Latest Immigration Reform News: Rubio Toughens Bill's English Language Requirement

 @LauraMatt on June 11 2013 1:22 PM
Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is believed to be a 2016 presidential candidate. He is one of eight bipartisan senators working on a 2013 immigration bill. Reuters

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will introduce an amendment to the 2013 immigration reform bill on Tuesday that would require undocumented immigrants to learn English before they are given permanent resident status. Rubio is one of eight senators who co-wrote the measure.

Currently, English is mandated for those who want to earn citizenship. The proposed reform bill also requires immigrants to show proficiency in English. Rubio’s proposed amendment will remove previous provisions that say such proficiency can be met by simply enrolling in a language course.

Rubio, an Hispanic-American and a key member of the group of eight Senators, issued a statement on Tuesday stating that when he announced the principles of the comprehensive immigration reform bill months ago, he made clear that English proficiency would be a requirement for permanent residency.

“This amendment ensures that will be the case,” he said. “Since the bill was introduced two months ago, the open and transparent process it has undergone has elicited constructive criticisms to improve it. This is one of the bill’s shortcomings that came to light, which we can now fix.”

The Senate will vote on a motion to proceed with the immigration bill on Tuesday. Several amendments will be considered with a final vote on a comprehensive immigration reform bill expected later this month.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” he has concerns about the Senate’s bill, particularly on border security, but overall he commended the Senate's efforts. The House is also working on immigration reform legislation that he said will be to right of the Senate’s.

“I think by the end of the year we could have a bill,” Boehner said.

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