When legally mandating English as the one and only official language, we are designating it as a cornerstone for American society. It therefore plays a role in the forward direction of our nation. This includes persons illegally in the country through no fault of their own who have assimilated and those who "overstayed their welcome" but could assimilate quickly if given the chance.
Perhaps it depends on your perception! When targeting immigrants best capable of accelerated assimilation, "English as the official language" and "immigration reform" are connected.
Implied, of course is "meaningful immigration reform." Amnesty is not considered "meaningful." Of foremost importance are (a) what to do with illegal immigrants currently within our borders and (b what measures will improve the nation, making America stronger?
We need to rid ourselves of the asinine immigration lottery. How could arguably the most desirable of countries put forth a concept that is totally and exclusively based on "luck?" The proponents claim that it is in the spirit of "diversity." But this term, "diversity" has become an excuse! It's actual translation is akin to "settling for something less than the superlative!"
A priority points system for immigration should take into account any impact or implications made on Social Security. Our population is aging. We need younger immigrants. This should be a benchmark of any new system. When we use age as the first consideration, we immediately set in place a future guideline that will arrest the problem of insufficient new workers to fund the entitlement system.
The second benchmark should be education. We need better educated immigrants. But this goes beyond those with college degrees. America has a shortage of skilled craftsmen. In addition to Nurses and Engineers, we need Plumbers, Steamfitters, Electricians, Welders, Bricklayers, Stone Masons and Carpenters. There are trained workers abroad who can bring these skills with them when they immigrate.
Donald Trump suggested that "any international student receiving his PHD should be automatically issued a green card upon graduation." Why not? Our universities educate these people. Why not allow them to stay?
There should be weight given toward English proficiency. An English proficiency test should be given to any and all immigration candidates. If they can pass an elementary exam(4th grade), they would be given added consideration. An intermediate exam(10th grade) would earn a higher preference. We need immigrants who can assimilate as quickly as practicable. Those coming to the country with the language will shave anywhere from three to ten years time needed for complete assimilation.
Diversity cultists would vehemently oppose such a standard. They would claim that the system was being rigged to benefit selected countries. But this isn't necessarily the case! Visit Europe. Or, visit the Middle East, Asia or Africa for that matter. English is the international language of business. We should use this to our advantage!
Finally, there needs to be a preference for immigrants coming from N.A.T.O. countries. What's wrong with rewarding our friends and allies? Many of these immigrants would be coming from overcrowded European nations and would bring with them, not only the English language but a needed skill or profession.
Some would claim that a mythical points system based on age, education, language and country of origin would be at odds with uniting many families. True, we would be basing acceptance on more than family connections, proximity and luck. The question to ask is "what's best for America?" There should be some preference for family members! Especially children and siblings of newly naturalized Americans! But age, education and English proficiency should hold equal merit!
Requiring passage of an elementary English proficiency test as a prerequisite for a "green card" would have critics. But what are they truly protesting? More independent newcomers?
Opponents will abound who oppose giving N.A.T.O. countries a preference. They will call it "a backdoor strategy" designed to "maintain a white majority" in the United States. We can't change history(although revisionists long to do such)! Such an overture to our N.A.T.O. associates would be be seen as "the United States still remembers who her friends are."
Some will warn that those attempting to immigrate extended family members from outside the country would be delayed, perhaps permanently. This could happen, if the family member was older, uneducated and without the language!
The proposal clearly favors immigrants from English speaking countries. But it would not eliminate those who came from non-English speaking countries! They might need to add an extra step to the process. But there are millions outside our borders who speak English fluently. Most reside in countries where English is not the first language.
What about those currently in the country illegally?
When it becomes impossible to survive, human nature dictates migration. This has been the rule of humanity for eons! Passage of a 10th grade English proficiency test would be easy; for someone who had grown up in the U.S., attended and graduated from American schools or who had lived in the nation twenty plus years. For someone without that history, it could be a tough verdict!
When immigration is linked to English proficiency and literacy, those unable to make the cut will depart. The United States becomes quite inhospitable when you can't work, drive or have access to entitlements! Expect a silent, surprisingly speedy departure!
However, those able to pass an intermediate English examination would be welcomed into the family! They could then begin the path of "what can I do to earn" my place in America?
This standard alone would promote many possible and productive outcomes. One nagging question remains.
"What about those who came to the United States legally on a short term visa and never returned?" After all, this accounts for a large part of those in the country illegally. Would they be allowed to take an intermediate English exam and be given a probationary path to citizenship?
It is important that we differentiate persons who came into the country as minors and those who didn't. Those who happen to be in the country illegally through no fault of their own should be given a path to citizenship! This amounts to something similar to the D.R.E.A.M. Act without entitlement access. But what about the intentional offenders?
Intentional offenders should be rewarded for honesty if they come forth and confess. For example: We have perhaps as many as 50,000 Irishmen illegally in New York City today. They speak English. The majority of them could pass a 10th grade proficiency test. Many hold college degrees, professions and skills. In most cases they have family living in the states. This would immediately earn them top priorities. If they were given an additional "honesty" preference by voluntarily confessing to their status, two results might be possible.
Intentional offenders would face a "more rigorous path" in comparison to those who entered involuntarily. For those who entered the country as minors, the time required for naturalization would be five years. For those who came as adults(18+), it would be ten years. For those illegally in the country through no fault of their own, there would be several service alternatives. For those entering the country on their own accord, there would be only the military option.
During this time, all illegals participating in a path to citizenship would pay into the entitlement system. The more rigorous alternative would be available only to offending illegals thirty years of age and younger.
The second option would be to return to their native land and apply with the benefit of having improved their points priority through honest confession. Let's examine a mythical illustration:
24-year-old, James Bryant of Dublin, Ireland overstayed his visa and has been living with his American girlfriend in Queens, New York for 10 months. James has an undergraduate degree in history, speaks English fluently and wants to immigrate. He reports to the authorities, admitting that his six-month visitors visa expired the previous year.
James is given three points for his being under thirty years of age. He receives a point for his high school diploma, an additional point for a college degree and two points for his ability to pass an intermediate English proficiency exam. He is told that because he voluntarily turned himself in, he will receive an additional "honesty point." That totals eight points. But this is only if he returns to Ireland and applies through normal channels.
Had Ireland been a member of N.A.T.O., James would have received an additional two points. Had his degree been in Engineering or Nursing, he would have received an additional point. If James had parents living in the U.S., he would have received three points. A sibling would have earned him two points. A grandparent or first cousin would have been worth one point. These points, however, are meaningless if James does not return to Ireland.
James elects to not return to Ireland. He is given thirty days to report to the military branch assigned. If he fails to do such, he will be deported without further recourse. He will also become permanently ineligible for future immigration application or visas of any kind, including a K-1(Alien Fiance) visa.
The United States armed forces would be given the right to accept or reject his application. If rejected, he would return to Ireland retaining his priority points.
By rewarding offending illegals for honesty(turning themselves in to the authorities) we would be telling the entire world that we value truth and the ability to admit a mistake. We would be telling the offender that we were giving them one chance to begin their path toward citizenship. Because James was older than 17, his path would span a minimum of ten years. However, he would have permanent resident alien status upon acceptance by the armed forces.James would not be eligible for entitlements, including unemployment insurance. He would be required to pay into the system for ten years prior to becoming eligible for benefits. He would be granted all benefits offered by the U.S. armed forces.
Many would argue that this model is "too soft." But not if the plan is presented in conjunction with a modification of the 14th Amendment's citizenship interpretation. Adding a provision that required at least one parent to hold "green card status" would discourage illegals from parenting "anchor babies."
Meanwhile offenders holding intermediate English skills could return to their native countries and proceed through normal channels holding enhanced priorities. Or, they could remain under these stringent conditions. If they chose the latter, they would begin contributing to the entitlement system without drawing immediate benefit from it.
Where immigration is concerned this is the true "bridge for the moderates." We make it clear that we have a preference for young, well educated, English savvy newcomers. They simply would pay for breaking line!