By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mayor Nutter has signed an executive order setting up an Office of Immigrant and Multi-Cultural Affairs, to better weave immigrants into the social, civic and economic culture of the city.
The city estimates there are upwards of 50,000 legally, present, new Philadelphians that haven’t achieved citizenship.
While Philadelphia was losing population every decade since the 1950’s, the 2010 census showed it has reversing course and is growing again.
The Mayor says immigrants accounted for most of that turnaround.
“It is in the city’s interest to ensure that immigrants and non-English speakers are receiving the city services that they need and deserve,” says Nutter.
He says they’re neighbors, friends, co-workers and employees, many of whom are running small businesses and revitalizing neighborhoods.
Jennifer Rodriguez, who will be the Executive Director of the new office, says they’ll provide a pathway to the underserved.
“They may have language challenges, they may not have resources to get the permits, or even find out where English classes are being held,” says Rodriquez.
“They’re in the Latino community, the Asian community, in South Philadelphia, West and North Philadelphia and across the city,’ says city managing director Rich Negrin.
He says an American citizen makes more money, is more employable, and more eligible for federal benefits.