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Federal File: Administration To Push for Immigrant Aid

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The Clinton Administration, at the urging of six governors, has formed a bipartisan working group to push for federal legislation to relieve states strained financially by providing education and other services to illegal immigrants.

The governors of Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and Texas will work with Leon E. Panetta, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, toward recommendations on education, health-care, welfare, and incarceration issues, said a spokesman for Gov. Pete Wilson of California.

Since the federal government mandates that illegal immigrants receive services in areas such as education, the governors argue, it should help defray the cost.

Civil-Rights Nominee: President Clinton has nominated a former lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund to be the assistant attorney general for civil rights.

The nomination of Deval Patrick, 37, to the top Justice Department civil-rights post comes after a year of unsuccessful attempts by the White House to fill the post.

Mr. Patrick has specialized in capital-punishment and voting-rights cases.

Metric System: The Education Department has done little to help the federal government convert to the metric system, according to the General Accounting Office.

In a report sent to Congress last month, the G.A.O. said that since it last examined the issue in 1990, "federal preparations for metric conversion have advanced dramatically,'' although "a few agencies, such as the Department of Education ... have taken very limited action.''

The department's inaction is particularly problematic, the G.A.O. said, since it was designated the lead agency in helping the government convert to the metric system.

Unlike other agencies, the G.A.O. said, the department has not completed guidelines for using the metric system or a transition plan.

Welfare-Reform Program: A program that requires noncustodial parents on welfare to participate in job-training activities shows promise as a strategy to increase child-support payments, a new study says.

The study by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation looks at the Parents' Fair Share demonstration project, launched with foundation and federal funding in nine states in 1992 with the aim of increasing earnings of noncustodial parents, typically fathers.

While welfare-reform efforts have stressed training for mothers and tougher child-support enforcement, few programs have targeted services at fathers.

The study cites strong participation in job-training and peer-support programs among the 4,000 parents referred to the project.

Copies of the report, "Matching Opportunities to Obligations: Lessons for Child-Support Reform From the Parents' Fair Share Pilot Phase,'' are available for $12 each from the M.D.R.C., 3 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016; (212) 532-3200.

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