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Behind the Dallas immigrant wave

In the late 1980s, Richardson and North Dallas, Texas, suddenly found hundreds of low-income, new-to-America families on their doorstep.

Why this happened is important to understanding the need for the Neighborhood Service Council, a group dedicated to helping the new settlers.

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The wave of foreign-born residents was triggered by the crash of Dallas's high-tech economy. Within months, the Spring Valley-Coit Road area became a Noah's ark of ethnic diversity and a modern-day Babel, with 22 languages spoken.

The influx was concentrated in apartment complexes that once teemed with young, high-tech professionals. When the economy hit the skids, the yuppie population evacuated. Simultaneously, laws were passed to prevent apartment owners from banning small children. Suddenly, the area's rental housing became a magnet for immigrant families, many of whom jumped at the opportunity to resettle in an upscale area with an excellent school system.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society