Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
– U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted in support of an amendment making English the national language of the United States. The amendment was offered by U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and passed the Senate by a vote of 63-34.
“At every turn, we ought to reinforce the fact that for successful assimilation to take place, immigrants should become proficient in English,” said Graham. “English is the language of the United States.”
Graham noted a major feature of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill includes a provision requiring undocumented workers to be proficient in English before they can apply for citizenship. An immigration reform bill passed by the House of Representatives does not contain a similar provision.
In addition to the English proficiency requirement, undocumented workers must also register with the government, show proof of employment, pay $2,000 in fines, undergo two extensive and comprehensive background checks to ensure they do not have a criminal record or pose a danger to society, pay back taxes, and attend a class on American civics. Failure to meet any of these requirements over an eleven-year period would result in deportation.
“Failure to learn English should disqualify any undocumented worker from participating in the reform proposals we are debating in the Senate,” said Graham. “It’s essential that undocumented workers who come out of the shadows become proficient in English. Failure to do so will lead to their deportation from the United States.”