on Rubio for tackling this bill in the first place will now suddenly approve of him again with this amendment because, Y'ALL NEED TAH SPEAK ENGLISH T'BE A REAL MURICAN.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!