JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sen. Marco Rubio announced a new amendment to the immigration reform bill that will eliminate what he calls a "loophole" to the English proficiency requirement.
The sweeping "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" would require anyone applying for a green card to prove they're proficient in English, a requirement that currently exists for citizenship applicants only.
Javier Ricaldi, 25, says learning the language was the one thing that intimidated him the most when he moved here from Bolivia.
"I was in Virginia first for one year and it was like a 360-degree change from my school," said Ricaldi.
Ricaldi says learning English was not an option, it was a necessity.
"You have to, the first language of this country is English," he said.
Senator Marco Rubio agrees so he fixed a loophole that may have prevented that.
In the original wording, the bill states anyone applying for a green card has to show they are proficient or enrolled in an English class.
In a statement to Action News, a Rubio spokesperson says "the proposed Rubio amendment would strike provision "(ii)", which stipulates that the English proficiency requirement can simply be met by being enrolled in a course."
According to Rubio, speaking English is key to assimilating into American society. For Ricaldi, the skill has proven to be an invaluable advantage.
"Who doesn't want to speak two languages, English and Spanish? It's awesome," said Ricaldi.
On Tuesday, the senate voted 84-15 in favor of the motion to proceed with debate on the immigration reform bill.