HIAS Supports the Strengthen and Unite Communities with Civics Education and English Skills Act of 2009

Posted on Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 17:56 pm

(New York, NY) – HIAS, the international migration agency of the American Jewish community, supports the Strengthen and Unite Communities with Civics Education and English Skills Act. This important legislation acknowledges that immigrants want to learn English, become citizens, and participate fully in their adopted country, but frequently are unable to do so because the programs they need are underfunded or non-existent.

“HIAS supports this act because each day we witness the human consequences of the federal government’s ongoing failure to enact immigration policy reforms and the lack of investment in new Americans. As a country, we should be actively engaged in promoting US citizenship and readying immigrants for naturalization,” said HIAS President & CEO Gideon Aronoff. “Many immigrants face barriers to citizenship, including the inability to obtain English-language instruction because thousands are on waiting lists for classes. Senator Gillibrand’s proposal plays a very important role in ensuring that all people who qualify and want to naturalize are able to do so.

“HIAS supports policies and measures that advance practical solutions and honor our heritage as a country that welcomes immigrants. The legislation introduced by Senators Gillibrand and Alexander helps to ensure that we continue to be a nation that embraces newcomers and facilitates their integration into our society as full and equal partners.”

For 128 years, HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, has been dedicated to helping the newest Americans integrate successfully into American life. From Jews fleeing poverty and persecution in Europe and the repression of the former Soviet Union and Iran, to Darfuris, Burmese, Colombians, and others seeking safety around the world, HIAS has provided countless newcomers with the tools they need to begin to rebuild their lives in the United States.