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[Congressional Record: February 7, 2001 (Senate)]
[Page S1122-S1156]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


      By Mr. CLELAND:
  S. 269. A bill to ensure that immigrant students and their families 
receive the services the students and families need to successfully 
participate in elementary schools, secondary schools, and communities 
in the United States, and for other purposes; to the Committee on 
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  Mr. CLELAND. Mr. President, within the last decade, many States have 
experienced a wave of immigration that is rivaling the first and second 
waves of German, Irish, Polish and Scandinavian immigrants who arrived 
in the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In fact, the Census 
Bureau is estimating that these recently arrived immigrants and 
refugees will account for 75 percent of the U.S. population growth over 
the next 50 years. These changing demographics are impacting not just 
communities accustomed to large immigrant populations like New York, 
Los Angeles and Miami, but also non-traditional immigrant communities 
like Gainesville, Georgia and Fremont County, Idaho.
  One result of our new wave of immigrants is a significant increase in 
the number of children with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds 
enrolling in our schools. The Waterloo, Iowa school system, for 
example, is being challenged to teach 400 Bosnian refugee children, who 
came here without knowing our language, culture or customs. Schools in 
Wausau, Wisconsin are filled with Asian children who want to achieve 
success in the United States. In Dalton, Georgia, over 51 percent of 
the student population in the public schools are Hispanic children 
eager to participate in their new schools and communities. In Turner, 
Maine, the school-aged children of hundreds of recently arrived Latino 
immigrant families are pouring into this rural town's schools.
  It is clear that U.S. schools from Florida to Washington State are 
being increasingly challenged by these changing demographics. We need 
to make sure that these children are served appropriately--and that 
their families are as well. Studies have shown that where quality 
educational programs are joined with community-based services, 
immigrants have an increased opportunity to become an integral part of 
their community and their children are better prepared to achieve 
success in school.
  The recent influx of immigrants into U.S. communities calls for 
innovative and comprehensive solutions. Today I am reintroducing the 
Immigrants to New Americans Act. This legislation would establish a 
competitive grant program within the Department of Education to assist 
schools and communities which are experiencing an influx of recently 
arrived immigrant families. Specifically, this grant program would 
provide funding to partnerships of local school districts and 
community-based organizations for the purpose of developing model 
programs with a two-fold purpose: to assist culturally and 
linguistically diverse children achieve success in America's schools 
and to provide their families with access to comprehensive community 
services, including health care, child care, job training and 
  It does take a village to raise a child, Mr. President.
  I have seen firsthand the benefits of one community's program that 
brings together teachers, community leaders and businesses in an 
innovative partnership to aid their linguistically and culturally 
diverse population. It is the Georgia Project, and its mission is to 
assist immigrant children from Mexico achieve to higher standards in 
Dalton, Georgia's public schools.
  In recent years, the carpet and poultry industries in Dalton and 
surrounding Whitfield County experienced

[[Page S1123]]

the need for a larger workforce. The city's visionary leaders 
encouraged immigrants from Mexico to settle in their community to fill 
that need. The challenge has been in Dalton's public school system 
where Hispanic enrollment went from being just four percent ten years 
ago to over 51 percent today.
  To deal with this sizable increase, Dalton and Whitfield County 
public school administrators and business leaders formed a public-
private consortium. This consortium, known as The Georgia Project, 
initiated a teacher exchange program in 1996 with the University of 
Monterrey in Mexico. Today, twenty teachers from Mexico are helping to 
bridge the language and culture gap by serving as instructors, 
counselors and role models and providing Spanish language training to 
English-speaking students. In addition, Dalton public school teachers 
spend a month each year in Monterrey, Mexico learning firsthand the 
culture, language and customs of the Hispanic students they serve.
  There are other programs across the United States that address 
similar challenges experienced by the City of Dalton and Whitfield 
County. One such example is the Lao Family Project in St. Paul, 
Minnesota. This is a community-based refugee assistance organization 
that provides a wide range of parent-student services to Hmong and 
Vietnamese refugees in St. Paul in an effort to help parents become 
economically self-sufficient and their children succeed in school. The 
Lao Family Project's staff are bilingual/bicultural para-professionals 
who provide services that include adult English-language acquisition 
programs and preschool literacy activities for children.
  In the rural communities of Healdsburg and Windsor, California, the 
Even Start program provides a variety of instructional and support 
services to low-income, recently arrived Hispanic immigrant families 
and their preschool and elementary school children. The program focuses 
on increasing family involvement in their children's education, helping 
parents and children with their literacy skills, and offering English 
as a second language course. Many of the instructional activities for 
the parents' classes are coordinated with the classroom teachers to 
ensure consistency with what is being taught to both the parent and 
child. One focus of these classes is to communicate what the children 
are learning in their regular classes so that parents can help their 
children at home.
  The Exemplary Multicultural Practices in Rural Education Program, or 
EMPIRE, operates in the Yakima region of rural Central Washington 
State, an area with a diverse mix of ethnic groups, including 
Caucasians, Hispanics, Native Americans, African Americans, and Asian 
Americans. The program promotes positive race relations and an 
appreciation for ethnic and cultural differences. It encourages schools 
to develop learning environments where children of all backgrounds can 
be successful in school and in the community. With support from 
EMPIRE's board of advisors, each school designs and carries out its own 
projects based on local resources and needs. Schools in which EMPIRE is 
active plan a wide variety of programs and activities with emphasis on 
staff development, student awareness, parent involvement and 
improvement of curriculum and instruction.
  The Immigrants to New Americans Act is not a one-size-fits-all 
approach. It rewards model programs designed by individual communities 
to address that community's specific needs and challenges. The 
legislation is endorsed by the National Association for Bilingual 
Education, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National 
Council of La Raza, the Hispanic Education Coalition, the India Abroad 
Center for Political Awareness, the Southeast Asia Resource Action 
Center, and the National Korean American Service and Education 
  Our Nation's communities are being transformed by the diverse culture 
of their citizens. Successfully addressing this change will require 
leadership, creative thinking and an eagerness to encourage and promote 
the promise that these new challenges bring. By doing so, we as a 
Nation will better serve all our children--the best guarantee we have 
of ensuring America's strength, well into the 21st Century and beyond.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill and 
the letters of support be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                 S. 269

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Immigrants to New Americans 

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress makes the following findings:
       (1) In 1997, there were an estimated 25,800,000 foreign-
     born individuals residing in the United States. That number 
     is the largest number of such foreign-born individuals in 
     United States history and represents a 6,000,000, or 30 
     percent, increase over the 1990 census figure of 19,800,000 
     of such foreign-born individuals. The Bureau of the Census 
     estimates that the recently arrived immigrant population 
     (including the refugee population) currently residing in the 
     Nation will account for 75 percent of the population growth 
     in the United States over the next 50 years.
       (2) For millions of immigrants settling into the Nation's 
     hamlets, towns, and cities, the dream of ``life, liberty, and 
     the pursuit of happiness'' has become a reality. The wave of 
     immigrants, of various nationalities, who have chosen the 
     United States as their home, has positively influenced the 
     Nation's image and relationship with other nations. The 
     diverse cultural heritage of the Nation's immigrants has 
     helped define the Nation's culture, customs, economy, and 
     communities. By better understanding the people who have 
     immigrated to the Nation, individuals in the United States 
     better understand what it means to be an American.
       (3) There is a critical shortage of teachers with the 
     skills needed to educate immigrant students and their 
     families in nonconcentrated, nontraditional, immigrant 
     communities as well as communities with large immigrant 
     populations. The large influx of immigrant families over the 
     last decade presents a national dilemma: The number of such 
     families with school-age children requiring assistance to 
     successfully participate in elementary schools, secondary 
     schools, and communities in the United States, is increasing 
     without a corresponding increase in the number of teachers 
     with skills to accommodate their needs.
       (4) Immigrants arriving in communities across the Nation 
     generally settle into high-poverty areas, where funding for 
     programs to provide immigrant students and their families 
     with the services the students and families need to 
     successfully participate in elementary schools, secondary 
     schools, and communities in the United States is inadequate.
       (5) The influx of immigrant families settling into many 
     United States communities is often the result of concerted 
     efforts by local employers who value immigrant labor. Those 
     employers realize that helping immigrants to become 
     productive, prosperous members of a community is beneficial 
     for the local businesses involved, the immigrants, and the 
     community. Further, local businesses benefit from the 
     presence of the immigrant families because the families 
     present businesses with a committed and effective workforce 
     and help open up new market opportunities. However, many of 
     the communities into which the immigrants have settled need 
     assistance in order to give immigrant students and their 
     families the services the students and families need to 
     successfully participate in elementary schools, secondary 
     schools, and communities in the United States.

     SEC. 3. PURPOSE.

       The purpose of this Act is to establish a grant program, 
     within the Department of Education, that provides funding to 
     partnerships of local educational agencies and community-
     based organizations for the development of model programs to 
     provide immigrant students and their families with the 
     services the students and families need to successfully 
     participate in elementary schools, secondary schools, and 
     communities in the United States.


       (1) Immigrant.--In this Act, the term ``immigrant'' has the 
     meaning given the term in section 101 of the Immigration and 
     Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101).
       (2) Other terms.--Other terms used in this Act have the 
     meanings given the terms in section 14101 of the Elementary 
     and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 8801).


       (a) In General.--The Secretary of Education may award not 
     more than 10 grants in a fiscal year to eligible partnerships 
     for the design and implementation of model programs to--
       (1) assist immigrant students achieve in elementary schools 
     and secondary schools in the United States by offering such 
     educational services as English as a second language classes, 
     literacy programs, programs for introduction to the education 
     system, and civics education; and
       (2) assist parents of immigrant students by offering such 
     services as parent education and literacy development 
     services and by coordinating activities with other entities 

[[Page S1124]]

     provide comprehensive community social services such as 
     health care, job training, child care, and transportation 
       (b) Eligible Partnerships.--To be eligible to receive a 
     grant under this Act, a partnership--
       (1) shall include--
       (A) at least 1 local educational agency; and
       (B) at least 1 community-based organization; and
       (2) may include another entity such as--
       (A) an institution of higher education;
       (B) a local or State government agency;
       (C) a private sector entity; or
       (D) another entity with expertise in working with 
       (c) Duration.--Each grant awarded under this Act shall be 
     awarded for a period of not more than 5 years. A partnership 
     may use funds made available through the grant for not more 
     than 1 year for planning and program design.


       (a) In General.--Each eligible partnership desiring a grant 
     under this Act shall submit an application to the Secretary 
     at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may require.
       (b) Required Documentation.--Each application submitted by 
     a partnership under this section for a proposed program shall 
     include documentation that--
       (1) the partnership has the qualified personnel required to 
     develop, administer, and implement the proposed program; and
       (2) the leadership of each participating school has been 
     involved in the development and planning of the program in 
     the school.
       (c) Other Application Contents.--Each application submitted 
     by a partnership under this section for a proposed program 
     shall include--
       (1) a list of the organizations entering into the 
       (2) a description of the need for the proposed program, 
     including data on the number of immigrant students, and the 
     number of such students with limited English proficiency in 
     the schools or school districts to be served through the 
     program and the characteristics of the students described in 
     this paragraph, including--
       (A) the native languages of the students to be served;
       (B) the proficiency of the students in English and the 
     students' native languages;
       (C) achievement data for the students in--
       (i) reading or language arts (in English and in the 
     students' native languages, if applicable); and
       (ii) mathematics; and
       (D) the previous schooling experiences of the students;
       (3) a description of the goals of the program;
       (4) a description of how the funds made available through 
     the grant will be used to supplement the basic services 
     provided to the immigrant students to be served;
       (5) a description of activities that will be pursued by the 
     partnership through the program, including a description of--
       (A) how parents, students, and other members of the 
     community, including members of private organizations and 
     nonprofit organizations, will be involved in the design and 
     implementation of the program;
       (B) how the activities will further the academic 
     achievement of immigrant students served through the program;
       (C) methods of teacher training and parent education that 
     will be used or developed through the program, including the 
     dissemination of information to immigrant parents, that is 
     easily understandable in the language of the parents, about 
     educational programs and the rights of the parents to 
     participate in educational decisions involving their 
     children; and
       (D) methods of coordinating comprehensive community social 
     services to assist immigrant families;
       (6) a description of how the partnership will evaluate the 
     progress of the partnership in achieving the goals of the 
       (7) a description of how the local educational agency will 
     disseminate information on model programs, materials, and 
     other information developed under this Act that the local 
     educational agency determines to be appropriate for use by 
     other local educational agencies in establishing similar 
     programs to facilitate the educational achievement of 
     immigrant students;
       (8) an assurance that the partnership will annually provide 
     to the Secretary such information as may be required to 
     determine the effectiveness of the program; and
       (9) any other information that the Secretary may require.


       (a) Criteria.--The Secretary, through a peer review 
     process, shall select partnerships to receive grants under 
     this Act on the basis of the quality of the programs proposed 
     in the applications submitted under section 6, taking into 
     consideration such factors as--
       (1) the extent to which the program proposed in such an 
     application effectively addresses differences in language, 
     culture, and customs;
       (2) the quality of the activities proposed by a 
       (3) the extent of parental, student, and community 
       (4) the extent to which the partnership will ensure the 
     coordination of comprehensive community social services with 
     the program;
       (5) the quality of the plan for measuring and assessing 
     success; and
       (6) the likelihood that the goals of the program will be 
       (b) Geographic Distribution of Programs.--The Secretary 
     shall approve applications under this Act in a manner that 
     ensures, to the extent practicable, that programs assisted 
     under this Act serve different areas of the Nation, including 
     urban, suburban, and rural areas, with special attention to 
     areas that are experiencing an influx of immigrant groups 
     (including refugee groups), and that have limited prior 
     experience in serving the immigrant community.


       (a) Requirement.--Each partnership receiving a grant under 
     this Act shall--
       (1) conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the program 
     assisted under this Act, including an evaluation of the 
     impact of the program on students, teachers, administrators, 
     parents, and others; and
       (2) prepare and submit to the Secretary a report containing 
     the results of the evaluation.
       (b) Evaluation Report Components.--Each evaluation report 
     submitted under this section for a program shall include--
       (1) data on the partnership's progress in achieving the 
     goals of the program;
       (2) data showing the extent to which all students served by 
     the program are meeting the State's student performance 
     standards, including--
       (A) data comparing the students served under this Act with 
     other students, with regard to grade retention and academic 
     achievement in reading and language arts, in English and in 
     the native languages of the students if the program develops 
     native language proficiency, and in mathematics; and
       (B) a description of how the activities carried out through 
     the program are coordinated and integrated with the overall 
     school program of the school in which the program described 
     in this Act is carried out, and with other Federal, State, or 
     local programs serving limited English proficient students;
       (3) data showing the extent to which families served by the 
     program have been afforded access to comprehensive community 
     social services; and
       (4) such other information as the Secretary may require.


       A partnership that receives a grant under this Act may use 
     not more than 5 percent of the grant funds received under 
     this Act for administrative purposes.


       There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this 
     Act $10,000,000 for fiscal year 2002 and such sums as may be 
     necessary for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years.

                                          National Association for

                                          Bilingual Education,

                                 Washington, DC, January 29, 2001.
     Hon. Max Cleland,
     U.S. Senate, Senate Dirksen Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cleland: On behalf of the National Association 
     for Bilingual Education (NABE), I want to thank you for 
     introducing legislation that will help address one of the 
     greatest challenges facing the American educational system--
     that of addressing the changing needs of emerging immigrant 
       The dramatic demographic changes that are taking place in 
     our nation are forcing school districts and communities to 
     reevaluate their ability to integrate America's newcomers. 
     While it was once the case that immigrants settled primarily 
     in urban areas like New York City or Los Angeles, poultry 
     processing plants, meat packing firms, and other businesses 
     are attracting immigrants to states like Georgia, Iowa, 
     Arkansas, North Carolina and Idaho. Often, these communities 
     have no experience in helping immigrant children and families 
     integrate so that they too will attain the American dream and 
     help make our country stronger.
       Your bill clearly recognizes the contributions that 
     immigrants have made to the United States over its history, 
     and takes a definitive step forward in the spirit of 
     empowerment through education and community-based 
     collaboration. NABE strongly believes that given the 
     appropriate tools and support immigrant students will rise to 
     the highest of levels of achievement. Our endorsement of this 
     forward-thinking legislation is a reaffirmation of this 
     philosophy, and we hope your colleagues in Congress will 
     grant it prompt approval. Once again, I commend you on the 
     introduction of this important piece of legislation.
                                                      Delia Pompa,
     Executive Director.

                                                  League of United

                                      Latin American Citizens,

                                 Washington, DC, January 26, 2001.
     Hon. Max Cleland,
     U.S. Senate, Dirksen Senate Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cleland: The League of United Latin American 
     Citizens (LULAC) wishes to thank you for your efforts at 
     facilitating and enhancing the ability of immigrant children 
     and their families to achieve success in America's schools 
     and communities. We would like to strongly support your 
     legislation, ``The Immigrants to New Americans Act.''
       We believe that this act will greatly enhance the ability 
     for schools and community-based services to develop model 
     programs aimed at helping immigrant students

[[Page S1125]]

     and their families to receive the tools that they need to be 
     successful in their new homeland.
       We find that this closely supports our mission and beliefs 
     that immigrants should be supported in any way possible. 
     LULAC is the oldest and largest Latino civil rights 
     organization in the United States. LULAC advances the 
     economic conditions, educational attainment, political 
     influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans 
     through community-based programs operating at more than 700 
     LULAC Councils nationwide.
       Once again, thank you for putting forth this effort to help 
     those who need a little help getting started in this country. 
     Your legislation will help to carry the United States in a 
     positive way well into the 21st century.
                                                    Rick Dovalina,
     LULAC National President.

                                  National Council of La Raza,

                                 Washington, DC, January 30, 2001.
     Senator Max Cleland,
     Senate Dirksen Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cleland: The National Council of La Raza 
     (NCLR) thanks you for your effort to facilitate and enhance 
     the participation of immigrants in American society. In 
     particular, we would like to express our support for your 
     legislation, the ``Immigrants to New Americans Act,'' which 
     would provide education, adult English as a Second Language 
     (ESL), job training, and other important services to 
     immigrants in ``emerging'' communities.
       Over the past decade, dramatic shifts have occurred in the 
     immigrant population in the United States, particularly among 
     Hispanic immigrants. Many Hispanic immigrants have settled in 
     areas where their presence had previously been virtually 
     invisible. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau determined 
     that the South (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, 
     Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) 
     experienced a 93% increase in its Hispanic population from 
     1990 to 1998, far outpacing growth in ``traditional'' 
     Hispanic states like California, New York, and Texas, where 
     increases hovered around 32%. While the U.S. Census Bureau 
     estimated the total Hispanic population in the South in 1998 
     to be 640,870, unofficial estimates place the Hispanic 
     population of both Georgia and North Carolina at close to 
     500,000 in each state. Midwestern states have also 
     experienced significant increases in their Hispanic 
     populations during this period, such as Iowa (74%), Minnesota 
     (61%), and Nebraska (96%). Many of these Hispanics are 
     immigrants in search of employment.
       The emergence of new immigrant populations has created a 
     significant need for educational and social services. The 
     search for employment opportunities has historically been the 
     primary impetus for the migration of immigrants. An ever-
     increasing availability of permanent employment has provided 
     the opportunity for many immigrants to settle with their 
     spouses and children, often in areas where previously there 
     had only been seasonal agricultural work available. However, 
     these opportunities have largely been in unskilled or low-
     skilled, low-paying jobs, such as the textile, poultry, and 
     construction industries in the South; meat- and vegetable-
     packing in the Midwest; and light manufacturing and service-
     sector work in major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, 
     and Houston. As these new immigrant populations form 
     permanent settlements, they often face social isolation and 
     disconnection from mainstream society.
       Emerging immigrant communities face a multitude of issues 
     in adapting to their new environment. Among the needs 
     identified in these communities are access to rigorous 
     standards-based curriculum in the public schools, effective 
     parental involvement in their children's education, adult 
     English-language acquisition programs, quality child care, 
     and employment and training. Your legislation would help 
     local communities to provide services in each of these 
     critical areas.
       NCLR believes that the ``Immigrants to New Americans Act'' 
     can have a significant, positive impact on the lives of many 
     immigrant children and families, and on the communities in 
     which they are settling. That is why we strongly support your 
     legislation and encourage the entire Congress to do the same.
                                                   Raul Yzaguirre,

                                 Hispanic Education Coalition,

                                                 January 29, 2001.
     Hon. Max Cleland,
     U.S. Senate, Senate Dirksen Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Cleland: On behalf of the Hispanic Education 
     Coalition (HEC)--an ad hoc coalition of national 
     organizations dedicated to improving educational 
     opportunities for over 30 million Hispanics living in the 
     United States--we are writing to commend you for introducing 
     The Immigrants to New Americans Act. We support this 
     legislation because it will help improve educational 
     opportunities for Hispanic Americans by supporting education 
     and community-based collaboration.
       Recent demographic data show that Hispanic children are the 
     fastest growing segment of the school-aged population. While 
     the majority of Hispanic children live in large urban areas 
     in states like California, Texas and Florida, more and more 
     Hispanic families are migrating to states like Arkansas, 
     Iowa, North Carolina and Georgia. Emerging immigrant 
     communities face a multitude of issues in adapting to their 
     new environment such as academic and language support and 
     effective parental involvement in their children's public 
     schools, adult English-language acquisition programs, and 
     employment and training. Communities like Rogers, Arkansas 
     are in dire need of assistance to ensure new Hispanic and 
     immigrant families are integrated in their communities and 
       The Immigrants to Americans Act recognizes that while local 
     communities may need support, they are ultimately in the best 
     position to address the needs of the newly arrived Hispanic 
     immigrant families. We are particularly supportive of the 
     inclusion of community-based organizations as partners in 
     developing model programs that help immigrant children 
     succeed in schools and provide families with access to 
     community services.
       HEC believes that The Immigrants to New Americans Act can 
     have a significant, positive impact on the lives of many 
     immigrant children and families, their local communities and 
     our nation. That is why we strongly support your legislation 
     and encourage the entire Congress to do the same.

                                               Patricia Loera,

                                    Co-Chair, National Association
                                          For Bilingual Education.

       On behalf of: Association for the Advancement of Mexican 
     Americans (AAMA); HEP-CAMP Association; Hispanic Association 
     of Colleges and Universities (HACU); League of United Latin 
     American Citizens (LULAC); Migrant Legal Action Program; 
     National Association for Migrant Education (NAME); National 
     Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials 
     (NALEO); National Council of La Raza (NLCR); National Puerto 
     Rican Coalition (NPRC).

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