In his weekly address, President Barack Obama claimed the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill would require illegal immigrants to learn English to earn their citizenship.
“This bill would provide a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are already in this country illegally–a pathway that includes passing a background check, learning English, paying taxes and a penalty, and then going to the back of the line behind everyone who’s playing by the rules and trying to come here legally,” Obama said.
While that claim would quell a lot of criticism of the bill if it were true, it simply is not accurate.
As Breitbart News has previously reported, when illegal immigrants apply for “registered provisional immigrant” status under the provisions of the bill, the first step in legalization, they do not need to demonstrate that they can speak English. When they apply for renewal of their RPI status, they still do not need to prove they can speak English.
Only when illegal immigrants apply for their “legal permanent resident” status, or green card, would they be required to demonstrate their ability to speak English or prove that they are currently enrolled in a course “to achieve an understanding of English and knowledge and understanding” of civics.
The requirement that immigrants must learn English is not new to this legislation, either. It is already part of a requirement in existing law, section 312 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In fact, the immigration bill weakens the current law by allowing illegal immigrants to simply claim they are enrolled in a course to learn English rather than actually requiring them to know it.
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