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April 24, 2013

Welcoming the Stranger Among Us . . . 


English as a Second Language Likely to be a Requirement for Immigration Relief  


The four Democrat and four Republican senators known as the
Gang of Eight released their plan for comprehensive immigration reform on April 16, 2013.  This plan confirmed earlier reports indicating that learning English would be a crucial component of the pathway to citizenship that has been crafted by the Senate.


According to this plan, undocumented immigrants who have resided in the United States since December 31, 2011 and before can apply for what is called registered provisional immigration status.  To qualify, they will have to pay fines and pass a background check.  If they are approved, they will be allowed to work lawfully in the U.S.  After 10 years, they will be eligible for permanent status.


During the 10-year period of provisional status, immigrants will have to pay additional fines and taxes and demonstrate knowledge of civics and English.  In other words, if this plan becomes law without any changes, eligible immigrants will be required to speak English in order to get a green card.

Many people may not know that the way the law stands today, immigrants are not required to learn English to get a green card.  English is only required of them for citizenship (which currently takes 3 to 5 years after one is granted lawful permanent residence).


As undocumented immigrants in our nation (more than 11 million) are being asked to learn English as a requirement for residency, it is reasonable to anticipate a high-demand of English as a second language (ESL) courses and programs all over the nation.


It is important to remember that this bill is only a proposal from the Senate.  It will need to be debated, amended, and voted on before it will become the law of the land.  We will not know the details of the final bill until later this year, but it is hard to imagine anyone voting against the English requirement.

Back in 1986, the last time our immigration system was reformed (under President Reagan), undocumented immigrants were required to enroll in English classes from organizations and institutions approved by the federal government.  No one knows, at this point, if the same requirement will apply, but one thing is clear: this is an opportunity!


If you have been involved in ESL ministry or are considering serving your community in this way, 2013 is the year it will all come together.  Literacy Connexus has been actively involved in creating a network of ESL ministries under the leadership of Robin Feistel and Ministries of Excellence (MOE).  If you are called to participate in this crucial, long-term ministry, contact us.  If you are a member of a Hispanic church, ask God to show you how you can be part of these efforts.  The strangers among us will need our help learning English.  Let us hear their call and get ready to serve them!


Elsa Romero  




Elsa Romero

ESL Ministry Promoter and Trainer with Literacy Connexus 

Lester Meriwether, Executive Director
4802 Highway 377 South, Suite 14
Fort Worth, TX 76116
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Pam Moore, Editor 

Trivia Challenge 
1. Vowelless words are rare in the English language.  One, of Welsh origin, is significant to Mt. Everest climbers this time of year. (The word is not brr.) As you lie in bed tonight, think of the expeditioners hunkered in tents in the broad glacial valley at the foot of Mt. Everest's Lhotse Face, known as:

a) The Lower Crl

b) The Northern Lmn

c) The Western Cwm

d) The Sunless Skr

2. The Ellis Island of the West processed immigrants, primarily from Asian countries, between 1910 and 1940. It was located in California on:
a) Alcatraz Island

b) Angel Island

c)  Mare Island

d) Treasure Island

3. Ellis Island received its first immigrant arrival in 1892. Its last immigrants passed through the station in:

a) 1949

b) 1954

c) 1959

d) 1964 

Problem accessing  the answers? Reply to this email and we'll shoot them your way.  

These instructional links may help: 


Fact or Fiction??
A tenth-century grand vizier of Persia took his entire library with him wherever he went. The 117,000-volume library was carried by camels trained to walk in alphabetical order.

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