"English-Only Group With Nativist Ties Launches Misleading Ads"
On Tuesday, ProEnglish released a new ad that criticizes Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) for supporting an immigration bill that does not require English proficiency.
The ad features a woman’s voice translating a supposed Spanish-speaking undocumented immigrant who excitedly thanks Senator Graham for not requiring English proficiency in order to apply for “amnesty.” However, the Senate bill indicates that English is a requirement to apply for registered provisional immigrant status through “satisfactorily pursuing a course of study, pursuant to standards established by the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Secretary, to achieve an understanding of English and knowledge and understanding of the history and Government of the United States.” The bill even enumerates the number of points immigrants can acquire if they successfully pass an English test as a foreign language.
ProEnglish is part of a larger network of organizations against immigration reform. They have connections to John Tanton, who is deeply connected to anti-immigrant groups and White nationalist ties. Both Tanton and ProEnglish’s founder Robert Vandervoort have a long record of supporting eugenics and white supremacist groups.
The John Tanton Network promotes similar pseudoscience as Richwine and has not backed away from widely-discredited Heritage author Jason Richwine whose doctoral thesis proclaims that Hispanics have lower genetic IQ dispositions than their white counterparts.
Ironically, if ProEnglish really wanted to see an assimilated, predominantly English-speaking country, this immigration bill would be a step in that direction. Its board of directors boasts multilingual speakers, one of whom even writes that “working overseas speaking foreign languages made him appreciate the critical role that language fills in promoting empathy and understanding between people.” If the immigration bill passes, assimilation benchmarks like homeownership, greater English proficiency, and citizenship will occur as it has in every immigration wave.