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Mexico Asks Data on Jews in Survey of Immigrants; Anti-semitism Denied

February 15, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

With further immigration temporarily halted, the Mexican Government today asked the Jewish Chamber of Commerce to supply data on the Jewish colony in Mexico to aid the Interior Department’s survey of immigrants aimed at formulating a new entry policy.

(Public announcement of the nation-wide investigation of immigrants’ status was made by President Cardenas on Sunday, the New York Times reported. The step was taken in accordance with a decision requiring the establishment of “protected zones” within which only Mexican small merchants can operate.)

The information required includes date of entry of each immigrant, occupation, number of workers he employs, nationality, whether the immigrant is a citizen, whether he left close relatives in his country of origin and whether they require his help.

In demanding the statistics, F. Trejo, chief of the population bureau of the Interior Department, assured representatives of the Jewish Chamber of Commerce, Jacob Landau and Gershon Shapiro, that there was no anti-Semitic motive behind them and that he believed Jews were desirable immigrants. He made clear, however, the Government’s policy of “Mexicanization” of economic life.

It was decided to call an urgent meeting of all Jewish organizations to discuss these and other demands and to reach a unified stand regarding the situation.

No entry permits are now being issued, Mr. Treho told the delegation, adding that 80 to 90 requests for them daily are being rejected. Discussing Jewish immigrants, he said that, unlike other immigrants, Jews did not leave the country and kept their capital in the country. His only criticism of Jewish immigrants, he asserted, was that they failed to assimilate, but that this was not serious, since it would be remedied in the second generation.

Mexico is interested in building a business structure of its own, Mr. Trejo said. It is planned to teach Mexican youths, with the help of immigrants, to become business men. Foreign merchants will be asked to employ Mexican youths and train them.

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