Officials in Washington, D.C., are determining the best immigration reform plan to allow a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and secure the border. However, foreign nationals who are living in the United States can take steps on their own to help smooth out the process toward naturalization.
Abraham Morales, an immigrant who wrote a commentary for the Denver Post, discussed the importance of immigrants learning the English language to defeat communication barriers. In order to pass the naturalization exam, immigrants must prove a certain level of proficiency in English.
An analysis from the Pew Research Center found that immigrants who learn English are more likely to consider themselves typical Americans and assimilate to culture in the United States. Morales spoke about his experience with immigrants who are unable to pursue careers because of their lack of English speaking skills. It also enables parents to help their children through education and promotes a better understanding of U.S. systems.
The U.S. census reported that one in every five homes in the United States is bilingual, and a total of approximately 38 different languages are spoken. The Pew Research Center study found that 95 percent of respondents believe it is important for future generations to be able to speak their native tongue, which, for the majority, is Spanish. The study also found that 87 percent of Latinos believe in the importance of learning English.
Unfortunately, older immigrants struggle with learning English. Peter Pham, a Vietnam-native who became a U.S. citizen more than 30 years ago, is now trying to help his wife earn her U.S. citizenship, but she has failed the language test twice.
“The most difficult is the writing part,” Kim Chi Tran said through a translator, according to The California Report. “If I can write just a few sentences, short, I can do it. Now at 64 years old, I can’t remember everything. I’m old.”