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The number of foreign-born people living in Travis County has exploded by 230 percent from 1990 to 2005.

The Travis County Immigrant Assessment is about 150 pages long and one-and-a-half years in the making.

"The purpose of the document is to provide neutral, balanced, accurate and inclusive information, to inform and to continue a dialogue," said Rachel Coff of Travis County Health and Human Services.

The 230-percent increase represents 17 percent of the county's population, or 148,000 people.

Of those immigrants, more than half came from Mexico and nearly one quarter was born in Asia.

Only 26 percent of the total foreign-born population in the county are naturalized citizens, lower than both the Texas and national percentages.

"That's a population that's contributing to our community and our area, as well as it's a population that also needs services, and buys things and participates in the economy," said Chris Jimmerson, executive director of the Political Asylum Project of Austin.

The group provides free and low-cost legal services for immigrants.

"There are a lot of misconceptions out there about immigrants and what they contribute versus what they take, and what's going on with immigration," Jimmerson said. "I think this assessment is a really good, neutral way to take a look, and say what's real and what's not."

The next step will be to use the data to spark a community conversation.

"We looked at what is our vision for Travis County in the area of public safety?" Coff said. "What's our vision for the community in the area of health? Within that broad community goal, how are immigrants fitting into that picture?"