Expand Access to Adult English Classes

Arizona and the Nation: A Failing State Versus Positive Approaches to Immigrant Integration

As we highlighted two weeks ago, the Arizona legislature and Governor's decisions to pass a punitive, anti-immigrant bill - SB1070 - have unleashed a torrent of condemnations inside and outside of Arizona.  Voices speaking up against the bill have come not only from civil rights organizations, but have also included public safety officials, constitutional legal scholars, and, significantly, Republican leaders and candidates from other states with significant immigrant populations.

State Policymakers Need to Respond to Growing Clout of Latino Voters Nationwide

A recent report from the advocacy group America’s Voice highlighted the growing power of Latino voters in the upcoming 2010 elections.  Latino voters played a critical role in 2008 to propel President Obama to victory in several key swing states that previously trended Republican, including Virginia.  Latino voter registration and turnout rates have exploded over the past few years: roughly 10 million voted in the 2008 Presidential election alone, a 2.5 million increase from 2004 and 4 million person increase since 2000.  Latino voter registration grew by over 54% between 2000 and 2008, and turnout grew 64% over the same time period.  

RELEASE: Policy recommendations from Corzine panel would put NJ at forefront of immigration reform

JERSEY CITY, NJ — At a press conference this morning, Gov. Jon Corzine unveiled the results of his Blue Ribbon Panel on Immigration Policy, which included recommendations for the establishment of an Office on New Americans to help integrate immigrant families into the state’s culture and work force.  Policy experts at the Progressive States Network (PSN) were quick to praise the panel’s recommendations, which they placed within an emerging trend among state lawmakers to include working immigrant families into plans for shared economic growth.

According to PSN Interim Executive Director Nathan Newman, who authored a comprehensive 50-state analysis of state immigration policy last September, “The story that states are rushing out to punish undocumented immigrants is really a smoke screen. When you look at the facts, you see that more and more states are finding ways to integrate immigrants into a growing workforce and thriving small business community.  States like New Jersey realize that there is a far better economic future in working together than there is in dividing the population against itself.”

Learning English the Web Way

Learning English the Web Way

Almost every aspect of immigration in the United States these days is controversial. Here is one that should not be.


Despite claims by anti-immigrant groups that new immigrants do not want to learn English, all evidence shows that there are millions of immigrants literally begging to learn English, only to find insufficient classrooms teaching in their communities.  In Los Angeles, for example, 50,000 students remain on waiting lists for English language classes, even though schools teaching ESL run 24 hours a day.

Many business leaders recognize that problem and want better language training programs, diverging sharply from anti-immigrant groups wanting to deny such help.  A number of states have proposed directed funding to help new immigrants learn English and integrate more easily into their communities:

  • Illinois's SB 1446, also known as the "We Want to Learn English Initiative," was enacted in 2007.  It requires the Illinois Community College Board to administer a program for lawful immigrants and refugees to learn English and move towards becoming full members of American society. The initiative provides for an annual budget of $25 million, with no less than half of the funds appropriated for the Initiative being disbursed through community-based,  not-for-profit organizations, immigrant social service organizations, faith-based organizations, and on-site job training programs.
  • Minnesota's HF 979 / SF 923 in 2007 increased funding for affordable and accessible adult English language instruction. 
  • New York's proposed A2289 would establish a program to provide resources to community-based organizations to facilitate adult English and civics instruction, along with assistance with the citizenship process.

See also:

New PSN Report: The Anti-Immigrant Movement that Failed

Today, the Progressive States Network is releasing a new report: The Anti-Immigrant Movement that Failed: Positive Integration Policies by States Still Far Outweigh Punitive Policies Aimed at New Immigrants.   The Executive Summary is available online, as well as the full report in PDF and HTML format.

State Immigration Project: Policy Options for 2009

Download a copy of the reports in PDF format here.  View the HTML version of the report here.