Media Blog

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Immigrants or Illegal Immigrants?


Katie Couric blogs today:

Hi, everyone.

Should English be America’s official language?

So far, 28 states have passed laws making it so.

But there’s a big problem. There just aren’t enough teachers to help immigrants learn the language.

More immigrants are settling in suburbs — and sometimes have to wait MONTHS for an opening in an English class. A survey last year found the wait stretched to two YEARS in New Mexico and Massachusetts.

If communities are going to make English the official language, they need to help new residents learn it. Right now, government funding for classes is sporadic, and varies from state to state. Lamar Alexander, the former education secretary, put it simply: “If we make it easier, people will learn English,” he said, adding that the government needs to make it a priority and provide adequate funding.

That makes sense — in any language.

I can’t find the Alexander quote that she’s referring to (searching Google and, but I did find this:

On the legislative front, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee has proposed a bill that would give legal immigrants $500 vouchers for English classes and a fast track to citizenship if they attain fluency in their adopted tongue.

Not exactly phrased the same way as Couric describes it.  And here’s Senator Alexander from 2006, writing about his co-authorship of an “English is our National Language” amendment to the immigration reform bill:

At the beginning of the immigration debate, the Senate acknowledged the value of the English language by approving my amendment which offers $500 grants, paid for out of visa fees, to help those legal immigrants who are working toward becoming American citizens learn English.

Paid for with visa fees is not the same thing as the government providing adequate funding.

Maybe Senator Alexander is quoted correctly by Couric, but without a link, there’s no way for the reader to know.  Did Senator Alexander say this in print?  To Katie Couric directly?  Is Couric quoting from a newscast?  More links in the future, please.


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