Washington, D.C. — Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) today introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 in the U.S Senate and House of Representatives. The bill reflects several NSC recommendations including allowing DREAMers to earn US citizenship by obtaining certain recognized postsecondary credentials and providing new funding for “Integrated Education and Training,” where immigrants learn foundational skills such as English while simultaneously training for a particular occupation or industry.
The following is a statement from Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, Senior Fellow at National Skills Coalition, in support of the legislation:
It is exciting to see landmark legislation that recognizes the huge strides made in immigrant inclusion policy in recent years. This bill represents the first time that a sitting President has embraced robust immigrant inclusion legislation that is designed to help immigrants and refugees become incorporated into the social and economic fabric of their new communities.
For decades, Congress and presidents of both parties have thought about immigration law as simply a question of who to allow in the country and under what circumstances. This bill recognizes that people go through a long process of becoming incorporated in American society, and there is a vital role for the federal government to play in supporting their efforts.
The bill provides new $100 million investment in Integrated Education and Training to help immigrants learn foundational skills while simultaneously training for a particular occupation or industry. It also provides $100 million in new investments in adult English language classes, which reflects the broad, bipartisan public consensus that English language skills are a powerful tool for economic success and social integration.
This legislation is the result of more than 15 years of advocacy by stakeholders, including state and local governments and nonprofit organizations that often don’t get the federal support they need and deserve.
We are proud to partner with the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) and other advocates who worked so hard to shape the US Citizenship Act, including its groundbreaking workforce development and ESL provisions. And we look forward to working with lawmakers to get this bill over the finish line.