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Wiregrass Hispanic Community Is Rapidly Growing

By: Rhiana Huckins Email
By: Rhiana Huckins Email

According to the Alabama Latino Association, Latino population increased 247 % in the last decade. Many Hispanics in the Wiregrass area are active with jobs in construction, food service, and agriculture.

The Wiregrass area is home to about 50,000 Latinos and the numbers are on the rise.

Some Hispanic residents need help obtaining banking privileges.

"one of the things that is happening within the Latino community is that its now a 700 billion dollar industry and its slated to be a 1 trillion dollar industry by 2010" said
Rich Lopez with Richco Consulting Service

As the Latino community continues to grow, the entire Wiregrass area is benefiting. In Dothan alone, there are 12 Latino restaurants, 5 stores, and 4 churches.

"Our people are getting settled, living here for 10 years eligible for banking, to buy homes..." says Lopez.

Banking is just one thing that some Latinos need assistance with, especially those who are working on their citizenship.

The IRS offers a tax ID number to those who don't have a Social Security number so they can open up checking or savings accounts.

"I understand that some people feel people are illegal, but you can't necessarily judge that by the color of someone's skin and I think in Alabama, we've seen that before," said Shay Farley with AL Applied Center for Law and Justice

As Hispanics appreciate their native language, they also respect the English language. English as a Second Language classes are filling up rapidly in the Wiregrass and even churches are creating programs to help teach Latinos.

As Latinos continue to settle down in the Wiregrass and raise families, their children are having an impact as well. More than 20 Hispanics are graduating from local colleges with plans to enter the healthcare field alone.

For those who are a part of the Latino community who need professional or financial direction, you can call Richco Consulting Service at 793-2626.


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