Joe Biden says undocumented migrants must learn English if they want citizenship: 'It's a pathway'

The former vice president, in a recently surfaced clip, says, "Like every other person who's come here, they have to pass, they have to learn how to speak English, they have to demonstrate they pay their taxes..."


                            Joe Biden says undocumented migrants must learn English if they want citizenship: 'It's a pathway'
Former Vice President Joe Biden (Getty Images)

Former Vice President and 2020 Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, is being slammed for suggesting undocumented immigrants should learn English if they want to become American citizens. Biden reportedly made the statement during a campaign stop in Iowa.

The Trump campaign's Deputy Director of Communications Zach Parkinson shared a video on Twitter, showing Biden telling his supporters about his plan to create a "pathway for citizenship for the 11 million undocumented" in the U.S. However, the former vice president, in the clip, states, "Like every other person who's come here, they have to pass, they have to learn how to speak English, they have to demonstrate they pay their taxes...But it's a pathway."

Despite the Democratic frontrunner's statements, his 2020 immigration platform does not outline any requirement for undocumented immigrants to learn to speak English to gain citizenship. His plan, instead, states that he aims to "modernize America's immigration system" by "aggressively advocating for legislation that creates a clear roadmap to legal status and citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who register, are up-to-date on their taxes, and have passed a background check."

Former Vice President Joe Biden (Getty Images)

Biden's plan adds that undocumented immigrants "are our mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. They are our neighbors, co-workers, and members of our congregations and Little League teams." They also "contribute in countless ways to our communities, workforce, and economy." 

The 2020 presidential candidate's comments on Sunday garnered flak on Twitter from prominent immigration rights advocate Juan Escalante, who is also undocumented. Escalante said: "My parents have worked over the past 19 years, paid their taxes, and given back to their community. They're in their late 50's and are integral to the fabric of Florida. You're going to deny them citizenship over a language requirement should they come out of the shadows?" 

Other critics pointed out that the United States does not have an official language, raising questions as to why speaking English should be required to access the citizenship pathway. 

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