Sunday, August 10, 2008

Influx brings Brazilian `bounce' to NYC suburb

A nice story, telling how much these immigrants from Brazil are adding to their new community in New York. DP

By JIM FITZGERALD | Associated Press Writer MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - It wouldn't take much to make police Commissioner David Chong a happy man. One Portuguese-speaking cop might do it.

It's just one sign of the impact Brazilians are having on this old suburban city just north of New York City, where 8 to 10 percent of the 72,000 people may be Brazilian.

"We really want to have someone here who can speak that language, who can really relate to that community," the commissioner says. "I would like a handful, but one would be a great start."

So Chong has launched a recruiting campaign, generating news stories in Portuguese-language newspapers and TV stations that reach the area's Brazilians.

It's difficult to know how many Brazilians live in the United States, since many are in the country illegally. Other small cities with large Brazilian populations include Danbury, Conn., and Framingham, Mass.

The influx in Mount Vernon is evident in the cluster of Brazilian-oriented shops and restaurants.

At a store called the Bradeli, shopkeeper Helio Martin, 46, sells Brazilian foods, perfumes and CDs. He also arranges airline tickets for trips to the old country and money transfers to help families back home. Born in the city of Belo Horizonte, Martin has been in the U.S. for 26 years and says, "I love Mount Vernon."

"Brazilians are very warm people. It is easy for us to get used to other backgrounds, other cultures," he says.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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