Immigration Issues

AS KCRJ supports the initiatives of immigration integration through restorative processes, our work will encourage community involvement and support for those people who have chosen to make America their country and Kentucky their home. "The emphasis for providing immigration services is to develop a setting where the dreams and aspirations of New Americans can develop, and ultimately, flourish after the requisite training and education," says Ilker Onan, KCRJ-Immigration Services Division.

Census data shows "Kentuckians by Choice" make up 3% of the population and rose 70% between the years 2000-2012. Kentucky now has over 133,744 immigrants from all around the world. The inherent problems associated with integrating the growing numbers of immigrants into Kentucky society require that we move forward together as a society with educated and compassionate approaches that make integration easier for the community-at-large.

The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy is a nonprofit, non-partisan initiative that conducts research, analysis and education on important policy issues facing the Commonwealth. Launched in 2011, the Center is a project of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED). A Profile of New Americans in Kentucky 2014 written by Anna Bauman for KCEP reports data (below) that is significant in understanding Kentucky's immigrant population:

  • Immigrants account for just three percent of Kentucky's population, but the state's immigrant population grew at a faster rate than all but six states between 2000 and 2012.
  • About 35 percent of immigrants are naturalized citizens, while the rest are temporary and permanent legal residents, refugees and unauthorized immigrants.
  • Immigrants' share in the labor force, small business ownership and economic output all slightly exceed their representation in the population.
  • Contrary to common assumptions, almost half of immigrants work in white-collar occupations, while less than one tenth work in farming.
  • Immigrants' distribution across the educational spectrum is more top- and bottom-heavy than it is for U.S. born Kentuckians.
  • Although immigrant and U.S. born Kentucky families are similarly represented across income categories, the data indicate that immigrants in the low-income category face much lower wages than U.S. born workers.

Currently, KCRJ develops and promotes the talents of new citizens entering the 21st Century workplace, while offsetting the probability of social problems acting to alter the fabric of family life.  Through its civic collaborations, the KCRJ Immigration Services Division focuses on strengthening new citizens and their families to further improve their integration into our community and their contributions to the economic luster of Kentucky. Initiatives are already underway to bring about these "restorative" changes so Kentucky's immigrant population can be assured of an easier transition. These practices are not only healthy for the immigrant, but help build socially and economically sound Kentucky communities for us all.

Grow with us.
Together we can move Kentucky forward.
Join myKCRJ to receive our member-only newsletter.

"We need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind's greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Contact Us


Want to receive more information?

Keep your hand on the pulse of changing dynamics in Kentucky’s restorative justice movement. Receive news as a member of myKCRJ.

Have any questions?

Please feel free to contact us! We will get back with you as soon as possible.