CMC’s Immigrant and Refugee Coordinator, Greg White, facilitates a monthly Immigrant Concerns Meeting to collaborate with Eastern Iowa organizations to address the needs of the local immigrant/refugee community. Mark Grey, from The Iowa Center on Immigrant Leadership and Integration at the University of Northern Iowa, shared that Iowa has seen a tremendous growth and diversification of the immigrant population over the last five years.
Proof of this growth comes from the American Communities Survey (ACS), which stated that in 2011, 13,345 people moved to Iowa from “other nations.” This influx is particularly noticeable in the Cedar Rapids Community School District where K-12 students represent over 30 languages.
This shift from primarily a Latino immigrant population presents unique challenges to those serving immigrants/refugees. Grey said, “There are many more groups and languages coming to Iowa now.
Many languages can’t be identified easily.” These languages include Kirundi, Karenni, Nepali, Lao, Dinka, Yoruba, and Zapotec.
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