Washington, D.C. (April 15, 2011) – The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice commends U.S. Representative Mike Honda (D-Ca) for reintroducing the Strengthen and Unite Communities with Civics Education and English Development (SUCCEED) Act.
The bill would provide much-needed assistance to populations that are limited English proficient (LEP), allowing these vulnerable community members to learn English, integrate more quickly and fully into American society and maximize their social and economic contributions to our society.
“English language acquisition resources are hugely needed,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of AAJC. “More than 12 percent of Americans, over 37 million, in our country are foreign born, and that close to 55 million Americans speak a language other than English at home.”
“This bill is particularly important for the Asian American community,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. “Nationally, one in three Asian Americans is limited English proficient, and one in four Asian American households is linguistically isolated, meaning that everyone over the age of 14 speaks English less than very well.”
The SUCCEED Act would provide for English literacy instruction on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, naturalization proceedings, civic participation and U.S. history and government. It would also re-establish the Office of Citizenship in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as the Office of Citizenship and Immigrant Integration, which would work to further the integration of immigrants.
“This would allow immigrants to integrate more quickly into American society and to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to become fully active and engaged members,” said Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute. It would also provide critical technical assistance to states and localities and makes grants available to states to establish New American Councils that bring together business, faith, civic, philanthropic, non-profit and education stakeholders to create immigrant integration programs.
Titi Liu, executive director of the Asian Law Caucus, added: “Currently, there simply are not enough programs to meet the tremendous need for English language and civil education programs. We need to enable Asian Americans and other immigrant families to receive the language and skills training they need.”
The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice ( http://www.advancingjustice.org/) works to promote a fair and equitable society for all by working for civil and human rights and empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities, and is comprised of the Asian American Justice Center in Washington, D.C. ( http://www.advancingequality.org), the Asian American Institute in Chicago ( http://www.aaichicago.org/), the Asian Law Caucus ( http://www.asianlawcaucus.org/) in San Francisco and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center ( http://www.apalc.org/) in Los Angeles.