APRIL 10, 2007
The chamber of commerce in one major Southern California city is spending millions of dollars to offer free English classes to illegal immigrants so that they can get higher paying jobs.
Officials in Santa Ana, a densely populated city with a huge illegal immigrant population, have launched a $4.5 million initiative to help its mostly working class Hispanic residents learn English for free at the local public community college.
The chamber has actually hired a fancy publicity firm to aggressively promote the plan with expensive colored brochures, advertisements at supermarkets, bus stations and throughout city limits. Officials call it a culturally sensitive campaign that is clearly aimed at the city’s vast illegal immigrant population.
The Spanish-language advertisements feature pictures of local residents, including farm hands, construction workers and hotel maids. They say that learning English can help residents get ahead and assure that knowledge is progress.
Every year during the four-year campaign, the chamber, which has nonprofit status, will spend about $350,000 on marketing and $650,000 on computers that will help residents learn English. Other money will be spent on the salary of the employees who will administer the courses.
In addition to this program, Santa Ana officials plan to partially use a $1 million federal grant to provide even more free English classes for residents who can’t speak English, regardless of immigration status. In other words, American federal tax dollars will be used to help violators of federal law get ahead in our country.
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