131 changes in immigrant report; Patrick urges passage of `New Americans Agenda'.


Byline: John J. Monahan

BOSTON - Hoping new recommendations to aid the integration of immigrants does not intensify immigration controversies, Gov. Deval L. Patrick yesterday urged residents to avoid focusing only on a few hot-button controversies such as in-state tuition and driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, and keep in mind the economic contributions immigrants make in Massachusetts.

Pointing out that there are now more than one million immigrants in the state, who make up 14 percent of the population and 17 percent of the work force, Mr. Patrick mentioned that among them are Red Sox stars David Ortiz and Daisuke Matsuzaka, as well as half the science faculty at MIT.

They are cooks and carpenters, doctors and academics, he said, and asking a woman in a U.S. Army uniform to stand up at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy coalition, the governor said, "You fight for us."

The recommendations covering police issues, civic involvement, education, civil rights and numerous economic challenges facing immigrants, was put together during the last year under an effort launched by Mr. Patrick.

The report was based on information gathered from well-attended public meetings around the state, including one in Fitchburg.

In all, the New Americans Agenda report developed by the governor's advisory council for immigrants and refugees includes 131 recommendations the governor said are aimed at helping immigrants succeed and feel welcome.

He said he would issue a directive to all state agencies within 90 days to identify recommendations the state can start to implement with timelines for completion.

While welcoming the proposals, the governor was clearly concerned they could trigger a new round of intensive political controversies about...

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