BERKELEY -- Sept,. 21, 1997 -- According to Carlos Munoz, Jr., an award-winning author who teaches Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, Latino poverty has surpassed that of African-Americans. "About 30 percent of Latinos live in poverty; 29 percent of African-Americans do," said Munoz in an article in the Los Angeles Daily News. "The Latino unemployment rate is 9 percent, compared to 4 percent for whites. Latinos have experience a drop in median income. Latino median income is $25,000 compared to $26,000 for blacks and $43,000 for whites," Munoz observed.
Munoz blamed Latino problems on "obstacles we face" which keep Latinos from achieving equality. One of those obstacles was the border. "It is unfortunate that Latino immigrants are not being allowed to become a part of this historic tapestry," Munoz wrote, "They are instead being victimized by Clinton's own policy of militarizing the border and by a mean-spirited Congress that continues to deny Latino and other immigrants their basic human rights."
"Dr. Munoz doesn't seem to understand that Latinos are doing poorly because there are so many of them," said Glenn Spencer of Voice of Citizens Together, an immigrant reform group based in Sherman Oaks, California. "America has been importing poverty from south of the border so long that there is a better than even chance that Southern California will begin to take on the characteristics of a Mexican town, with all that that implies."