ESL & Other Services Available to Recent Immigrants

The Statue of Liberty stands as a symbol of the spirit of America and welcomes people of every race and from every nation into the fabric of freedom and liberty upon which the United States was founded. How fitting is her inscription:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” (1)

As welcoming as such a call may sound, arriving on the shores of a new land, whose people speak an unknown language, is daunting. Many immigrants come with no family ties in the U.S. and face a swirling pool of strange faces and strange sounds. In keeping with the call of Lady Liberty, many agencies and organizations across the United States reach out to these immigrants, providing them much needed assistance to get them on their feet, enjoying the benefits of the freedom for which they have longed.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

While many immigrants band together with others who speak their language, learning English is vital in order to be truly successful in the adopted country. One obvious reason for this is that English is a requirement for obtaining citizenship (2); although, this requirement is somewhat loosely enforced. Learning English can also make it easier to find jobs; integrate into schools, churches, and communities; and get along with basic facets of life, including interacting with doctors, government officials, etc.

Citizenship Classes

Another top priority for new immigrants is gaining citizenship. Citizenship does not happen overnight, and it is important to invest the time necessary to prepare. Classes for citizenship do not have to be conducted by the government; there are numerous venues available to assist immigrants in achieving citizen status.

GED Study Help

Many immigrants find it helpful to earn a GED. This greatly improves the chances of finding a good job. Study help for the GED is another readily provided resource.

Organizations Providing Help

  • Churches – The Catholic Church has a long record of assisting immigrants. Many of the archdioceses across the nation offer immigration services as part of their Catholic Charities’ efforts. Caring individuals provide services to help with citizenship, green card renewals and other immigration issues as well as ESL classes and, in many cases, citizenship classes (3). The local archdiocese is a great place to start if seeking immigration assistance. While other churches may not have programs as large as those supported by the Catholic Church, many local congregations have formed immigrant support centers based on area needs.

  • Community Resources – Communities with high volumes of immigrants usually have an abundant supply of immigrant resources. Education centers, literacy centers, family help centers, etc. offer a wealth of services for new immigrants. If you are acquainted with a recent immigrant, searching your community for appropriate programs could be the kind of act that will have long-lasting benefits.

A great resource for finding help in specific communities is found at Literacy Information and Communication System. This website allows you to search for particular services by location. Whatever an immigrant’s need, the land of the free is full of willing people ready to help make the transition as easy and beneficial as possible.

For those in need of a Utah immigration attorney, please call 801-895-3113 and a Salt lake City immigration attorney will be glad to help you out.