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US bill would offer perks to teach English / Rep. Honda Press Release

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rep. Michael Honda Press Release:

WASHINGTON — The head of the US Congress' Asian American group on Friday proposed offering tax credits to firms that provide English lessons, saying it could help transform the immigration debate.

Representative Mike Honda introduced a bill that would offer tax incentives to businesses as well as teachers who teach English as a second language. It would also establish grants for communities to assist new Americans.

With nearly one in five Americans speaking another language at home, Honda said that English literary programs in some areas had waiting lists of up to three years.

Honda, a California lawmaker from President Barack Obama's Democratic Party, was alarmed by the growth in the number of residents with limited English proficiency.

The bill "recognizes the immense contribution immigrants make to the United States and is a proactive and constructive step to address many of the questions surrounding the immigration debate," Honda said.

Obama, who was elected with strong support of Hispanic and Asian American voters, has pledged to reform the immigration system to bring legal status to some of the millions of undocumented workers.

Asian American groups have been pressing in particular to repair creaks in the system that have kept some families divided for years as they wait for visas to enter the United States.

But immigration reform attempts flopped in 2006 and 2007 with some Republican lawmakers concerned about granting "amnesty" to illegal aliens and about potential effects to the ailing US economy.

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