New Americans Task Force examines life of immigrants and refugees in Lincoln

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 6:58 PM CDT
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Lincoln is home to more than 30,000 refugees and immigrants from around 150 different countries, and in an effort to better understand and serve that community, the New Americans Task Force had some questions about their life in Lincoln.

"Our community is stronger when all of our voices are heard," Lee Kreimer, with the Asian Community and Cultural Center said.

The data shows nearly 100 percent of New Americans who live in Lincoln are learning English or would like to. 74 percent engage in community events and 57 percent are employed at least part time.

Kreimer said the most encouraging data points show that 70 percent of New Americans trust schools, 68 percent trust the police and 53 percent trust local government.

"Lincoln is a very welcoming community," Kreimer said. "We know this has been true for a long time, as data suggests the community is very supportive and new Americans feel the same way."

The data also shows some areas where refugees and immigrants could use more support.

For example, one in five New Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher, but nearly 60 percent don't work in their field of study and wish to return to that career.

"It can be very challenging to work in a field once you move to America, largely due to credential requirements," Kreimer said.

She said the task force is working with educators and other resources to help them find ways to get the right credentials without having to repeat their education.

Another issue they're working to address is that 52 percent of New Americans said they can't always pay their bills, and some have trouble participating in civic engagement, like voting.

"This data helps us shape where those gaps are and how we can help them by providing services,"Kreimer said."

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