For Immediate Release
July 24, 2008
Sookyung Oh, NAKASEC, 267.334.5918
HeeJoo Yoon, KRC, 323-937-3718
Inhe Choi, KRCC, 773-506-9158
Speaking Out for a Diverse America
Korean Americans Applaud Introduction of Integration Legislation
(Los Angeles, CA) NAKASEC and its affiliates applaud the introduction of “Strengthening Communities through English and Integration Act of 2008.” This legislation would commit funding for adult English as a Second Language (ESL) and civics classes, establish integration councils at the state and local levels, and create tax incentives for employers who offer adult education and ESL programs to their employees.
“Legislation that recognizes the contributions of immigrant communities is a potent and necessary antidote to the anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies polluting the current debate. Passage of this bill would send a clear message that our nation is more prosperous when our policies reflect pragmatism and neighborliness,” stated EunSook Lee, Executive Director, NAKASEC.
“In the case of Korean Americans, close to 30% of those over 25 years of age do not speak English well. We see Korean Americans, sometimes work up to 16 hours a day, come to KRCC to learn English in the evenings. That’s real commitment and it debunks the prevailing myth that immigrants do not want to learn English. It is the opposite, the number of available classes currently glaringly fail to the meet the need and demand for adult ESL,” stated Inhe Choi, Senior Organizing Director, KRCC.
“Over 19% of the U.S. population (54.8 million) speaks a language other than English at home. In addition, the Migration Policy Institute reports that 50% of limited English proficient (LEP) adults report having nine or fewer years of education and 64% have less than a high school degree. This bill is long overdue and we will make sure to educate our communities on the importance of this initiative. Ultimately learning English and civics doesn’t just benefit immigrants. We know that whole communities are strengthened when every member can fully participate, whether it means a parent talking to their children’s teacher or attending a City Council meeting,” stated Dae Joong Yoon, Executive Director, KRC.