Indianapolis’ immigrant population growing quickly

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 14, 2015)– New data shows the number of immigrants in Indianapolis will make up 12 percent of the city's population by 2023. The majority of increase will come from immigrants of Latino and Hispanic descents.

“We are becoming more multicultural than Indianapolis has ever been,"  Immigrant Welcome Center Executive Director Terri Morris Downs said. "And that’s very, very important for the growth of Indianapolis."

Currently, there are 73,000 people not born in the United States living in Indianapolis and that number is expected to be more than 120,000 in 2023.

“Our infrastructure can accommodate a good many more Marion County residents and we're just thrilled to death people are choosing Indianapolis," Downs said.

The Immigrant Welcome Center, an agency that provides resources to immigrants, moved it's location last week from the John H. Boner Community Center to the Southeast Community Center Services Building, 901 Shelby St., in Fountain Square. It held a grand opening at the new office Monday.

Down said the new location is closer to downtown and will provide better accessibility for immigrants to get to the center.

While the Immigrant Welcome Center does its best to serve the immigrants of Indianapolis, Downs said Indianapolis is far behind other major cities in providing resources for immigrants.

“Indianapolis is definitely behind the ball," she said. "We are eager to talk to Mayor-Elect Hogsett about what other Midwestern cities are doing."

The center is working with leaders in the business sector, academia and other nonprofits to create a Immigrant Integration Plan.

The group is focusing on six categories to serve immigrants including education, social services, public safety, economic development and employment, community engagement and health and wellness.

Downs said other cities comparable to Indianapolis have an entire office dedicated to immigration.

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