Republicans in both the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would declare English the official language of the United States and require the development of English language testing guidelines for those applying for U.S. citizenship.
The English Language Unity Act would set out a new chapter in U.S. code that imposes an obligation on U.S. officials to "preserve and enhance the role of English as the official language of the Federal Government."
Part of this chapter would include a "uniform English language rule" holding that "all citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the laws of the United States made in pursuance of the Constitution."
To ensure this outcome, the bill would require the secretary of Homeland Security to issue a proposed rule for testing the English language ability of candidates for citizenship. The bill envisions possible exceptions to this standard but says these exceptions "should be limited to extraordinary circumstances, such as asylum."