Rep. Mike Honda introduces legislation that will help Asian Americans thrive

By Erin Oshiro

Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) today reintroduced a bill that would provide more resources for state and local governments to offer integration programs. Considering more than half of Asian Americans are immigrants, policies like Rep. Honda’s bill, the Strengthen and Unite Communities with Civics Education and English Development (SUCCEED Act) of 2015, help our communities access the tools they need to thrive.

The SUCCEED Act, if passed, would make integrated English literacy, civics and U.S. history education programs eligible for grants awarded by the federal Department of Education. It would also authorize U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services to provide grants to states to form “New American Councils” to develop and implement immigrant introduction plans.

The SUCCEED Act would also encourage businesses to help workers improve their English language skills. The bill proposes that employers receive tax credits to cover any added expenses for making English literacy services available to their employees. The bill also proposes creating a citizen award program to recognize naturalized citizens who have made outstanding contributions to America.

We’re hopeful that Congress will make Rep. Honda’s bill a priority because increasing integration services is a high priority for Asian Americans. About one-third of Asian Americans are limited English proficient, which can make it difficult for community members to access important resources and services. And more than 1 million Asian American immigrant are eligible to naturalize but have not done so yet, because of lack of awareness or difficulty accessing the proper help to naturalize.

More robust integration services and programs, offered through this legislation, would enable Asian Americans and other immigrants to better engage economically and civically.

Thank you Rep. Honda for continuing to be a champion for our communities!

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