Senators Present Plans for Immigration Reform -- Including English Requirement – in Spanish

By Penny Starr | January 29, 2013 | 11:33am EST

From left, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) announce a 'Bi-partisan' framework for comprehensive immigration reform legislation on Jan. 28, 2013 on Capitol Hill. ( Starr)

( – Two of the eight senators that are proposing a comprehensive immigration reform plan that includes a requirement that immigrants learn English, explained it to reporters in Spanish.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) both repeated their prepared remarks in Spanish after initially telling reporters in English why they had signed on to the “framework” of immigration reform.

Menendez mentioned the English language requirement in his remarks.

“They will have to, for the first time in U.S. history, learn English to be able to even become a permanent resident,” Menendez said. “We require that for U.S. citizenship.

“We have never required that for permanent residency – this is a higher standard,” Menendez said.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) spoke to reporters at the Jan. 28, 2013 press conference to announce a plan for immigration reform in English and Spanish. ( Starr)

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that “from Day One” after legislation becomes law, illegals who register with the government and pass a criminal background check can live and work in the United States.

“That will make it easier for them to learn English and integrate into their communities without fear of deportation,” Schumer said.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said his Dream Act bill - first introduced 12 years ago - that would give children of illegal aliens who were brought to the U.S. as children a pathway to citizenship, is a part of the framework.

“The Dream Act is going to be an integral part of comprehensive immigration reform,” Durbin said.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) spoke to reporters at the Jan. 28, 2013 press conference to announce a plan for immigration reform in English and Spanish. ( Starr)

The four “legislative pillars” of the framework are: reforming the legal immigration system, employment verification, securing U.S. borders and a guest worker program. No specifics of what will be included in a legislative plan were revealed.

“We have to modernize our legal immigration system. We have to have a real enforcement mechanism to ensure we’re never here again in the future, and we have to deal with the people that are here now in a way that’s responsible but humane,” Rubio said.

The others who are in the “gang of eight” but who were not present at the press conference are Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is also in the group supporting the framework, was at the press conference.

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