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Forum Today: Immigration Reform Could Address Adult ELLs

The National Coalition for Literacy is hosting a forum today to explore how immigration reform by Congress could address the needs of adult immigrants to receive training and English lessons. The event is scheduled to take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern time, at the Hall of the States at 444 N. Capitol St. here in the nation's capital.

Among the presenters are Chris Morehouse, a senior analyst for the Government Accountability Office. The congressional watchdog released a report in July saying that the health, education, and labor departments of the federal government need to do a better job of coordinating with each other to provide English classes for adults.

Meanwhile, a network that grew out of a project of the Education Department's office of vocational and adult education put out a policy brief this week giving an overview of English-as-a-second-language programs for adults in this country. It discusses goals administrators should have for such programs and mentions resources to support those goals, such as standards for adult ESL programs developed by Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Immigration reform is a sensitive topic in this country because of a wide range of viewpoints on how to address illegal immigration. Some feel that undocumented immigrants boost the economy, and others feel that they are a drag on it. Representing these different views are two reports released this week.

"The Economics and Policy of Illegal Immigration in the United States," published by the Migration Policy Institute, makes the case that illegal immigration produces a small net gain for the U.S. economy after both the profits of U.S. employers and the losses of American-born workers are taken into account. The institute is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that explores migration around the world.

At the same time, a report put out by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which wants to see illegal immigration halted, says the presence of undocumented immigrants in Maryland "represents a major burden on the state budget and is borne by Maryland's taxpayers."

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