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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

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July 5, 2000
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND THE FIRST LADY CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY 2000 AND 
WELCOME NEW CITIZENS TO AMERICA 

                    THE WHITE HOUSE

               Office of the Press Secretary

_________________________________________________________________  


For Immediate Release                                       July 5, 2000


              PRESIDENT CLINTON AND THE FIRST LADY CELEBRATE
                           INDEPENDENCE DAY 2000
                    AND WELCOME NEW CITIZENS TO AMERICA
                               July 4, 2000

Today the President and the First Lady will celebrate Independence Day at
the 6th International Naval Review in U.S. history from aboard the U.S.S.
Hue City and officially commence the OpSail 2000 Parade of Sail aboard the
U.S.S. John F. Kennedy in the New York Harbor.  In recognition of the
freedoms enjoyed by American citizens, the President will witness a
naturalization ceremony led by Attorney General Janet Reno to swear in
twenty new U.S. citizens from 14 different countries across the globe.
Thousands of other individuals across the country will be sworn in as U.S.
citizens this week.  To help expand opportunities for new U.S. citizens and
recent immigrants, the Clinton-Gore Administration will announce the award
of $25.5 million to states for English language and civics instruction to
help communities provide these important skills to limited English
proficient individuals; the President will direct INS to develop a plan to
redesign and standardize the citizenship testing process to guarantee
consistency nationwide; and finally, the President will urge Congress to
pass legislation that would provide humanitarian relief to American
immigrant families.

AWARD $25.5 MILLION TO STATES FOR THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE/CIVICS INITIATIVE.
The Administration will announce the availability of $25.5 million to
states for the English Language/Civics Initiative, an innovative way to
help states and communities provide limited English proficient (LEP)
individuals with access to high-quality English-language, civics, and life
skills instruction.   This initiative will offer LEP adults opportunities
to master English literacy in order to further their education, obtain good
jobs, and help build a stronger American community. The high demand for
these programs has resulted in waiting lists of thousands of adults across
the country looking for the chance to fully participate in American
society.  The Clinton-Gore Administration has proposed $75 million in FY
2001 to help an estimated 250,000 LEP adults access these critical
opportunities - an increase of nearly $50 million from the FY 2000 enacted
level.

ENSURE CONSISTENCY AND EFICIENCY IN THE CURRENT NATURALIZATON SYSTEM.
Today, the President will direct the INS to develop a plan to redesign and
standardize the current citizenship testing process and report back in 60
days with their proposal.  Currently, different areas of the country use
different tests or testing methods for reading and writing of the English
language and U.S. history and government.  This plan will help guarantee a
consistent test and testing process is available and administered
nationwide.  From 1993 through 1999, 4.37 million individuals became new
Americans; however, there continues to be backlog of applications.  The INS
is on track to meet its goal of reducing this backlog by completing1.3
million applications this fiscal year while maintaining the highest levels
of quality and integrity.

PROVIDE FAIRNESS TO ALL IMMIGRANTS.  The President will urge Congress to
pass two pieces of legislation to correct injustices currently affecting
many immigrants already in our country. The proposed Registry Date
legislation would allow certain long-term immigrants of good moral
character who have been living in the United States for a long time
(fifteen years or more) to apply for legal resident status.  The Central
American and Haitian Parity Act of 1999 would amend the Nicaraguan
Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) to provide certain
nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti an opportunity to
apply for adjustment of status under that Act.  This parity provision would
not only provide compassion and fairness for the affected immigrants, but
also contribute to the development of stability and peace in these emerging
democracies.



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