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The Boston Globe

Politics

English fluency surfaces as GOP immigration issue

Language issue illustrates the party’s conflicts

WEST MIAMI — Within two square blocks, residents of this small city next to Miami can buy groceries, play bingo, talk to their mail carrier, get liposuction surgery — and even renew their US passports — without hearing or speaking a syllable of English. A command of Spanish, in fact, is critical to civic life, more so than almost anywhere else in the United States.

Yet the city’s most prominent political son, Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican, has been attempting to use his position at the fulcrum of America’s immigration debate to toughen a requirement that immigrants learn English if they want to stay on a path to citizenship.

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