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[Congressional Record: February 7, 2001 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS
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
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:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
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.
SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.
(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).
SEC. 5. PROGRAM AUTHORIZED.
(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
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.
SEC. 6. APPLICATIONS FOR GRANTS.
(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
(c) Other Application Contents.--Each application submitted
by a partnership under this section for a proposed program
(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
(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
(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.
SEC. 7. SELECTION OF GRANTEES.
(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
(5) the quality of the plan for measuring and assessing
(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.
SEC. 8. EVALUATION AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT.
(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
(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.
SEC. 9. ADMINISTRATIVE FUNDS.
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.
SEC. 10. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
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
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.
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
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.
LULAC National President.
National Council of La Raza,
Washington, DC, January 30, 2001.
Senator Max Cleland,
Senate Dirksen Office Building,
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
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.
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
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.
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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