Aurora one of two cities chosen for BBC immigration documentary
Aurora will be one of two American cities featured in a BBC radio documentary about immigration after correspondents descend upon the city this weekend to conduct interviews.
Leaders from the Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are playing host to the correspondents from their arrival Friday evening until Monday as they interview more than a dozen Hispanic residents, including business owners and undocumented immigrants.
Jerry Campagna, interim executive director of the Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said the documentary will focus on Aurora and Miami, both cities with significant Hispanic populations.
"BBC picked Aurora because of the growth in the Latino population," Campagna said, hoping the documentary can show "how the immense increase in immigration has affected the community."
The city's Hispanic population grew from 46,557 in 2000 to 81,809 in 2010, according to census figures. Hispanics make up Aurora's largest ethnic group, at 41 percent of the city's 197,899 population. The rest of the population is 40 percent white, 10 percent black, 7 percent Asian and 2 percent other races.
Alderman Juany Garza said some community leaders still need to adjust to Aurora's growth in Hispanic population by providing more information in Spanish, including Latin music and food at festivals and targeting health information at Hispanics. She understands the need to speak, read and write in English, but said in reality, not all of Aurora's Hispanic residents have those skills.
Garza was a bit surprised Aurora was chosen for the documentary and Campagna said he wasn't expecting the BBC's call, either.
Still, he has been busy since July 10 — only his second day as the chamber's interim director — setting up interviews with people who represent different facets of Aurora's Latino community. He and others involved with the chamber will show the BBC's Bill Law around town, bringing him to soccer fields, churches and businesses to compile his radio interviews.
The documentary is set to be broadcast in September, Campagna said, bringing the state's second-largest city to the international stage.
"Aurora, Illinois, now has gotten on a global radar," he said.
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