Tom Tancredo's civics literacy test idea gets vote of approval from head of group promoting immigration moratorium

Tom Tancredo's call for civics literacy tests at the first National Tea Party Convention was described as racist in some quarters, even though he says he got the idea for them from an immigrant, and would like to base the questions on the examination immigrants must pass before being granted citizenship.

Now, Yeh Ling-Ling, a Chinese immigrant who heads California's Alliance for a Sustainable USA, has come out in support of Tancredo's concept. And she's also ideologically in tune with the former congressman and presidential aspirant on other policies, too. For instance, her group is calling for a moratorium on all immigration in this country.

This last position is nothing new for Yeh, as a 2006 Washington Post article demonstrates. (She's been interviewed by the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times and other prominent publications, and her op-ed pieces have appeared in numerous prominent places, including the Denver Post. Here's a partial list.)

Still, the promotion of a civics literacy test for everyone -- U.S. citizen and immigrant alike -- is new territory for her. She explained her views in an e-mail exchange excerpted below:

I believe that in order to be granted U.S. citizenship, immigrants must have a good knowledge of spoken and written English, without any exception. Literacy tests should be given to all U.S. voters -- native-born and naturalized citizens alike, so that their votes can accurately reflect their will.

I also believe that the so-called "bilingual" education should be eliminated because it is wasteful and divisive: I am multi-lingual and I did not receive "bilingual" education.

I head a national tax-exempt non-profit organization whose leaders and supporters are racially and politically diverse, including minority immigrants. We do not and may not endorse or oppose political candidates or parties. We believe that some sort of immigration moratorium will be needed so that we can put American job seekers, welfare recipients and non-violent prison inmates to work. This will lower unemployment and budget deficits. Obviously, teen pregnancies, totaling 750,000 a year, should also be curbed for many reasons.

Many promoters of open borders have lost their jobs. They now understand the wisdom of sustainable immigration and the need to stabilize population here (and abroad).

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts