By Katiera Winfrey
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Immigrants and refugees now have access to a newly launched online database.
It’s going to help make transitioning to life in America a bit easier.
A couple of the largest barriers immigrants face are language and documentation status. The online database, representatives say, will provide some extra independence so immigrants can find out information on their own.
When Francisco Ruiz immigrated to the states from Colombia in 2007 he said the layout of the the city was much different. Indianapolis’ immigrant population now is booming, but getting assimilated in a new place doesn’t always come easy.
“Working here in the church, I saw many people struggling to get some help so I was able to connect them with the Immigrant Welcome Center,” he said.
The Immigrant Welcome Center is partnering with the social service search engine Aunt Bertha to make access to help easier. The database is translated in over 150 languages and is also searchable by resource category.
“So if you’re looking for assistance with legal help or supplies clothing housing assistance, it’s all available in one centralized platform,” said Jackie Rodriguez, marketing and communications manager, with the Immigrant Welcome Center.
Ruiz said, for many immigrants, asking for help can be a bit scary, particularly for those who are undocumented.
“Because some people have told them you cannot ask for help now if you really want your papers later, or you will never have papers. You will never have access to anything,” Ruiz said.
The database will direct documented immigrants to resource, but also direct people to resources that don’t require documentation or Social Security or other government ID numbers.
“So by removing those barriers, we hoping this creates a more equitable system for people,” Rodriguez said.
Ruiz said the immigrant community will continue to grow and contribute to the economy. so it’s important to make their transition easier.
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