Monday, October 17, 2005

Senator Alexander introduces law to promote integration of prospective citizens

Senator Lamar AlexanderThe Chattanoogan published this editorial written by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander about the Strengthening American Citizenship Act of 2005, which he introduced in the Senate to promote the integration of prospective U.S. citizens into society as Americans:

"Over the coming weeks, the Senate will engage in a debate on comprehensive immigration reform. I believe real immigration reform must encompass three important steps. First, we must secure our borders. Second, we need to create a legal status for foreign workers and students who come here. Several senators have introduced legislation with these goals in mind, and I intend to introduce legislation to ensure that our immigration system welcomes foreign students to study at our universities."

"The third step is indispensable to immigration reform: to help prospective citizens become American. Just recently there was a report in Florida of a 27-year-old Guatemalan man who posed as an 18-year-old so that he could attend public high school and learn English there. So we know that immigrants are eager to learn."

"That is why I recently introduced the Strengthening American Citizenship Act with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). The Strengthening American Citizenship Act helps and encourages legal immigrants who are prospective American citizens to learn our common language, history, and way of government by:"

"Providing $500 grants for English courses;
Allowing prospective citizens who become fluent in English to apply for citizenship one year early;
Providing grants to organizations to offer courses in American history and civics;
Authorizing the creation of a new foundation to assist in these efforts;
Codifying the Oath of Allegiance to which new citizens swear when they are naturalized, and;
Asking the Department of Homeland Security to carry out a strategy to highlight the ceremonies where immigrants become American citizens."

A press release issued by Alexander's office is here, and the text of the Act is here.

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