While the debate continues here in the U.S. about whether people should be required to speak English, other countries are taking action.
The Associated Press reports a new law in Italy requires basic Italian proficiency for permanent residency permits following five years of legal residence.
The AP article says Italy is just the latest Western European country to make such demands on an expanding immigrant population in exchange for work permits or even citizenship. It's also meant to keep a sense of national identity intact.
Austria is another country with language requirements. Foreigners from outside the European Union have to speak German within five years of residency or they could be kicked out. The government believes speaking the language helps immigrants integrate better into society.
Britain is another country enforcing language requirements. The country, out of terrorism concerns, is requiring prospective citizens to pass an English competency test. British officials tell the AP "The tests will help weed out those who don't plan to contribute to British life."
The language requirements do have their critics, saying the policies are discriminatory and simply a way to keep out immigrants.
What do you think about all of this? Do you think the U.S should make speaking English a requirement for immigrants who come here or do you think it's all unnecessary?
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