Former San Antonio Mayor and Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros today formed the Cisneros Center for New Americans, which will help Latino immigrants assimilate into communities where Hispanics are not plentiful and the Latino culture is not understood, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Cisneros is forming the center along with former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Cisneros said the U.S.will grow by 100 million people by the year 2050,and most of that new growth will be immigrants, a move he said is needed to avoid the demographic suicide facing many other industrialized nations, like Japan, Spain, and Germany.
He said immigration is the 'salvation of America.'
"Other countries in the world, people we have regarded as our allies are before our eyes changing, and not in good ways," he said. "They are getting older. Some are actually losing population."
Cisneros said the U.S. has the ability to admit new immigrants, which is the only way our way of life can survive.
"We don't know how to operate in the modern world free enterprise system, capitalist system without growth," he said. "They require market growth, they require growth in consumer markets."
On the board of the Cisneros Center are prominent individuals, including long time ad man and active Republican Lionel Sosa.
Cisneros says the center will act in much the same way that the Sons of Italy worked 100 years ago, helping Italian immigrants find their way in their new country, doing everything from learning English to learning a trade, which Cisneros says is far more difficult a task for immigrants today than a century ago.
"Once upon a time, if you came as an immigrant, it was good enough to have strong shoulders," he said. "Because you could lift bales of farm goods, or you could lift carcasses in the stockyards in Chicago. That's not the case any more."
He says Latino immigrants will need help learning the technology, and finding their way through the American education system, which is unlike the systems in place in Latin America.
The Center says it will 'generate measurable social, economic, and educational advancement in the lives of immigrants seeking to fully integrate into American society and participate in the promise of the American dream."