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Chicago opens Office of New Americans

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Tuesday announced the creation of a new resource for the city’s immigrants, called the Office of New Americans. The office, as defined by Emanuel’s 2011 Transition Plan, will serve as a hub that connects immigrants to existing services from the city, community organizations, private institutions and schools.

“The city, particularly in these economic times, can’t do everything,” said Lawrence Benito of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, “and we live in a city that has a diverse immigrant community, and a number of thriving community organizations that can be resources both to the city and to other immigrants that may not know what resources are available.”

Benito said ICIRR proposed the idea of creating the office to Emanuel when he was running for mayor.

The office is intended to help immigrants access aid for citizenship, college scholarships, English language instruction and business development. A representative for Emanuel says it won’t cost taxpayers anything extra, and that all staff will come from current openings. The administration hopes to hire a director and to unveil its first programs by the end of summer.

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