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US risks uneducated underclass: Study|
Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:6AM
A new report has warned of creating a new uneducated underclass in the United States.
The US is at the risk of creating a new Hispanic underclass as criticism heaps over the government's floundering efforts to improve education for immigrant children, a report says.
The Future of Children, a collaborative effort between Princeton University and the Brookings Institution, warns that the threat of creating a permanent Hispanic underclass looms large unless the US administration hastens its efforts to broaden immigrant children's access to education, AFP reported on Wednesday.
The report also turned the spotlight on the controversial Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the DREAM Act. They said the bill's legislation, which still has to pass through the Senate, could be one of the viable options in order to improve immigrants' education from preschool to university.
Under the so-called DREAM Act, all immigrants who were under the age of 30 and arrived in the country before the age of 16 can apply for a six-year resident's permit if they had obtained a high school diploma or a General Educational Development diploma.
Undocumented immigrants would also have to complete two years of service in the military or enroll in college in order for them to be eligible to apply for legal immigrant status, the bill stipulates.
"If we don't do something about Hispanic education, we're going to have a permanent underclass in the United States. We already have one; it won't help us to have two," said Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution.
"This is a serious problem. We have a group of immigrant children who are seriously deprived because they have so little education," the former White House and congressional adviser on welfare issues added.
The latest report also says around a quarter of the 75 million children currently in the United States are immigrants.
The passage of the DREAM Act, first introduced in Congress in 2001, is expected to affect some 55,000 immigrant youths currently living in the country.
A large percentage of immigrant children, especially those from Latin America, grow up in poverty and "a substantial percentage of these children are falling behind in school," the report noted.