Essay on The Requirement Of A Language Requirement For Citizens

Essay on The Requirement Of A Language Requirement For Citizens

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About 95,000 foreigners a day arrive in the United States and each one plays an important role in shaping our society and culture. The United States has always took pride in and celebrated its immigrant heritage, and we often recite countless stories of renewal, rebirth, and prosperity brought by newcomers from abroad. Yet many Americans have worried since the days of beginning of our foundation about unknown, various changes caused by immigration, specifically in respect to American culture and language. The question has always been asked as to what we can do to assimilate immigrants into American culture and create a unified nation. However, the immigrants themselves are often conflicted between their desires adapt to new surroundings and a different society and to preserve the culture and language of the community they left behind. One of the biggest topics of debate, one that I have now researched, is that of the necessity of proficiency in English when immigrating to the United States.
To debate on the topic of enforcing a language requirement for citizens willing to naturalize, it is important to understand the naturalization process in the United States. Currently, prospective immigrants are not required to obtain English proficiency when they apply for visas or for green cards. Furthermore, in order to become an United States citizen or be “naturalized”, one must pass tests on one’s knowledge and understanding of the civics of the United States - “the fundamentals of history” and the form and principles of government - as well as “the English language, as it is spoken, written, and read”. However, it can be argued that the English test for naturalization is not the most accurate measure of proficiency. For the reading po...


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...d in English learning for adults. The available resources in providing education in “our unifying language” have been described “wholly inadequate”; a 2011 Department of Education survey showed that only 42% of adults reported an improvement in their English skill level after a yearlong program. In 1997, the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform (CIR) emphasized that Americanization is a two-way street and that much more effort from the federal government, as well as businesses, are needed to help immigrants integrate into U.S. society. If the United States expects immigrants to “obey our laws, pay our taxes, respect other cultures and ethnic groups” then they are also obligated to “provide an environment in which newcomers can become fully participating members of our society” and to “support immigrants, through English classes, naturalization and civic education.”

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