British Prime Minister David Cameron is instituting a new policy aimed at ending the isolation of female Muslim immigrants while assisting in their integration into British society.
Beginning in October, Muslim women who have been in England for two and a half years must prove that they are making progress in learning the English language or face deportation.
Failing the language test could lead to the new arrival’s right to stay in the UK being revoked and them being sent back to their country of origin, he said.
Mr Cameron was asked during an interview whether a woman who came to the UK under the spousal settlement programme and had children in Britain could still be deported.
“They can’t guarantee that they’ll be able to stay,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“We’re now going to toughen up so half-way through the spousal settlement programme – two and a half years – there’ll be another opportunity to make sure your English is improving.
“You can’t guarantee you’ll be able to stay if you’re not improving your language. It is tough but people coming to our country have responsibility too.”
Children born in the UK who have one parent “settled” in the UK automatically receive British citizenship and would therefore be allowed to remain in the UK with their fathers, while their mothers were not.
The spousal settlement visa, to which the new English language test applies, requires that the person with whom the new arrival is coming to live is already settled. This means all children born to a couple using a spousal settlement visa have British citizenship.
There is also no guarantee that children born Britain citizens would have a right to live in another country – meaning that in some cases mothers might be unable to take their children back to live with them in their country of origin.
Is this too severe a requirement? What’s more severe: this new proposal or Muslim men keeping their women locked up and in virtual bondage?
“I think we had to make difficult decisions. Now what we’re doing is targeting the language money – it is for those who are in the greatest level of isolation.”
The Government has emphasised Muslim women as the target of the policy. Ministers say some are living in “isolated” communities and do not learn English.
The Government claims 190,000 Muslim women lack adequate English language skills and that 38,000 do not speak any English at all.
“If you don’t speak the language your opportunities are very much reduced,” Mr Cameron said.
“Saying to people who come to our country that learning English is essential.”
Would such a program work in America? A whopping 20% of Americans do not speak English at home, according to the U.S. census. And 40% of those immigrants report that they do not speak English “proficiently.” Half of California school-age kids speak a foreign language at home, a third in Texas.
At the turn of the 20th century, immigrants from Italy and the Slavic countries were under enormous pressure to learn English as quickly as possible. Being able to speak English was the gateway to opportunity and a better life for the children of immigrants.
That’s still true today. But the pressure has lessened considerably, as the idea of multiculturalism allows new arrivals the option of learning English or not. It’s not even a question of being bilingual. With little reason to learn English to get by, immigrants find themselves on an island, isolated from the larger American population.
It should be noted that second-generation immigrants usually become quite proficient in English, although they may still speak their native tongue at home. But with 60 million immigrants not speaking English very well, the creation of a permanent underclass is well underway.