IMPORTING MEXICAN POVERTY

NY TIMES - THURSDAY, JAN. 30, 1997

By CAREY GOLDBERG

LOS ANGELES -- If he dared tattoo gang symbols on his neck, Myrna Morales warned her strapping 17-year-old son, William, she would burn them off with her iron. Or a frying pan. Such was the desperation of Mrs. Morales, 41, a naturalized American from Guatemala who has watched three of her American-born children seduced by the worst of inner-city culture and seen her own earnings as a housecleaner shrink in recent years. With her diminishing income, she asked, how can she promise they will prosper like so many immigrants' children before them? "I tell them go to school and don't be like me, cleaning bathrooms," said Mrs. Morales, who scrubs and vacuums for $300 a week despite her degree as a medical assistant from a local college. To judge by the latest Census Bureau statistics, Mrs. Morales is right to be worried.

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"Hispanic Households Struggle Amid Broad Decline in Income" - January 30, 1997

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