So far, we’ve explored the rapid demographic shift of the Southeast region and the emergence of the New Latino South, demonstrating the need for more immigration legal service providers and resources. But if the growth and impact of this community is evident and felt throughout the region, why aren’t there more legal service providers for immigrants in the Southeast in the first place?
We know immigrants are coming to the Southeast. But who are they, and from where are they coming? Seven of the nine U.S. states in which the Latino population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010 are in the Southeast region. Over one-third come from Mexico. Most immigrants are undocumented and of the undocumented, most are Latino (76.2%).
Twenty-eight years ago my mother fled her home in Nicaragua, a country embroiled in civil war. For years, her life and that of her family had been ravaged by a country with corrupt government officials and oppressed by a rebel group that brought nothing but violence to civilians like my parents. My mother saw family members and friends killed or forced to fight for a cause they did not believe in. At one point, she was taken hostage and held at gunpoint by militant groups and forced to drop out of school.
It’s no surprise that immigrants are coming to the United States, and in large numbers: between 1990 and 2013, the number of U.S. immigrants more than doubled as it grew from 19.8 million to 41.3 million. But have you thought about where in the United States those immigrants are going, and why?
Through creative programming and a sharp focus on immigrant integration, New American Pathways, an Atlanta-based CLINIC affiliate, contributes immensely to the integration of the 3,500 refugees it serves yearly. New American Pathways was established on October 1, 2014 after two long-standing organizations, Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta and Refugee Family Services, merged. Capitalizing on their collective expertise in refugee resettlement, New American Pathways is changing its community for the better.
Reading the September 28 article “Why American Catholics may not be persuaded by Pope Francis’ message on immigration,” I was disappointed on many levels – in part, due to the article's misplaced reliance on a non-scientific “experiment” – but most importantly because it totally missed the point of Pope Francis’s strong and consistent comments on immigration.