Friday, December 19, 2008

Task force urges U.S. to 'Americanize' immigrants

By Eunice Moscoso
WASHINGTON BUREAU
Friday, December 19, 2008

WASHINGTON — The United States must embark on an aggressive effort to integrate immigrants, including teaching them English and U.S. history, a federal task force recommended Thursday.

If this "Americanization" fails, the nation could see major problems in 20 or 30 years, with foreign-born populations detached from the larger society and engaging in anti-social behavior, said Alfonso Aguilar, who heads the U.S. Office of Citizenship.

Aguilar compared the potential strife to what is occurring in some Western European countries where foreign-born populations do not feel part of the larger society and are not accepted by many as full citizens.

"We should not be naive and assume that the assimilation process is going to happen automatically," Aguilar said, at a news conference.

By 2025, about 14 percent of the nation will be foreign-born, he said.

The Task Force on New Americans recommends that the federal government take a leadership role in an "Americanization movement," but also says that states, local governments, nonprofit groups and the private sector should play a key part.

The report strongly emphasizes that immigrants must learn English in order to fully integrate into American society. Aguilar said immigrants currently want to learn English but many cannot find classes.

He said the report is not recommending "an ugly, English-only approach," but "a friendly, pro-active literary effort."

The report urges the development of Internet based electronic learning tools for adults to learn English and civics.

The task force, which includes 12 Cabinet-level departments and eight additional federal agencies, has been studying the issue for two years. It is part of a Bush administration effort to promote citizenship.

1 comment:

Maria M. said...

Hi,

My name is Maria and I am a DREAM Act beneficiary. I arrived in this country at the young age of 12, with my parents, from Peru. I am now 21 years old and undocumented. I have grown up in the United States and consider this country my only home. If sent back to Peru, I would be banned from the U.S. for 10 years and the chances of coming back are slim to none. I graduated from high school in 2004 and since then, it has been difficult for me to continue my education as a result of my status. The DREAM Act would help me, and students in my situation, realize our dreams of becoming active members of society by allowing us to attend school or join the military.

Currently, there is an active project on CHANGE.ORG, a website that will present the top 10 ideas that it generates to the Obama administration upon its inauguration. DreamACTivist.org has presented the idea “Pass the DREAM Act Now” (http://www.change.org/ideas/view/pass_the_dream_act_now) and it has gathered enough support to make it to the second round.

YOUR BLOG is the most invaluable tool you have in order to help us,
Starting January 5th, the voting polls will re-open for the second round. We will ONLY have 10 days to gather as many votes and support as possible in order to become one of the top 10 ideas that will be presented to the Obama administration. There will be a widget that you can post on your website to allow readers to vote for our cause, as well as tell their friends to do so as well. Also consider voting for the other immigration ideas that made it to the second round, as they also need your support. This project is of extreme importance and your prompt participation is greatly appreciated.

Also, DreamACTivist and the United We DREAM Coalition will be launching a website on January 21 (www.dreamact2009.com) that will become a 65,000 petition drive for the DREAM Act, signifying the 65,000 undocumented students that would benefit from this act each year. Please visit http://dreamactivist.org/petition for more information and consider joining our efforts to make the DREAM Act a reality in 2009.


Please, don’t hesitate to contact me with further questions at maria@dreamactivist.org

In solidarity,

Maria M.
Co-Founder of DreamACTivist.org