5 million immigrants granted US citizenship can’t speak English
In a stunning indictment of the system that tests immigrants on their eligibility to become “naturalized citizens,” a new report finds that a third are functionally illiterate, unable to speak and understand enough English to get that status.
Some 32 percent of naturalized citizens, about 5 million, fall below “basic” skills in English, the equivalent of being functionally illiterate, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies.
The report is a follow on to one that found 67 percent of immigrants in the United States for 15 years or more can’t speak much English.
According to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, those hopeful of becoming U.S. citizens must “be able to read, write, and speak basic English.” They must also “have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).”
While the immigrants apparently pass the minimum test, CIS looked also to a more authoritative test conducted by the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies and found that in reality many immigrants are functionally illiterate. The tests, done before President Trump took office, suggest that 32 percent of all naturalized citizens speak English “not well or not at all.” Of those, nearly half were Hispanics.