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Program Helps Immigrants Make Austin Home Away From Home

Ann Choi for KUT News

With Austin welcoming around 150 new people every day, the Austin Police Department is especially reaching out to those from afar.

The APD Community Liaison Office hosted its first immigrant outreach event today in North Austin.

The event introduced attendees to local services including health care, insurance and transportation. It also held seminars on how to communicate with officers during an emergency, ways to seek for victim services, and how even to respond for a traffic stop. (Austin police shot at – and missed – a motorist this week when he got out o his car following a traffic stop.)

“These are pretty much crime preventions to help them, to make them feel safer here in Austin," APD community liaison officer Bin Nguyen said.  

Esteban Lopez, an English language teacher at Interfaith Action of Central Texas, brought 13 of his students to the fair. He said that while some immigrants transition relatively well by finding a job shortly after arriving, the majority does not know where to start.  

"A lot of them come here and they feel like they don't have any rights. With that said, they don't know who to contact and how to get in touch with the right people," Lopez said. 

APD's Community Liaison office sections off Austin into four regions and aim to improve relationships with community members from each region. The office plans to have another immigrant outreach event in September.

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