Friday, February 02, 2007

Ethnic Communities

The census count of Hispanics in Norristown is thought to be a vast understatement because of the increasing number of illegal immigrants, many of whom are fearful of deportation should they participate in government surveys. Mexican workers from the state of Puebla have found residence in the borough for its affordable housing stock and proximity to construction, service sector, and landscaping jobs in the wealthy suburbs that surround it. Norristown enjoys a mix of Mexican Americans, African Americans, Italian Americans, and Irish Americans that can be seen in its ethnic neighborhoods. There is also a visible Jamaican-American community. Because Norristown had been in population decline for much of the second half of the 20th century, many look to immigrants as vital to the borough's revitalization. The local government accepts Mexican MatrĂ­cula Consular cards as valid identification, in an effort to prevent immigrants from being marginalized in the community or becoming the victim of criminals who know that the undocumented have no legal recourses.