LULAC Applauds Senator Kaine for Spanish Remarks; Disappointed Over Rubio Amendment

June 12, 2013

Contact: Paloma Zuleta, 202-833-6130, PZuleta (at) LULAC . org

Washington, D.C. - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) commends Senator Timothy Kaine (D-VA) for delivering remarks during Tuesday’s debate on immigration Senate Bill 744, in Spanish. The Senator’s 13 minute remarks were in support of Senate Bill 744 which was introduced by the bipartisan group of Senators referred to as the “Gang of Eight.” Yesterday was the first time a Senator delivered a full speech on the Senate floor in a foreign language. A Senator who wants to deliver remarks in another language on the Senate floor is required to have unanimous consent, which Senator Kaine received, prior to delivering the remarks. An English translation of the Senator’s speech was submitted into the congressional record.

“We appreciate that Senator Kaine delivered his remarks in Spanish because it underscores the fact that we’re a pluralistic and multiethnic society that understands and accepts that the United States is a land of immigrants,” said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “The Senator’s remarks were not only a symbolic gesture but also a true testament of our country's value and respect for diversity.”

As the immigration reform bill continues to move through Congress, LULAC will keep a watchful eye in order to ensure that our community is well informed on the status of the bill. In that vein, we are disappointed over Senator Rubio’s amendment to Senate Bill 744 which would require immigrants to be English proficient before they’re granted permanent residency. Currently, English proficiency is only required for citizenship, not for legal residency, as immigrants are allowed to take English courses after they’ve been approved for permanent residency.

“The amendment introduced by Senator Rubio does nothing but serve as an obstacle for immigrants who already face a difficult and costly path toward citizenship,” continued Moran. “We recognize that most immigrants want to learn English but the effort can be challenging for many.”

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About LULAC: The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 900 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org

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