Today, U.S. Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley, Calif.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami, Fla.) introduced The New American Success (NAS) Act, which would help speed the integration of new Americans into society, ensuring each immigrant has access to programs that will help them learn or improve their English skills, civics education and other initiatives to help assist them in quickly adapting to their new nation while they participate in naturalization. The two members announced the bipartisan bill at a press conference held Tuesday afternoon on Capitol Hill.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: "I'm proud to join Rep. Cardenas in introducing the New American Success Act. Our country is a nation of immigrants that has only been strengthened by the contributions of those who wish to work hard and improve themselves. We should ensure that everyone who wishes to integrate into our country is able to have the ability to do so. There is already good work being done across our country. For example, in my district, the hotel industry is participating in the Bethlehem Project, which offers not only citizenship services, but also ESL and civics education to its employees. This bipartisan bill would empower and expand these sorts of programs in order to integrate the new immigrants of today."
Statement by Cárdenas: "While we discuss our broken immigration system in Washington, it is critical that we not lose focus on those who are new to our nation, who want to build their American Dream. New Americans, who are in the naturalization process, are more likely to create small businesses and are critical to our economy. I am proud to work with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen to help make their path to integration a little easier to navigate."
The NAS Act will create several new programs to help aid New Americans in the quest to build their American Dream. Included among these are:
Establishing the National Office of New Americans and Task Force on New Americans in order to streamline and coordinate multiple immigrant integration initiatives at the federal and state level. The bill will establish a Task Force to examine integration policies and recommend actions to Congress and the Executive Branch.
Creating the Initial Entry, Adjustment, and Citizenship Assistance Grant Program which would make public, private, or non-profit organizations eligible for grant funding to assist immigrants who are currently participating in the naturalization process. These grants will work to ensure organizations that receive them are able to better prepare those whose ultimate goal is naturalization.
Establishing Integration Success Grants to enable states and some partnerships between municipalities and non-profits to compete for grant funding in the areas of civic, linguistic, and economic integration.