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Large Opposition to N.H. Bill That Would Deny Some Immigrants Adult Education

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Robert Garrova for NHPR
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There were 88 signatures in opposition to SB525. Opponents of the bill worry it will unfairly target adult immigrants who take advantage of English as a Second Language and basic learning classes.

The New Hampshire Senate Education Committee heard testimony on a bill today that would make certain adult education programs available only to legal residents of the state.

 

Republican Senator Andy Sanborn is the primary sponsor of the measure, which he said will direct funds toward students who can legally work in the state.

 

Sanborn posed the question: "Specifically for adult workforce education and training, shouldn't that adult workforce education and training be made available to people who can legally work in America?"

 

But opponents of the bill worry it will unfairly target adult immigrants who take advantage of English as a Second Language and basic learning classes, which are included in some adult education programs.

 

Mary Ngwanda Georges is on the Manchester school board and spoke in opposition to the bill. She immigrated to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of Congo when she was 33 and took advantage of ESL classes when she arrived.

 

“I came here, I was nurse. But because of the English, that’s what was stopping me to do anything I can do,” Georges said.

 

There were some 88 signatures in opposition to the bill and it was standing room only during the public hearing at the Legislative Office Building. Senate Education Committee Chair John Reagan, who is a co-sponsor of the bill, said he was not hopeful for its passage.

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