DECEMBER 24, 1986 / MONTROSE VOICE 3
Some Houston Gay Hispanics Leaving
Due to New Immigration Law
By Sheri Cohen Darbonne
Gay Hispanics are leaving Texas for
New York and California in the wake of
difficulties caused by local employers'
paranoia regarding the Immigration
Reform and Control Act of 1986, J.
David Zavala of Gay and Lesbian His
panic Unidos declared Friday, Dec. 19.
One of the more radical issues
involved is the Dec. 18 announcement
by the Social Security Administration
that it will set up a program in January
to allow Texas employers to check
whether job applicants are illegal
Under the new law, employers who
knowingly hire illegal aliens will face
civil penalties. Employers will not be
penalized for illegal workers hired
before the law was enacted. A first
offense carries a fine of $250-2000 for
each illegal alien hired. Second offense
fines range from $2000-5000, while a
third offense is punishable by a fine of
$:.000-10,000 per illegal worker hired.
Employers with a "pattern" of violations could face a six-month prison
term, a fine of up to $3000, or both.
The law also provides for "amnesty"
for aliens who have continuously
resided in the United States since Jan.
], 1982. However, the provision excludes
any aliens who arc ineligible under current immigration law. This places gays,
who are restricted from immigrating
undercurrent laws, at increased risk for
deportation and discrimination.
Also excluded from temporary resident status under the provision are convicted felons and anyone with three or
more misdemeanor convictions in the
Zavala, treasurer of the local I_atin
American group, said he has heard
close to 70 reports of job discrimination
related to business peoples' interpretation and fears of the law. Although
many who have lost their jobs are illegals, some were singled out merely
because of their Spanish accents or
appearance, he claims.
"The law is already casting suspicion
on anyone with brown skin or an
accent," Zavala said.
In one incident, a Hispanic employee
of a Montrose fast food restaurant was
told he was being transferred to a location near the Galleria. When the man
reported for work at the other store, he
was told that he was not hired. In
another case, a legal Houston resident
told Zavala he was fired because of his
Paranoia and confusion over the law
is also causing a reluctance on the part
of local employers to even consider hiring anyone with brown skin.
Being gay as well as Latin probably
makes the situation worse for an
employee or job applicant, but many
Hispanic males are able to keep their
sexuality a secret, Zavala said. Many
Mexicans and South Americans, particularly illegals, are closeted or bisexual
because of culture and close-quartered
living, but Salvadorans appear to be
more liberal, he said
Although gays do not have as much
"pull" on their finances—from families
in the home country, for example—they
tend, like most foreign workers, to send
a considerable portion of their earned
income home to parents and relatives,
Zavala noted. Gay illegals also seem to
be the most ambitious of all illegal
immigrants, and if unable to find work
in one location will move On to another.
"The new law will make more people
leave, and ultimately will cost more people their jobs," Zavala said.
On the other hand, the fear of "getting
caught" is preventing illegal workers
from taking some jobs that are available. Zavala reported that a local business person told him certain jobs
usually taken by illegals were going
unfilled because "no one else wants to
do that kind of work."
"People who are caught using false
Social Security numbers can be put in
jail," Zavala said.
"It adds on to the fact that these peo
ple come to this country for the 'Great
Promise,' which just isn't there for Latinos. It might be there for Czechoslova-
kian or Russian defectors, but not for us,
The Social Security telephone verification system was criticized Friday by
Wade Henderson, an attorney for the
American Civil Liberties Union. Henderson said the SSA's poor recordkeeping could result in many people
who are legitimately entitled to work in
Texas losing their jobs. Social Security
Commissioner Dorcas Hardy admitted
at a press conference announcing the
new program that there were "discrepancies" in the administration's earnings records.
A short course will be held at Rice
University Jan. 19 to explain the new
immigration law and its provisions.
Immigration lawyers and officials of
the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service will be on hand to answer
employers' questions regarding interpretation and enforcement of the new
law, and how to comply with it.
STEVE D. MARTINEZ,
OPEN MON.. TUES. THURS.. FRI.
OPEN SATURDAY 830AM-4PM
CLOSED SUN. & WED.
Twelve Oaks Tower
4126 Southwest Frwy #1000
Houston, TX 77027
"The Best ot the Year"
One on One
Christmas Day 11pm
New Year's Eve 11pm
S3 Cover Charge
1016 West Gray 528-2475
^ The Pot Pie
(formerly Westheimer Cafe)
from Our Staff
Early Bird Special llpm-7am
2 eggs. 2 pancakes. 2 sausage.
2 bacon '2.49
Closed from 7pm Dec 24
to 6am Dec 26
1525 Weslheimer 528-4350
Nervousness, Inability to concentrate, "\~
Self-Doubt, Increased pulse. ANXIETY has become\
a part of your life. A part you don't seem able to cope with.
The FABRE CLINIC offers FREE medical treatment for anxiety.
Our services always remain confidential and anyone in good
health may qualify. Call us for an evaluation and appointment.