(Extensions of Remarks - April 17, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E484]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           FOR NEW AMERICANS


                          HON. RUBEN HINOJOSA

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                       Wednesday, April 17, 2013

  Mr. HINOJOSA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize one of the 
nation's preeminent civic education organizations, the Close Up 
Foundation, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of their Program 
for New Americans.
  Close Up is a nonprofit nonpartisan organization that informs, 
inspires, and empowers young people to exercise the rights and accept 
the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. Over the past forty 
years, Close Up has brought hundreds of thousands of students and 
teachers to Washington for week-long civic learning experiences. Close 
Up believes that a strong democracy requires active and informed 
participation by all citizens and seeks to reach participants of every 
race, creed, geographical community, socio-economic level, and academic 
standing. The Close Up Foundation partners with educators, schools, and 
youth organizations throughout the country to help young people develop 
the skills and attitudes to become informed and engaged citizens.
  Today we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Close Up Program for 
New Americans. This unique civic learning program has helped more than 
20,000 recently immigrated and migrant high school and middle school 
students understand American democracy, government, and U.S. political 
traditions. Using experiential education methodologies, the Program for 
New Americans helps young people understand both the rights and 
responsibilities of democratic citizenship.
  The program is comprised of three parts: service learning in 
preparation for the program; a week in Washington in which students use 
the city as a classroom to learn about the government and develop an 
action plan to address a community need; and implementation of the 
action plan at home. The goal of the Program for New Americans is to 
help these young people adjust to and become an active participant in 
the communities in which they live.
  The Washington portion of the program focuses students on the 
founding documents of our nation--the Declaration of Independence and 
the Constitution--to provide them with an understanding of our nation's 
democratic principles and traditions. Through study, workshops, and 
visits to the memorials and monuments of the nation's capital, students 
examine the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in our society.
  As Congress begins consideration of immigration legislation we should 
keep in mind the importance of innovative programs such as the Close Up 
Program for New Americans in providing young people with opportunities 
to engage with their government, its institutions and representatives 
and learn to apply those civic skills in their communities. It is 
essential that our nation's youth acquire the knowledge and the 
critical skills and attitudes necessary for active citizenship in our 
  I applaud the work of the Close Up Foundation and the outreach that 
they have done in the immigrant and migrant communities for a quarter 
century. I hope that Congress will continue to support these programs 
that build informed and active citizens and strengthen our communities.