ProLiteracy, the largest adult literacy and basic education membership organization in the nation, today urged President Obama to include increased funding for English language acquisition as a core component to his proposed efforts for immigration reform.
“When making plans that might lead to 11 million undocumented immigrants possessing work permits and a path to citizenship in the United States, it is imperative to provide adequate adult literacy and basic education services to those individuals to ensure their future success in our workforce,” says Kevin Morgan, president and CEO of ProLiteracy.
“We know that when immigrants have access to language and literacy instruction, they assimilate more quickly and effectively into communities and become more engaged in the economy,” says Morgan.
Adult literacy and basic education programs across the United States are struggling to meet the needs of an increasing number of immigrants seeking English language instruction. In ProLiteracy’s member network, English language learners account for almost 60 percent of all adults seeking help. Still, 74 percent of programs have student waiting lists, often longer than six months, due to lack of available resources.
“President Obama previously included English language learning in his plan for comprehensive immigration reform,” Morgan continues. “Including an increase in public funding for adult literacy and basic education is crucial because fluent English-speaking immigrants earn nearly double that of non-English speaking workers and have substantially lower unemployment rates. In other words, immigrants with strong English skills make an enormous contribution to the United States economy. It is in our best interest to provide them with these resources.”