The Real Cesar Chavez has Been Lost to the Open Borders Myth Makers



In recent years rabid open border advocates and Leftist politicians have readily invoked the image and mythology of Cesar Chavez, the leader of the farm labor rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s and the co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW), to push their agenda.

Unfortunately, they have done so by pushing a distorted and revisionist history of the activism of the Yuma, Arizona, native to further their goals of unlimited immigration and importation of cheap labor.

For example, two years after creating a monument to Chavez, President Obama proclaimed March 31, 2014 as Cesar Chavez Day and called for people to remembering his legacy in pushing “to fix a broken immigration system.”

It is an injustice to history to ignore an important part of the legacy of Chavez and the union which he led. His activism in favor of immigration enforcement bears directly on the current immigration debate.

For example, it was during an October 1, 1969 hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee that Chavez criticized the use of the 72-hour pass by illegal immigrants and their disrespect for U.S. immigration law.

“It is a significant problem in that it facilitates the entry of the illegals who can apply at the American consulate, get a 72 hour pass, and then they moment they get into the country disregard the pass, the restrictions on the pass which limit their travel and also the time period.”

The onetime migrant worker further noted to the members that legislation might help, but would fail to address the “other problem” with the easy access to green cards.

While today’s open border advocates decry the notion of E-verify, Chavez spoke to the problems not having the ability to verify was creating.

“This is a very difficult problem in terms of properly policing and discouraging employment of strike-breakers, the wetbacks. There has never been any case that we know of brought by the government against the employers because of the recruitment and hiring of these people.”

Nor would Chavez be in the same city, much less camp, as those lawmakers who slander border control agents and tougher enforcement measures.

“I would like to remind the Congressmen present that in the last week and a half we have seen how effective the Border Patrol can be when they want to stop marijuana from being imported into the country. It seems to me it would be a lot less difficult to stop human beings coming across than to stop the weed coming across. It can be done.”

Little had changed about enforcement of immigration law – or about Chavez’s view of illegal immigration when he testified the Senate in 1979.

“For so many years we have been involved in agricultural strikes; organizing almost 30 years as a worker, as an organizer, and as president of the union–and for all these almost 30 years it is apparent that when the farm workers strike and their strike is successful, the employers go to Mexico and have unlimited, unrestricted use of illegal alien strikebreakers to break the strike,” Chavez told senators.

“And, for over 30 years, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has looked the other way and assisted in the strikebreaking,” he said.

That same year, a New York Times article addressed the “many reports of alleged brutality against aliens by the U.F.W.” that were appearing in Mexican papers, but not by American news outlets.

Travis Yancy, the sheriff of Yuma County, said the union had established a 100-mile-long “wet line” of tents set up to prevent illegal aliens from crossing the border and even bribed Mexican officials not to interfere.

When the allegations were raised with Chavez, he acknowledged: “We had a ‘wet line;’ it cost us a lot of money, and we stopped a lot of illegals,” the paper noted.

If Cesar Chavez Day is to have any meaning, there must be a fair and accurate account of his views.

About Author

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Jennifer joined FAIR as Web Content Writer in 2017 and brings to the role extensive communications and media background. She began her career as a policy research analyst on multiple national and state political campaigns before entering journalism. In addition to spending over a decade writing for several broadcast and print news outlets, Jennifer directed communications strategy for a member of Congress and a military nonprofit.

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Real Cesar Chavez has Been Lost to the Open Borders Myth Makers - California Political Review

  2. avatar

    The morons need to wake up.. Chavez was against illegal immigration.. he wanted people to come LEGALLY!!! but of course the demented democRATS will not tell you that… they continue to lie to the people…
    ANYONE who is against illegal immigration needs to start demanding our politicians to STOP catering to them… our government encourages illegal aliens to enter our country for all the free benefits they offer them ON OUR BACKS!!! when illegal aliens enter our country, the citizens pay the price for it in more ways than one…

  3. avatar

    Putting all the IQ’s of all democrats together still doesn’t reach the number of their body temperature. Their stupidity is as apparent as their lies.

  4. avatar

    In 1969 Chavez led a protest at the southern border against illegal entry. Joining him were the Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Senator Walter Mondale, later vice president and the Democratic presidential nominee in 1984. But like an endless list of anti-illegal statements and actions by almost every Democratic leader in the ensuing years, including both Clintons and Obama, that has all disappeared like 1984’s Big Brother, where there is only today’s “truth”, abetted by a compliant media.

    There are also always the cliches that illegal advocates constantly spout and that are provably false. One is that “a tomato will be three dollars”, which ignores the fact that many crops, including all tomatoes for canning, are harvested mechanically. Most vegetables can also be grown hydroponically, a little more expensive initially, but it pays off with increased yields and less labor costs as stoop labor is almost eliminated. It’s essentially factory work.

    Picking is actually just a small fraction of the total cost of what ends up on the market shelf. And another big factor is that many fruits and vegetables, including avocados and salad tomatoes, now come from Mexico. Just read the labels.

  5. avatar

    ONE-THIRD of all “cheap” labor illegal farm workers in Mexifornia end up on welfare!

    The moment they step over our borders the anchor babies start and guarantee them 18 years of welfare!

  6. avatar

    I did not realize that Chavez was anti illegal immigrants. It makes sense, because the illegals deprived the American farm workers of jobs and decreased wages by underbidding American workers. The fewer the illegals, the better for the farm workers in the union.