RAISE the Literacy Bar for Green Cards

Among the most important reforms in the proposed overhaul of America’s green card program is a point system that rewards literacy in English.

The RAISE Act (Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy) states: “An applicant may accrue points for English language proficiency. Applicants with equal points and equal educational attainment shall be ranked according to their respective English language proficiency test rankings.”

The provision counters kneejerk claims that RAISE – designed to upgrade the productive capacity of green-card holders – discriminates against certain groups of immigrants. In fact, the English proficiency points are predicated on common sense and promote the mutual good: The better you understand the language, the higher your chances of obtaining permanent legal residency, and the more likely you are to succeed in this country.

It’s a premise that Americans of all political stripes can embrace. The Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank, recently reported that working-age adults with limited English proficiency earn 25 to 40 percent less than their English-proficient counterparts.

Large, ongoing inflows of non-proficient English speakers strain local schools and add to the cost of government services via multilingual forms, translators, etc. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services hasn’t helped by exempting some older arrivals from demonstrating any English aptitude at all.

The wage gap between English and non-English speakers clearly shows that English remains our coin of the realm. The RAISE Act recognizes that reality and incentivizes green-card seekers to learn the language before applying.

Broadly speaking, a common language is essential to social cohesion, civic progress and, of course, basic communication. Green-card applicants who read, write and fluently converse in English can strengthen America. Expecting less devalues the entire process.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar


    Because the United States of America is an English-speaking country,
    we naturally want new immigrants to be able to communicate in English.
    They must be able to understand what they hear and read.
    And they must be able to express themselves in English.

    Of course, if they were raised in families that speak other languages,
    we will not reject them because of any such additional language abilities.
    But no matter what other languages they might have in their heads,
    they must be able to use the English language
    in order to become meaningful parts of American society.

    Citizens of other countries who want to emigrate to the USA
    can begin their study of English (if English is not their native language)
    at any time in their educational process.

    This is the first of eight qualities to look for in new immigrants.
    What to read the other factors?

  2. avatar

    Last, like in many companies that hire the best. the same thing should be done for the presidency n congress etc…..show your grades, driver’s licenses, FBI background check, financial records….etc etc the highest grades..MERIT BASED….these way we do not end up w/APES…..

  3. avatar

    One example the Germans that became Americans after WWII without we would have never made it to the moon and instead the Russians wold have made it…did they speak any English? …… the Chinese that built the CA interstate……stores,,businesses……..

    In short, if that happens then we will have no longer the USA as we know it…… n will become a 3rd World Country which we are already in many parts mostly in the red States…..

  4. avatar

    Now we are copying Canada’s System and the rest of the Worlds’s…we have become one more of the rest……n no longer a leading place…..

    • avatar

      I am certain most people’s ancestors that came here did not speak English nor had money and made it big….;later they learned the language,,,,,

      I know engineers w/broken English smarter and wealthier than the regular Joe……that speaks English with lots of grammer mistakes but born here……hahahahahaha~~~

      We have lost it!!!

      • avatar

        Not making fun just making an observation that has been a fact……n the reason we became a power……because via Freedom there is no discrimination of ANY TYPE if you want to make it……..a pity whoever took the gov…..a bunch of APES!!!