Recently VDare writer Allan Wall asked the, as we shall see, ridiculous question: "Isn't knowing English a requirement for naturalization?" concerning a recent controversy in immigrant burdened Walnut, CA. The sad answer is a resounding no. There are several ways around the English language and civics examination portions of the naturalization application process.
The first and most obvious is the actual legal exemptions for lazy immigrants uninterested, unable, or unwilling to learn English. First it is just being here long enough to be excused:
From the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website:
USCIS.govEnglish Language ExemptionsYou Are Exempt From The English Language Requirement, But Are Still Required To Take The Civics Test If You Are:Age 50 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States for 20 years (commonly referred to as the “50/20” exception).ORAge 55 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 15 years (commonly referred to as the “55/15” exception).
Notice that logically, the longer one has been here, the more likely one would learn English, but USCIS, more specifically, Congress, rewarded the lazy, indolent and stupid for delaying any learning effort. Sort of like Civil Service seniority for immigrants.
Next there are the disability wranglers who find a sympathic physician or psycologist to write them a note or pay the same for the note:
Medical Disability Exceptions to English and CivicsYou may be eligible for an exception to the English and civics naturalization requirements if you are unable to comply with these requirements because of a physical or developmental disability or a mental impairment.To request this exception, submit Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. This form must be completed by a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor, or licensed clinical psychologist.
As an aside, you don't even have to live in the United States to be naturalized:
Continuous Residence ExceptionsIf you are engaged in certain kinds of overseas employment you may be eligible for an exception to the continuous residence requirement. For more information visit our Continuous Residence and Physical Presence Requirements for Naturalization page.
But the most important exemption for immigrants learning English is not on the USCIS web page. It is the policy by which Immigration Services Officers (ISO) are unofficially discouraged from failing immigrants who fail the rather limited English language test by USCIS management. ISOs who work too diligently at weeding out those unable to speak any English are told in no uncertain terms by their supervisors that failing applicants is not part of their job and will have negative consequences. Their job is to approve applications for naturalization, not deny them.
But the most import part of the alleged English language examination is that it consist of only one part. The applicant is required to transcribe a sentence spoken by the ISO. And by policy that sentence cannot be more than four words long. Some test. Even if you pass, you may still not know much English.
It is time for Congress to make the naturalization process a serious examination of an immigrant's knowleged of civics and English. How about a 300 question test in three parts dealing with American history from the English Colonies to the present, the Constitution, Declaration and Federalist papers, as well as the biographies of the Founders, takeable only in English or American Braille with no waivers? And how about each immigrant would also have to memorize and recite from memory the Declaration, the Preamble to the Constitution or Washington's Farewell Address?
But remember as of today, the English language portion of the naturalization process is such a joke as to be practically non-existent.