Activist Urges Hispanics to use Strengths to Stay United


Courtesy of The Dispatch

America’s growing Hispanic population brings many benefits to the country, though those same strengths are often used by others for divisive ends, a Hispanic activist said Wednesday, Oct. 10.

“Despite what people would argue today that (Hispanics) have taken from this country, it pales in comparison historically to what we have given to this country,” said Juan Andrade Jr., president and executive director of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute.



Mr. Andrade spoke Wednesday to more than 50 people at Augustana College on the pros and cons of Hispanic population growth.
His Chicago-based organization holds voting drives across the country, runs leadership programs for communities and students, and studies the demographics of America’s Hispanic population, according to its Web site.


Counting Puerto Rico, there are close to 50 million Hispanics in the United States, he said. That number increases by 1.5 million every year, and by 2040, one in four Americans is expected to be Hispanic, he said.


“This is nothing that should alarm anyone,” Mr. Andrade said, explaining that it means more workers, children, voters, businesses and other benefits, he said. For example, as consumers, Hispanics spend $860 billion a year, he said.



But those very same strengths can be used by others in attempts to spread division between Hispanics and other parts of the American population, Mr. Andrade said.
In one case, he said, the Ku Klux Klan has reached out to blacks, saying they should join against Hispanics because they are taking jobs away from other segments of society.


“These efforts are just simply not going to work,” Mr. Andrade said. “I can assure you Latinos are here for the long haul, just like America is here for the long haul.”



Another divisive issue involving the Hispanic population is illegal immigration. According to some estimates, about 78 percent of the illegal immigrants in the United States are Hispanic, the majority from Mexico.


The solution to illegal immigration shouldn’t be about spending billions to build walls on borders — instead it should be about giving people reasons not to cross those borders, Mr. Andrade said.
“People are not coming here because they want to,” he said. “They are coming here because they have to.”



Those people need money to care for their families, and they can’t get it at home, he said.
The wall the federal government is building across parts of America’s southern border will make it more difficult and dangerous to get into the country, but it won’t stop people from coming, he said. Instead, the United States should invest that kind of money into Mexico.


Help that country create good jobs and improve its schools and infrastructure, and the flow of immigrants would slow, he said, adding that many people already here illegally would probably go home if conditions improved.



The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute runs nonpartisan voter registration drives throughout most of America, studies Hispanic demographics and runs leadership programs for community leaders and students.

The organization was founded in 1982 and since then has registered 2 million voters and published more than 400 studies on Hispanics. It is based in Chicago. More information about the Institute is available at     

Source: The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute.


Facebook Comments