Please understand what we’re saying

Editorial Board/ FIUSM Staff 

Sen. Marco Rubio’s English requirement amendment to The Border Security, Economic Opportunity & Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 has been referred to as one of many means to appease opponents by holding up the progress of the Senate bill that could be responsible for legalizing approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants.

The amendment itself would require registered provisional immigrants to prove their proficiency in English in order to acquire permanent residence in the US, instead of the bill’s current language skills stipulation that could be satisfied simply by enrolling in English courses.

Whether the amendment is an intentional roadblock in the path of acquiring legal status or not, The Beacon can’t help but agree with Rubio’s emphasis on learning the English language in order to become legalized.

Our reasoning behind this is that although learning a new language may be an obstacle for some, learning enough to get by and to be able to communicate accordingly is not an impossible feat.

To begin with, the approximate 11 million undocumented immigrants the Senate bill is addressing are immigrants who have to prove they have been physically present in the US since before Dec. 31, 2011, meaning these are people who have been here long enough to have picked up some understanding of the English language.

We wouldn’t go so far as saying that not having learned some English within that time is due to laziness or stubbornness. We do, however, acknowledge that it would require effort that is, quite frankly, nothing compared to the risk of entering and residing in the US illegally.

Of course, the exceptions to the rule are people incapacitated by physical or developmental disabilities as well as mental impairments, for which a waiver is mandatory. There is also an exception for registered provisional immigrants that are 70 years of age or older when applying for permanent residence, but this is discretionary.

Whether Rubio’s amendment gets passed or not, the underlying importance is that these people need to take the step forward in ensuring their future in this country is solidified by learning English. Rubio’s amendment simply makes it a requirement, but it is necessary regardless of such a law’s presence.

Yes, the amendment would present one more obstacle in the way of many hard workers in the community trying to survive on a daily basis, but it’s an obstacle that, if conquered, will eventually lead to peace of mind and a sense of security because the risk of being deported would be diminished.

A chance for that peace of mind as result of trying to fix a broken immigration system is being presented to these people through the Senate bill as well as Rubio’s amendment. We think it’s only right they do their part and meet it halfway. 

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