Reid, business leaders to discuss immigration reform Tuesday

LAS VEGAS - U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada-D) will meet with business leaders in Las Vegas Tuesday to discuss immigration reform.

Senator Reid will speak with members of the Las Vegas Metro, Latin and Asian Chambers of Commerce. Tourism officials are also expected to attend.

Reid says Congress only has six weeks left in the current session to take action.

Last year, the Senate passed an immigration bill that would have paved the way to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. That bill stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"We have to get the House of Representatives to allow a vote to occur. If the speaker allowed a vote, it would pass overwhelmingly," Reid said.

At the beginning of the year, immigration reform was expected to be up for debate in the House. That hasn't happened.

A new report, meanwhile, shows immigration trends in Nevada are changing. A study by Pew Research shows illegal immigration is down in Nevada.

Latinos are the fastest growing population. The population of first-generation Latinos is growing faster than foreign immigrants.

Most of them are still relying on Spanish as a first language. Pew Research reports 74 percent of Latino children learn a language other than English at home.

That is apparent in local schools. Latinos make up the majority of students in the Clark County School District. CCSD has 14 Zoom Schools, where instructors teach English as a second language.

"A lot of our students weren't exactly on grade level. We worked really hard this year. I can say we're excited about the results we're seeing in our Zoom Schools, and I believe in our other Clark County schools. We're really closing that achievement gap," said CCSD Student Achievement Officer Danielle Miller.

CCSD officials say they hope they can close that gap between English Language Learners (ELL) and the rest of the student body.

For the first time, every Zoom School will have a summer academy for 17 days.

Last year, the state awarded the district $39 million to fund programs for ELL students. The grant expires next year. CCSD officials say they hope to work with the Nevada Legislature to extend the funding.


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