Chicago launches department to help US immigrant business owners

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Chicago officials launched a new municipal department last week called the Office of New Americans which will focus on helping immigrant business owners. Chicago will join other cities such as New York City and Los Angeles who also have dedicated departments to help immigrant business owners.

The Office of New Americans, led by former activist Adolfo Hernandez, focuses on improving access to existing services for US immigrant entrepreneurs. One of Hernandez's first tasks is to encourage more business immigrants to participate in an annual business conference specifically for immigrant entrepreneurs.

"Chicago's history is closely tied to the [American] immigration story," said Hernandez, who believes that new immigrant businesses could be a key to improving the economy. "It's important that we recognize that immigrants bring a lot. They're not a drain on our resources. They're contributing."

In the near future, Chicago's Office of New Americans will expand its focus to other issues such as language, US citizenship, and other immigration issues.

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