Hispanics For A Moratorium

By Roy Beck
Volume 3, Number 4 (Summer 1993)
Issue theme: "What makes a nation?"

In letters to President Clinton and all members of Congress, the National Hispanic Alliance is urging a three-to-five-year moratorium on all immigration.

Jack C. Terrazas, president of the Chicago-based Alliance, said the organization is trying to pull together grassroots Hispanic groups to give added voice to what several opinion polls have shown to be the majority Hispanic view on immigration issues. The alliance endorsed a moratorium more than a year ago. It came to its position before a Roper Poll first revealed that a majority of all Americans favor a temporary halt in newcomers and before the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) began a national campaign for a moratorium.

Terrazas is publisher of Hispanic USA, an eight-year-old monthly magazine with a nationwide circulation of 119,000 among Hispanic professionals and business owners. His company also publishes several other trade magazines from its office in downtown Chicago.

'Our businesses are concerned that too many people are coming and there aren't enough jobs then the people turn to crime,' Terrazas said in an interview. The Alliance also recently mass-mailed letters to solicit support for its moratorium effort from the estimated 4,000 Hispanic associations and 400,000 Hispanic businesses nationwide.

'The immigration issue is one of the most important national issues affecting every Hispanic and every other nationality, in terms of housing, education and family values,' the Alliance stated in the letter. 'There are just too many people in the United States ... It just doesn't make sense to keep allowing aliens to come here and create poverty.'

'We need your help to help force Congress to bring about a close-to-zero immigration policy. Write your Congressman now to get approval on a House Bill that will curtail all immigration for a period of three to five years and give America an opportunity to get back on its feet both economically and in family, social norms.' Worker displacement by immigrants is devastating to native blacks, Hispanics and the 'white under-class' in the urban areas of the country, the Alliance stated.

'Hispanics as a whole believe

there are too many immigrants

and most (contrary to popular

belief) believe there should be

a moratorium.'

In a six-page background paper mailed to all members of Congress, major ethnic associations and major newspapers, the Alliance acknowledged that 'certain Hispanic groups' have been among the special-interest lobbies keeping Congress from acting on a phenomenon that is damaging Americans' jobs, education and lifestyle. But those pro-immigration Hispanic groups actually represent the opinion of only a small minority of American Hispanics, the paper indicated. Terrazas said some individuals at the top of Washington-based Hispanic groups 'get to thinking of themselves instead of the grassroots' and oppose majority Hispanic opinion, instead seeking to build their own power by higher immigration.

'Hispanics as a whole believe there are too many immigrants and most (contrary to popular belief) believe there should be a moratorium,' the National Hispanic Alliance paper stated.

'The congressional agenda should heed the requests of the growing response of the large Hispanic population ... The administration needs to focus on fixing the deportation problem, refugees and asylum issue, and keeping illegal aliens from penetrating the U.S. and its work force ... A study by the respected National Bureau of Economics Research indicates what our Alliance has been saying for a long time - that as much as one-third of the decline in the relative earnings of native-born high school drop outs can be attributed to competition from low-skilled immigration.'

Terrazas said people should not be surprised at Hispanic-American citizens' immigration views. Most Hispanics are fully assimilated into society and 'have a strong sense of American pride and love for the United States.' To avoid ethnic exclusivism, Terrazas said, the National Hispanic Alliance has included leaders of African-American and Korean-American groups, as well. ;

[Copies of the more extensive background paper can be obtained from the National Hispanic Alliance, 230 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60601.]