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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 17, 1999


Today, as we celebrate Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, thousands of individuals in naturalization ceremonies across America are pledging their allegiance to the United States and to the ideals that undergird our nation. Like generations of immigrants past, they are driven by a dream and to achieve that dream, they seek to learn the ways of this land. I believe we can help these new citizens become full participants in American society. That is why my Administration has proposed the creation of the Common Ground Partnerships, an innovative initiative that would combine expanded English language instruction with education in civics and life skills. This initiative, which my FY 2000 budget funds at $70 million, will help ensure that those who become Americans learn not only the words of the citizenship oath but also the broader language of our civic life. I hope that Members of Congress from both parties will recognize the power of this important initiative to build a stronger American community.