Thursday, May 31, 2007

Volunteer teaches life skills to immigrants

What this country and this world needs is more people like Ms. Jo Fowler. DP

By Samantha Nelson, Downers Grove Reporter DOWNERS GROVE IL - As a first generation American, Downers Grove resident Jo Fowler can emphasize with the immigrants she tutors.

A dietitian with a masters degree in education, Fowler saw an advertisement for Literacy Volunteers of DuPage 18 years ago and wanted to help. Since becoming a volunteer, she has used her one-on-one sessions to teach people from across the world the basics of living in America.

“You try to give them practical information, the kind of information that you need for shopping, applying for a job, what kind of tools you need as far as language is concerned,” said Fowler, who was honored as part of Volunteer Week in April.

Most of her students have at least some basic English, and Fowler uses dictionaries and tools from her classes through Literacy Volunteers to enhance their communication skills. She has learned to help people achieve big goals such as obtaining their driver’s license or becoming a U.S. citizen, or more common tasks like seeing a doctor or getting their hair done.

“Each student has their own problems, so when you first meet them, you have to feel out where they are,” Fowler said. “It’s really customized teaching. We don’t use any set forms of books or lessons. You might be given suggestions, but it is more or less a lesson that you develop between you and the student.”

Fowler typically meets her student for two hours each week. While some students are afraid to talk on the phone because they do not know the right words, others are mostly concerned with learning grammar, which Fowler said is one of the hardest things to grasp.

“When we talk, we talk kind of casually,” Fowler said. “Sometimes our verbs aren’t so good. When you write a language you have to know how to make a sentence, you have to know more grammar, how to put it together in the right form.”

One of her most advanced students needed help writing essays for an exam to become a CPA, which she passed on the second try. Fowler still keeps in touch with one of her first students, who now teaches piano in New Jersey. In turn Fowler said she has learned a good deal herself.

“I thought it was just interesting to learn about other cultures,” she said. “I had students from more than five different countries. So every time you get a person from a different country you learn about their customs, their ways of doing things.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Immigrants Apply For Citizenship In Record Numbers

It is good that these people are finally applying for citizenship. It is a shame it took rising fees to get them to do it, they have been missing out on many benefits. Hopefully they will register to vote when they are eligible. DP As changes loom, record numbers of immigrants are scrambling to become U.S. Citizens.

The rush for citizenship comes as Congress considers overhauling immigration laws. Senators spent last week debating a bill aimed at toughening border security and giving quick legal status to the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. Federal officials are also finalizing plans to raise application fees, in some cases more than doubling the cost.

Under the proposed changes, citizenship applications would increase from $330 to $595, an 80 percent hike. The yearly work permit renewal would increase 89 percent, from $180 to $340.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, more than 118,000 immigrants in the U.S. filed for citizenship in March. That's compared with slightly more than 74,000 in March 2006.

In Florida, citizenship applications rose 62 percent in the first quarter of 2007.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Mexico native overcomes language barrier to graduate

An inspiring story about a high school graduate with a 3.65 grade point average, who learned English from her high school classmates. DP

By BEVERLY CORBELL The Daily Sentinel DELTA — Many Delta High School seniors overcame “great difficulties” to graduate Sunday night, said principal Delaine Hudson, and among them is Lucero Montes, who barely spoke a word of English when she began her high school career.

Lucero, 17, not only overcame her language barriers, but also graduated with a 3.65 grade point average while simultaneously finishing a two-year curriculum in cosmetology at the Delta-Montrose Technical College.

She moved here at age 12 from Chihuahua, Mexico with her three sisters and her parents, Maria and Eduardo Montes, who speak no English, Lucero said. It wasn’t easy for her at first.

When she first came to America, her other classmates treated her badly, she said, especially other girls from Mexico who already spoke English.

“Then I started making friends in the ninth grade and they started putting me in classes with more white people to learn more,” she said.

“I only took two classes in English as a Second Language.”

But that’s ultimately what Lucero wants to do: teach English to kids like herself.

“I was accepted at Metropolitan State College of Denver and I would like to major in education and teach English as a second language,” she said.

Getting through college won’t be any easier than mastering high school, because it’s expensive, she said, but Lucero plans to work as a cosmetologist to put herself through college.
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Not just bilingualism - biliteracy

This story shows how important it is to not only be bilingual, as many immigrants are, but to also be able to read and write in both languages. Children of immigrants often cannot read their parents' language. DP

Schools nurture kids in English, other languages

By Maria Glod, The Washington Post The fourth-graders at Bailey's Elementary School in Falls Church, Va., reached for pink paper, markers and glue one day last week to make Mother's Day cards. Their teacher, seizing an opportunity for a lesson in adjectives, asked them to think of words that describe their mothers.

"Bella," one student yelled.
"Buena," another added.
Dora Hernandez Manuel paused.

"How do you write 'mucho'?" she asked. With a little help, she sounded out the word and finished her card: "¡Te amo mamita mucho porque tu eres bonita!" ("I love you, Mommy, because you are pretty!"

Dora and the other children in the Bailey's Heritage Language Literacy Club speak Spanish as their first language. But although they talk with ease in their native tongue, they struggle to read it and write it because most, or even all, of their formal schooling has been in English. In the after-school club, they're reading and writing in Spanish, learning basic grammar and expanding their vocabularies.
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End of the long road: 199 immigrants become Americans at Cerritos

People from 48 countries all became US citizens, all waited 5-15 years for this day. DP

By Jason Ludwig It was a packed auditorium Wednesday morning at Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary School, where 199 immigrants from 48 countries stood to take the last step to becoming full-fledged U.S. citizens.

From places as disparate as Mexico, China, Iraq and New Zealand, the day was a culmination of anywhere between five and 15 years of waiting for some of them.

But this was it.

“Congratulations,” said speaker Slade Mead, a former state senator and Ahwatukee Foothills resident. “It’s fun to be in the same nation as you.”

The event was particularly meaningful to one participant: Ahwatukee Foothills resident and popular Cerritos teacher aide Karol Pacheco. It was her transition from Mexican national to U.S. citizen that prompted the naturalization ceremony to be held in the school’s auditorium.

“I’m going to try not to cry,” Mead said, visibly pleased. “I got a phone call from Mrs. Karol saying she was going to be a citizen and could she come to the ceremony. The excitement in that phone call was electric.”
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Madina mosque is Muslim cab drivers’ spiritual pit stop

This story illustrates how people who have emigrated here are able to keep up some of their own practices and culture. DP

By Alyssa Giachino In the predawn chill of a weekday in early spring, at an East Village mosque the entryway shelves were brimming with the shoes of worshipers. Favored footwear styles were sturdy tennis shoes and dusty work boots, most with well-worn heels.

Inside, more than 200 men knelt side by side on emerald green carpeting, knees resting on the magenta stripes that run diagonally across the room to ensure that worshipers face Mecca. The men murmured prayers in Arabic and listened to the hum of the imam’s voice over the loudspeaker. Around 6:40 a.m., the congregants began to file out, jostling for space in the small foyer, hopping on one foot to pull on socks, then wiggling into their shoes. African men moved past Pakistanis, Arabs and African-Americans as they all emerged into the gray morning light. Many headed for taxis parked on the streets flanking the Madina Masjid, at 401 E. 11th St. at First Ave.

Uddim Akmmonir, a Bengali cabdriver, comes here for the morning prayer almost every day from his home in Jackson Heights, Queens. He wakes up around 4:30 a.m. to make it to the 6:30 a.m. prayer, after which he starts his workday.

“Before 7 o’clock, I don’t take nobody,” he said. “First I come here to pray.”

New York City is home to around 600,000 Muslims and has more than 100 mosques and Islamic cultural centers serving largely immigrants, their children and African-American Muslims. Estimates of the U.S. Muslim population range from 5 million to 8 million. More accurate numbers are hard to get since the census does not collect data on religious affiliation.
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Monday, May 21, 2007

Officers Hope To Gain Immigrants' Trust

This is a good way to get immigrants accustomed to the police being helpful and not to avoid them as they did in their home countries. DP HAMILTON, Ohio -- When police officers pull up to a group of people in Hispanic neighborhoods, those who don’t speak English often go inside or walk the other way.

Hamilton police officers have enacted a new plan to gain the trust of Hispanic immigrants, many of whom feel uncomfortable around or intimidated by uniformed officers.

“Some are in fear,” said Officer Eric Taylor, who speaks Spanish. “They come from other countries where they don't have relationships with police, and that's what we're trying to break.”

Taylor tries to break down some of those barriers each time he walks the beat.
“He speaks Spanish, (so) I get along with him more,” said teenager Santos Hernandez.

Hamilton police have opened Butler County’s first Hispanic police academy to help increase immigrants’ understanding of United States laws and customs.

The classes focus on driving, alcohol and domestic abuse, which can vary legally and culturally in Latin American countries.
“There's a lot of domestic violence issues, just because the cultures are different,” Taylor said.

The officer said landlords take advantage of many immigrants by charging outrageous rents, and other businesses, such as moneylenders, do the same.

The buy-here, pay-here auto loans – we get complaints about that,” Taylor said. “You buy this car this week and it gets repossessed next week because they don't understand what contracts are.”

Officers hope to teach immigrants about those basic issues to help them stay out of trouble and help gain the trust of this fast-growing community.

“We're not here to be feared,” Taylor said. “Our job is to protect and to serve.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bilingual skills shine

This story shows how valuable it is to be fluent in 2 languages. Most second generation immigrants lose their parents' language and many regret it. DP Susan Mattingly grew up speaking and writing in English and Spanish because her Cuban-born mother wanted to keep the family's Latino heritage alive.

Now at 40, Mattingly finds her fluency in a second language in demand as a telephone agent for Arise Virtual Solutions, a call center that provides customer service for about 40 companies across the country.

Working from her Greenville, S.C., home, Mattingly fields calls from Puerto Rico, Hawaii and abroad for clients of an insurance company.

"I would say daily to weekly I use my (Spanish language) skills," Mattingly said. "It seems a great gift that I speak Spanish."

Mary Bartlett, talent manager for Arise, said about a third of the independent contractors who work for the company are bilingual, many of them immigrants or first-generation Americans who grew up speaking the language of their parents' homelands.

"By far the biggest demand we have is for Spanish. I don't see this trend slowing down," Bartlett said. "They want someone who can really connect with the customer."

Mattingly is among an estimated 11 percent of Americans who speak English and a second language fluently, according to the Census Bureau.
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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mexican students learn struggles of immigrant workers

A very interesting story about Mexico City college students who don't know anything about their own poor citizens and what is forcing them to risk going to the U.S. They are learning their own peoples' stories as cultural exchange students in New York. DP

By CANDICE FERRETTE, THE JOURNAL NEWS Before this year, Karla Villasenor did not speak to day laborers - she had no reason to.

The 21-year-old Mexican college student had nothing in common with the workers on the streets of Mexico City and knew very little about how or why they left for the United States.

Then she studied abroad in Westchester.

"I was shocked to hear about the risks they took to get here. They leave behind so much, and they are so vulnerable here," Villasenor said after translating a newspaper article to a room full of day laborers on a recent morning at Neighbors Link in Mount Kisco. "When I go back to Mexico, I know there's a lot of work to be done so they don't have to leave."

Villasenor, a student at Universidad Iberoamericana, one of Mexico's most elite universities, was among the first to participate in a new cultural and social exchange program with Purchase College. This semester, the four students - all young women - interned at four Westchester Hispanic advocacy organizations. They coordinated jobs for day laborers, helped teach English classes and educated new immigrants on their constitutional rights.

In the process, the students, members of Mexico's upper class, found that they had to cross an international border before breaching their country's social divide.

"The people we're helping here are the people that work for us back there. I never thought that I could be useful to them," said Emilia Galvez, 22, who interned at the Don Bosco hiring site in Port Chester.
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Immigrants in the Twin Cities add new life to the economy

Minnesota's immigrants are helping the economy there. Even if they are not documented, each one produces enough to provide one more job to legal residents. DP

by DENNIS GEISINGER Blanche Ndangha is a native of Cameroon. In 1992 she fled political violence that burned her mother’s house and forced her, while pregnant, to walk for days through the bush of her West African nation and board a flight that ultimately brought her to Minneapolis.

Blanche Ndangha is a native of Cameroon. In 1992 she fled political violence that burned her mother’s house and forced her, while pregnant, to walk for days through the bush of her West African nation and board a flight that ultimately brought her to Minneapolis.

Numbers given for undocumented immigrants in the state vary widely. In a 2003 report, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) estimated that Minnesota harbored 60,000 illegal immigrants at the turn of the century, but the Minnesota State Demographic Center says this number “seems very high,” does not think there are reliable data and has not produced its own estimate. A report prepared for a Hispanic advocacy group in 2000 counted “at least 18,000 and probably as many as 48,000” undocumented workers laboring within our borders. The Minnesota Department of Administration in 2005 cited “recent estimates” of between 80,000 to 85,000 illegals.

Similarly, research on the fiscal effects of immigrant populations has been driven and interpreted in different ways for different reasons. Witness last year’s positive “Economic Impact of Immigrants” by Minnesota’s Legislative Auditor and 2000’s highly favorable research done in part for the Humphrey Institute that concludes “every undocumented worker produces enough to provide at least one more job to a citizen or legal resident in Minnesota” and “without the work currently provided by undocumented labor, economic growth in Minnesota would be significantly reduced.”
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Saturday, May 12, 2007

A second generation's balancing act

This is a good story about the difficulties that second generation immigrants have. They have to try to live in both worlds. DP

With a foot in two worlds, a Hanover woman combines an American life with her parents' deep Mexican roots

By JENNIFER VOGELSONG, Daily Record/Sunday News In the middle of Elsa Lua's senior year of high school, her family left California to join relatives in Hanover and look for better-paying jobs.

Lua wasn't happy. Compared to California, Hanover was boring. She hated her new school and fell into a depression. "I was like the only raisin in the milk," she said.

One day, she just stopped going.

She knew it was a disappointment for her parents, who risked crossing the U.S./Mexico border for a chance at a better life for themselves and their children.

They didn't say much, but she knew.

She took a factory job, but quickly realized it wasn't her thing and decided the only option was to go back to school.

So she got her graduate equivalency diploma, an associate degree and a job as a medical assistant. Now, nearly 10 years later, Lua has her own apartment, a boyfriend, and is taking classes to become a dental hygienist.
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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Early 20th-century immigrants had a rough road, too

This article reminds us about immigrants who came here 100 years ago and acted exactly the same as immigrants now. They didn't learn English instantly (or ever), they lived in their own communities, and their children and grandchildren are the ones who assimilated. DP

By JENNIFER VOGELSONG, For The Evening Sun It's easy to look at dropout rates or labor force data and conclude that the children of today's immigrants aren't progressing as fast as they should; that they are being left behind in ESL classes, low-paying service jobs and cycles of crime and teen pregnancy.

And so national leaders fret, worrying that immigration is pulling apart the threads of American society, rather than weaving into its fabric.

But America has been through this before.

Yes, many of the immigrants who came in the early part of the 20th century were white Europeans. And yes, most of them came to this country legally.

But that doesn't mean they didn't set up shop in ethnic enclaves, face language barriers and struggle with prejudice and discrimination.

Nancy Foner, a professor of sociology and immigration studies at Hunter College in New York City, said there is a tendency to romanticize the past and come to dire conclusions about the present situation.

"People look at the great-grandchildren of these immigrants and see their success and don't remember the struggles," she said. "They think the children (of earlier immigrants) grew up and immediately went to Harvard to become doctors and lawyers."
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Reaching out by teaching - tutors show love to new arrivals

On a small scale, this tutoring program is helping people learn the everyday things they need. DP

By Luke DeKoster, special to Sioux County Index HULL, Iowa (STPNS) -- The easy part – passing an English-only bill – is long finished. And there are plenty of eager students in nearly every small town.

But where are the teachers? Right under our noses, as it turns out, and always looking for more help.

A little-known program, run by Amistad Cristiana and two Dordt College staff members, matches interested English students with native-speaking volunteers. The program doesn’t even have a name, which explains why you may not have heard of it.

“People telling people”

According to Lorna Van Gilst, a professor of English at Dordt who has served as volunteer coordinator since 1999, the program began in the mid-1990s, around the same time Sioux Center’s Amistad Cristiana congregation started to meet. The idea was simple – provide free, individual English lessons once a week, not in a classroom but in each student’s home.

“A few people started volunteering to work with them one-on-one,” Van Gilst said. “I thought that sounded interesting, so I got involved.”

After a year living in Venezuela, she returned to Sioux County and agreed to become the coordinator; one change she made was adding an annual dinner at which both tutors and students would be recognized for their efforts.
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Report: Immigrants not an economic drain

Another state reporting immigrants do not take more than they give. DP

GERALDA MILLER, RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL Latinos are coming to Nevada to work and are contributing billions to the state's economy, according to a new study.

The report, "Vital Beyond Belief: The Demographic and Economic Facts about Hispanic Immigrants in Nevada," was recently released by the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, a nonprofit agency with a mission to build consensus between different groups.

The study highlights Hispanics contributions at time when many Nevadans are saying Latino immigrants are a drain on the state's economy.

"Three people working at the same job, what's the difference in terms of Nevada?" said Robert Ginsburg, director of the Center on Work and Community Development in Chicago and author of the report. "As an economist, I say I can't tell the difference."

Janine Hansen, president for the conservative Nevada Eagle Forum, said it was unfortunate that the available data does not clearly identify what portion of the Hispanics are illegal immigrants.

"That's a flaw in the document," she said. "That information is critical to the American people."
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Friday, May 04, 2007

Everyone will benefit with immigration reform (part #4)

by Donna Poisl

A few days ago, when this series started, I listed several areas where we will all benefit when there is immigration reform which would legalize the millions of people living here illegally; the military, Social Security, our economy, our future economy, education and national security. The first column was about our economy, the second one was about the military and Social Security, the next one was about language and education. This last one will discuss national security and touch on some others.

If immigration reform is enacted, and undocumented people here now are offered legal status, they would have to register within a certain period of time. Each one would have to fill out an application, be finger printed and have a background check before being allowed to go on to the next step. This will probably include paying all back taxes and also paying a fine. Only then would they be given an identity card and documents saying they are allowed to live and work here. People who do not pass these tests would be deported.

We will all be safer when this happens. People who are afraid that terrorists are in our midst in the guise of illegal immigrants could rest easier knowing everyone had been identified and checked. And more drug smugglers would be caught when border guards don’t have to chase poor men, women and children trying to come in to work and live.

If Americans want to live in a secure country, we have to be able to regulate people coming in and know who is living here or visiting and have a way to keep track of them.

Changing the laws to make immigration easier and faster would eventually stop most people from trying to get in illegally, but it would take a while for all the poor people in Mexico and other Latin American countries to realize how the new laws would affect them. They would have to be convinced that when the people here now are given legal status and the new ones coming in would not find work, that it would be futile for them to try to come in. If all these additional workers can work legally, no one will have any reason to hire people without the correct documents.

All these new legal residents would have to get a driver license and, of course, insurance. More people with legal driver licenses means more people had to read the manual and pass the written, eye and road tests. This would immediately make the roads safer for you and me. And when more people have mandatory car insurance we are all better protected. Besides making the roads safer, they would each have a picture ID which helps each state keep track of all of its people.

Many people complain about the cost of illegal immigrants. All the studies I have seen have shown that the costs of hospital care and schools are more than offset by the revenue gained by the workers and the companies they work for. The big problem is that since these additional people aren’t included in the census, the tax money is not always distributed where it is needed.

If there were immigration reform and the undocumented people were given legal status, there would have to be an updated census. The new census figures would show which communities deserved a larger share of the revenue dollars for the schools, hospitals and other services they provide. The money should be sent where it is needed, but that won’t happen if we can’t document where it is needed.

One of the reasons people come or stay here illegally is that they all know that it takes many years to immigrate legally. Hundreds of thousands of people trying to immigrate legally are stuck in a back log in the Immigration Department. Many have been waiting for up to 10 years to be approved.

Part of a new reform package would be hiring more staff in the Immigration Department to process all these people caught in the backlog to get on their way to green cards and citizenship. When the new laws are enacted, these people will be processed first and the new people will get in line behind them.

If there were a way we could help the Mexican economy, it would help us and them. Poverty and lack of work in Mexico have driven their people to come here. Many of their villages have almost no working age men left in them and many of their young women have left too. But if we don’t do anything to help Mexico, we must at least help our own country by enacting comprehensive immigration reform here.

Everyone agrees that people should not be in this country illegally. Everyone agrees that the people here illegally have broken our laws just by being here. Everyone agrees that we have to document the people coming into and leaving our country. Most people admit that we are all responsible in some way: whether we hire the workers; buy what they produce; vote for the people who passed the laws that allowed it to get this far or if we didn’t vote at all. And since we are responsible for the problem, we should be responsible and try to fix it.

A big part of immigration reform would have to be protecting our borders better. Additional border guards are now at work and fences are being built in a few places, but this is not the complete answer. We have to have a way that makes it more fair for people to immigrate legally and give legal status to the law abiding people here now. They have worked hard and helped our economy and deserve to be treated with dignity.

When they become legal residents, they must be encouraged to learn English, learn and obey our laws and assimilate into life here, without giving up all of their own culture.

Our ancestors all came here to become Americans, each group adding some more flavor to the mixture. This mixture is what makes it so interesting and it is always changing and improving. New immigrants will assuredly keep up this tradition.

There were no immigration laws here until the 1890s when waves of Irish immigrants forced the government to write some. These laws have been constantly rewritten since then. It is time to do it again, this time making more sensible laws that people can live with.

There are so many reasons why we need immigration reform and why we all should be happy when we get it. Even the people who insist we don’t need any more people here and should deport millions of people here now. Everyone will benefit when we get a comprehensive immigration reform package passed.

Everyone will benefit with immigration reform (part #3)

by Donna Poisl

A few days ago I listed several areas where we will all benefit when there is immigration reform which would legalize the millions of people living here illegally; the military, Social Security, our economy, our future economy, education and national security. The first column was about our economy, the next one was about the military and Social Security, this one will continue with language and education.

A major complaint that disgruntled residents voice is that the majority of the undocumented immigrants, most of whom are Latino, do not speak English. Many of them do try to learn, but learning a language is hard and takes a long time. Many simply don’t have time to go to classes between their jobs and family responsibilities. These people realize they would have an easier time if they spoke and understood English, but since they are here illegally and could be deported at any moment, there is not much incentive to learn.

If the undocumented people were given legal status and one of the requirements for them to stay was to learn English, they would have a much better reason to study. If you or I were living for an unknown period of time in a foreign country working up to 100 hours a week just to survive, I doubt that we would make the time to learn the language if we were able to live without it.

These workers don’t feel welcome, don’t feel included in life here, usually feel they have no reason to do anything more than the minimum to live here. I wonder if we would feel differently. I think we would feel like visitors, and visitors rarely try to assimilate.

The immigration reform proposals all say that the people here illegally would have to be law abiding, pay any back taxes owing and learn English in order to get green cards and apply for citizenship.

More English classes and tutors would have to be provided; the classes available now have waiting lists as long as two years in many places. The federal government would have to provide funds for more ESL classes and the people who resent that the immigrants don’t speak English will have to back legislation that will fund these classes. If they vote against funding the classes the immigrants will never have a chance to learn.

Many benefits will occur when all residents know our national language. Simple things like making the lines in the grocery store and bank move faster, neighbors getting along because they can discuss problems, safer traffic when everyone is able to read the signs. And more complex things like women knowing they can report domestic violence to emergency workers, parents and teachers able to discuss a child’s progress, everyone being able to discuss problems with a doctor, and understanding contracts and agreements when they lease or buy something.

If parents had to learn English, which first generation immigrants have always struggled with, they would be better able to help their children with their school work and encourage them to do well in school. It would also give their children more incentive to become proficient in English. Many children who are born here, yet live in a home where the parents speak no English and few of the neighbors do either, do not become proficient in English. Children all over the world are learning English, knowing that anyone who is bilingual has a huge advantage, yet many children born here are falling behind and are not learning our national language.

The dropout rate for immigrant children in high school is very high, especially for Latino students. They know that even if they do well in high school, they won’t be able to attend college at a price their families can afford. Most states charge illegal immigrants out-of-state tuition and they aren’t eligible for grants or scholarships. If they get over that hurdle and do well in college and get a degree, they can’t get a job with that degree because they are here illegally. The only jobs they can get are in hotels, restaurants, farms and others that are low wage. This defeats the purpose of their education and our country loses the benefits of these well educated young people.

If these children were given legal status, think of the incentive they would have to succeed in school. Our tax dollars are paying to educate them, we should be looking for ways to encourage them to do well in school. If we have more students successfully graduating from high school and going on to college this country will benefit. Many immigrant children will return to the same communities their parents live in, so the cities that educated the children get the benefit of their employment and tax money for many more years.

If these college students get their degrees and go on to highly skilled jobs, we would not have the shortage of high skilled workers we are experiencing now. The H-1B visa quota for high skilled immigrants is filled early every year. Companies then have to out-source their work, or worse, not be able to start new projects or do research and development. Some of these jobs don’t require college degrees, but they do require bright young people who are educated in high school math and science and can be trained in the high tech jobs.

Students who earn a degree get better jobs, pay more taxes, purchase more cars, electronics, houses and often start their own companies. These companies, in turn, employ more workers and pay more taxes. This is usually thought of as the American way.

Learning English and getting a good education are the most important things new residents can do here and when these two things happen, everyone benefits.

We all know the undocumented people living here have broken the law by coming in illegally or overstaying their visa and yet, something has to be done to get them registered and legalized. A majority of our citizens say we should find a way to solve this problem. This country needs them.

In the first column of this series, I listed several areas where we will all benefit when there is immigration reform which would legalize the millions of people living here illegally; the military, Social Security, our economy, our future economy, education and national security. The first column talked about our economy, the second one was about Social Security and the military. This one was about language and education. The next one will discuss national security and some others.