For Immediate Release
MPI Report Offers First-Time Estimates of Numbers and Costs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In order to get to a level of proficiency necessary for civic integration or to begin post-secondary education, approximately 5.8 million adult lawful permanent residents (LPRs) currently in the United States will need about 277 million hours of English language instruction a year for six years.
If only half of adult LPRs were to participate in classroom English instruction and 10 percent of instruction could be done outside the classroom, the additional cost of meeting LPRs’ English instruction needs would be about $200 million a year, for six years, over and above the approximately $1 billion currently spent annually by the federal government and states.
In order to remain in the United States under the terms of the failed Senate immigration bill or to fully participate in U.S. civic life, approximately 6.4 million unauthorized immigrants will need about 319 million hours of English instruction a year for six years. In the event of a broad legalization program for today’s unauthorized population, total projected English instruction costs would increase $2.9 billion a year for six years.
Developing the capacity to provide up to 660 hours of English instruction to immigrants would bring the United States in line with the amount of language instruction provided to immigrants in a number of other developed countries. For example, Australia provides up to 510 hours of English instruction to immigrants and Germany offers immigrants 600 45-minute German language courses.
These are the findings of a new report by Margie McHugh, Julia Gelatt and Michael Fix released by MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. “Adult English Language Instruction in the United States: Determining Need and Investing Wisely” uses census-based estimates of the number, educational attainment and English skills of immigrants currently in the United States. The authors index immigrants’ needs to existing student performance levels, and provide direction on how to strategically expand instructional services to meet these needs. Estimates are provided for the United States and for individual states.
The report includes a series of funding recommendations for meeting existing English instruction needs, which exceed the scale and abilities of the current system. The authors note that investing in the human capital of immigrants leads to increased tax revenues, lower social welfare payments, and improved educational and workforce outcomes among immigrants and their children. The authors offer recommendations for maximizing this investment by setting benchmarks for success and deepening accountability.
Possible Funding Avenues:
New Funding for the System Should Trigger Several Reforms:
The report is available online here.
MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy is a crossroads for elected officials, researchers, state and local agency managers, grassroots leaders and activists, local service providers, and others who seek to understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities today’s high rates of immigration create in local communities.
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