Depression, War, and Civil Rights

Hispanics in the Southwest

Santa Rita Copper Mine/tiles/non-collection/p/part3_10_santa_rita_copper_mine_lc.xml Image courtesy of the Library of Congress An image of the Santa Rita pit copper mine in southwestern New Mexico in 1940—at the time the largest such mine in the world. In the early 20th century, Mexican workers accounted for nearly half the copper-mining workforce in the U.S. Southwest.
Before 1910, Mexican immigrants traveled frequently between the United States and Mexico because of the light enforcement of the borders. Many came to the United States temporarily to look for work or visit family or friends. Despite stronger laws restricting European and Asian immigrants from the 1900s to the 1920s, “transnational movement back and forth between the United States and Mexico remained largely unhindered, and the border between the two countries went virtually unregulated.”31 In part, this reflected the needs of U.S. farmers, particularly in the West and the Southwest, for Mexican field workers. By 1929 the Southwest was responsible for 40 percent of the United States’ total fruit and vegetable output.32 To support this level of production and the region’s economic status, growers relied heavily on the inexpensive labor of Mexican workers.33

Mexican immigrants also played a prominent role in the rail and mining industries. For example, Mexicans made up 43 percent of Arizona’s coppermining workforce, and by 1922 they constituted 85 percent of the railroad workforce in the Southwest.34 Various groups began to protest as their presence expanded. Small farmers objected because they were forced to compete with larger farms that employed cheaper Mexican labor. Organized labor also objected, fearing that the overuse of immigrant labor would depress wages.35 Thus, in the 1920s, many unions operated under an informal agreement to exclude Mexicans and lobbied the federal government to regulate Mexican immigration. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was particularly active, attempting to promote emigration restrictions in Mexico through its relationship with that country’s major labor organization.36 However, both proponents and opponents of Mexican immigration agreed that it was undesirable for Mexicans to become permanent members of U.S. society, and supporters of Mexican labor sought to assuage concerns that Mexicans were seeking integration.37

Immigration restriction gained momentum during the 1920s. With the creation of the Border Patrol in 1925, the federal government began trying to curb illegal immigration.38 Tipping the fragile balance in favor of those opposing Mexican labor was the realization that, contrary to the assurances of Mexican labor supporters, Mexicans became permanent members of U.S. society. From 1910 to 1920, for example, Mexican immigrants were the leading foreign-born group in California, and by 1930 they constituted 19 percent of its immigrant population.39 At the same time, California’s naturalization rate for Mexicans was declining. In light of these facts, reform groups that had previously supported integration began advocating increased limitations on Mexican immigration.40

Onion Picker/tiles/non-collection/p/part3_11_onion_picker_lc.xml Image courtesy of the Library of Congress A Mexican onion picker pauses in a field near Tracy, California, in 1935. During the Great Depression, various U.S. groups sought to prevent the employment of migrant workers who were seen as competition for scarce jobs.

In the face of such restrictions, younger generations of immigrants had begun building communities and a common cultural identity in the United States, nurtured by emerging Spanish-language media in urban areas like Los Angeles, California, and San Antonio, Texas.41 In Southwestern states, Mexican Americans lived under a modified Jim Crow system that limited their movement and hampered their opportunities for social and economic advancement. Across the Sunbelt, the enforcement of legal segregation in workplaces, housing, and schools was common. Texas instituted rigid segregation, whereas New Mexico protected nuevomexicanos’ civil rights under its constitution but tended to separate the races in social settings. California used what one scholar calls “racebased legal distinctions and selective law enforcement” to enforce segregation. By the 1930s, a small but politically active middle class emerged and challenged these barriers of “political disparateness, ideological ambiguousness, economic exploitation, social fragmentation, and educational discrimination,” according to one historian.42 These activists began to fight the Anglo-dominated political establishment by forming mutualistas (mutual aid societies) and social clubs to improve living conditions, publicize civil rights issues, and confront segregation practices directly.43

Repatriation During the Great Depression

Mexican Immigrant Family/tiles/non-collection/p/part3_12_tx_immigrants_lc.xml Image courtesy of the Library of Congress The Vigues, an immigrant family from Mexico, stand outside their dilapidated shack in Austin, Texas, in the early 1940s. The U.S. Housing Authority, created during the New Deal, began to address the needs of impoverished Southwestern residents by developing public housing projects.
While Mexican Americans experienced racial discrimination during the early 20th century, the degree of prejudice varied according to regional economic conditions. Predictably, the Great Depression marked a period of extreme hardship for Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans. After the stock market crashed on Thursday, October 24, 1929, industrial production fell by 50 percent, and investment dwindled to a trickle. Job losses increased sharply, and by 1932 the U.S. unemployment rate was 25 percent. Neither the agricultural market nor its increasingly mechanized means of production was immune to these hardships. The Depression forced many rural Southwestern residents into the cities in search of work and support. Los Angeles, in particular, was attractive to Mexicans because of the barrios (neighborhoods), which had been established by earlier generations of immigrants. By 1930 Los Angeles’ Mexican population was second only to Mexico City’s.44

As the Depression wore on and job opportunities shrank, workers became more desperate, and animosity toward Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans intensified. The devastating Dust Bowl in the Midwest and the South aggravated the situation, forcing farmers westward in droves in search of employment. In response, white Americans pressured employers to exclude noncitizens, sometimes resulting in the exclusion of non-whites, even if they were citizens. For example, California’s legislature adopted a law in 1931 prohibiting companies that conducted business with the government from employing noncitizens in public jobs.45 Similar discrimination pervaded the welfare system, as people of Mexican descent consumed a decreasing share of public benefits. This trend developed as the Mexican population grew, constituting a steady proportion of those who were eligible for benefits, especially in urban areas, where unemployment skyrocketed.46

Depression Bread Line/tiles/non-collection/p/part3_13_breadline_fdr_library.xml Image courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library/National Archives and Records Administration Hundreds stand in a line wrapping around a New York City block, waiting for bread handouts in 1932. The Great Depression plunged the nation into a prolonged, severe economic crisis. The U.S. unemployment rate reached nearly 25 percent; for minority groups it was much higher.

Soon after the stock market crash, federal and local governments began formulating plans to repatriate Mexican workers in the United States. In 1930, echoing sentiments throughout the Southwest, President Herbert Hoover denounced Mexicans as a factor contributing to the Depression and ordered the Labor Department to develop a deportation program.47 Eager to recover skilled workers for its economy, the Mexican government obligingly identified them and paid for their transportation to Mexico.48 The program was initiated in Southern California under the direction of the federal government, with state and local government support, and expanded throughout the Southwest. In 1931 alone, anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000 individuals returned to Mexico. Los Angeles lost approximately one-third of its Mexican population during this period.49 Between 1929 and 1935, more than 400,000 people were repatriated to Mexico, including U.S. citizens of Mexican descent. Approximately 85,000 more Mexicans returned to Mexico voluntarily. Most repatriates continued to live in poverty.50 Some attempted to return to the United States, but they were denied entry by federal border authorities.51

In 1929 Mexican Americans in San Antonio, Texas, founded the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which sought to challenge and eliminate segregation and to protect these citizens’ constitutional rights. The group was formed at a crucial time, when anti-Mexican sentiment threatened to erupt. With the establishment of the draft and a high enlistment rate for Hispanic Americans during World War II, some of LULAC’s advisors were employed by the U.S. government as liaisons to the Hispanic-American community.52

Hispanic Americans During World War II

As the United States moved closer to war with the Axis powers, Hispanic Americans, like many other Americans, experienced a rapid change in their social status. Historian Manuel Gonzales estimates that as many as 750,000 Hispanic-American men and women saw active service in the war. Along with the option to participate in the military, an expansion in wartime manufacturing enabled thousands of Mexican Americans to enter the workforce.53

U.S. government officials realized that incorporating racial minorities into the war effort was pivotal to achieving victory, and to promoting free-market capitalism abroad after the war.54 Mitigating domestic and racial discrimination benefited emerging political constituencies at home, and policymakers also viewed the issue as a matter of national security: In highlighting human rights abuses and racial discrimination perpetrated by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, the United States invited criticism from its enemies, who pointed to legal segregation in the South and the marginalization of ethnic minorities elsewhere.55 American officials wanted to maintain positive relations with allies such as Mexico, whose diplomats received numerous complaints about racial discrimination from Mexican immigrants in the United States. Mexican officials sought to protect Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans by complaining to the U.S. State Department about their treatment. The Franklin D. Roosevelt administration responded by monitoring discriminatory practices in the Southwest and promoting work exchanges between the two countries.56

Dennis Chavez and the Creation of the Fair Employment Practices Committee

Dennis Chavez of New Mexico/tiles/non-collection/p/part3_14_chavez_dennis_lc.xml Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico introduced legislation during World War II to create a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission. Chavez believed such a step would advance the rights of Hispanic Americans nationwide.
On June 25, 1941, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, which declared “full participation in the national defense program by all citizens of the United States, regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin” based on “the firm belief that the democratic way of life within the Nation can be defended successfully only with the help and support of all groups within its borders.” The order required that the federal government, unions, and defense industries “provide for the full and equitable participation of all workers.”57 Roosevelt’s mandate also created the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) in the federal Office of Personnel Management to investigate complaints about unjust hiring practices. Thousands availed themselves of the FEPC mechanism. From July 1, 1943, to June 30, 1944, the committee logged more than 4,000 complaints, nearly 80 percent of which involved discrimination based solely on race.58 Much of the remaining 20 percent involved ethnic and religious intolerance, which Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico found particularly troubling given its effect on his constituents.59

The FEPC’s work underscored Chavez’s efforts on behalf of the nation’s veterans, particularly those in his Southwestern constituency. “If they go to war, they are called Americans—if they run for office, they are Spanish-Americans, but if they are looking for jobs, they are referred to as damn Mexicans,” Chavez noted.60 In its report to the President, the employment committee concurred with Chavez and urged the establishment of policies to protect labor rights. “Wartime gains of Negro, Mexican-American and Jewish workers are being lost through an ‘unchecked revival’ of discriminatory practices,” the committee concluded. Moreover, minorities who served in the war had more difficulty finding work than did their white contemporaries. Without direct action, civil unrest would undoubtedly follow and “be a cause of embarrassment to the United States in its international relations,” reported the New York Times.61

On June 23, 1944, Chavez introduced a bill to establish a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission. Appointed chairman of an Education and Labor subcommittee that oversaw issues related to fair employment, Chavez used the subcommittee hearings to demonstrate the extent of discrimination in the United States, whose effects made the creation of an employment commission a national concern.62 Though the 78th Congress (1943–1945) adjourned before the Senate considered his bill, Chavez reintroduced it during the 79th Congress (1945–1947). Days later, Southern Senators filibustered it.63 The bill’s opponents framed employment discrimination as a local issue that was outside Congress’s purview; numerous state governments, including Chavez’s own, had already rejected fair employment bills. Democrat Carl Hatch, New Mexico’s senior Senator, called the bill unconstitutional, arguing, “When we attempt to force by law tolerance, respect, mutual good will, and such things, we are only aggravating the conditions which we seek to improve.”64 Republican Robert Taft of Ohio had similar concerns and expressed reservations that overregulation would hamper free trade.65 Supporters pointed out that the legislation encompassed transportation and communication issues and affected interstate commerce.66 As Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley of Kentucky considered possible areas for compromise, the bipartisan opposition dug in its heels, and the Senate voted against cloture. “It took the crucifixion of Christ to redeem the world,” Chavez remarked, disheartened but not surprised. “It took intestinal fortitude to bring about the Declaration of Independence. It took ordinary American decency to bring about the Constitution to the United States. It took the death of Americans during the Civil War to find out that this was one country. It took this vote today to find out that a majority cannot have its will.”67 Undeterred, Chavez fought to protect the civil rights of all citizens until his death in 1962.

The Bracero Program

Bracero Program/tiles/non-collection/p/part3_15_bracero_na.xml Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration A family of Mexican laborers travel north of the U.S. border in 1944 to participate in the Bracero Program, which brought temporary workers to the United States. During World War II, such laborers filled positions in the agriculture and railroad industries vacated by U.S. men who joined the military.
After the United States entered World War II, the need for agricultural production and labor increased dramatically. The cessation of trade with Europe eliminated a major supplier of agriculture products, and large numbers of domestic workers left the agricultural workforce for the military or higher-paying defense work.68 While there were roughly one million domestic migrant workers in 1940, that number decreased to approximately 60,000 by 1942.69 Foreseeing such shortages, cotton and vegetable growers in the Southwest petitioned Congress to permit the hiring of temporary laborers.70 Analyzing the labor needs of the agricultural sector in the late 1940s, President Harry S. Truman’s Commission on Migratory Labor stated, “The demand for migratory labor is thus essentially twofold: To be ready to go to work when needed, to be gone when not needed.”71

While the United States was eager to recruit Mexican workers who had been displaced during the previous decade, the Mexican government based its cooperation on the establishment of standards for workers’ wages, housing, and food as well as worker protections if demand for farm labor declined. Moreover, the Mexican government required contracts in Spanish and insisted that the United States pay workers’ transportation across the border.72 In 1943 Congress authorized the Bracero Program with large majorities in both chambers. President Roosevelt signed the bill into law (P.L. 78-45) on April 23, 1943.73

Initially the Bracero Program proved popular; immigrant workers earned a living while the Mexican economy benefited from worker remittances.74 However, many employers ignored the protections in the 1943 agreement, subjecting braceros (seasonal farm workers) to excessive costs, poor food and housing, exposure to harmful substances, and discrimination.75 Eventually an agreement between the worker and the grower replaced the contract between the U.S. government and the bracero, effectively undermining the federal government’s oversight role. To limit transportation costs, farmers insisted that recruitment centers be located close to the U.S.-Mexico border, but this promoted illegal immigration, as workers who were ineligible for the Bracero Program were also a short distance from the border.76 

Children Farm Laborers/tiles/non-collection/p/part3_16_child_farm_labor_lc.xml Photograph by Paul Fusco, Magnum Photos; image courtesy of the Library of Congress In this undated photograph, children work as farm laborers beside their adult counterparts.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Emanuel Celler of New York attempted to include employee sanctions by submitting amendments to the Agricultural Act of 1949. “Without the sanctions,” Celler said, “you have here an engraved invitation for the predatory interests along the border … to go into Mexico and induce people, smugglers, and procurers” to illegally transport laborers to the U.S. to work on “the plantations and on the ranches, and on the huge farms.”77 Democratic Representative Antonio Fernández of New Mexico vehemently disagreed, asserting, “If what you want is to starve every illegal Mexican alien out of this country; it is most effective.” Fernández criticized the amendment, saying it “affects and punishes a lot of other laborers who are not Mexican aliens, but Americans.… A man of my nationality, American, but of Mexican and Spanish descent, would be very adversely affected in his efforts to obtain employment.” He predicted the amendment would require “the farmer to become [a] policeman, an investigator, an informer, or run the risk of being a criminal.… He will employ only the Mexican with an immigration card and the Negro to the exclusion of Americans who look, speak, and have names like the Mexican nationals,” Fernández said.78 After spirited debate, an overwhelming majority rejected Celler’s amendment.

Congressional opponents of the Bracero Program focused on its negative effect on domestic employment. Senator Chavez, speaking in 1943 on the initial authorization of the Bracero Program, stated, “[In] justice to ourselves and in justice to the boys who are doing the fighting, our own citizens should have the opportunity of working on our farms. They should be given the opportunity to pick citrus fruits and vegetables in Florida, and cotton in the Southwest.”79 Later, Representatives George McGovern of South Dakota and Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota insisted the agreement disadvantaged small family farmers competing with large farms with the ability to hire braceros.80 While the agreement restricted the braceros to agricultural or railroad work, there was concern that braceros remaining in the United States after their contract had expired could easily move into the industrial sector.81

Support for the program eroded as opposition grew louder by the 1960s. Stricter regulations by the Department of Labor greatly reduced the number of braceros who were admitted, as labor organizations such as the AFL-CIO gained more influence. In addition, the mechanization of agriculture lessened the need for Mexican labor. While the reauthorization of the measure in 1951 had passed with strong support, the 1961 and 1963 reauthorizations were far more contentious.82 The program eventually expired in 1964.83

Illegal Immigration and the End of the Bracero Program

Border Crossing/tiles/non-collection/p/part3_17_border_crossing_lc.xml Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Cars cross the international border between Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, in the late 1930s. U.S. shoppers during the Great Depression took advantage of a favorable exchange rate by traveling into Mexico to buy goods.
While the Bracero Program lacked provisions to discourage illegal immigration, it was generally believed that the availability of a legal route to the American labor market would reduce illegal entry. However, illegal immigration increased during the operation of the Bracero Program. Many Mexicans who were not qualified to participate in the program crossed the border illegally and found work with growers who wanted to keep operating costs low. Texas, particularly, relied on undocumented labor to augment its workforce after being expelled from the Bracero Program for noncompliance.84

Under pressure from the Mexican government to increase the regulation of illegal immigration, the U.S. Border Patrol initially redirected its scarce resources to the U.S.-Mexico border, doubling the number of officers on patrol.85 Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) apprehension rates skyrocketed during the next decade, rising from 11,715 in 1943 to 885,587 in 1953, with Mexicans constituting a growing proportion of that number.86 Growers in the Southwest and their Members in Congress routinely pressed the INS to relax its enforcement of immigration law, especially when labor was in high demand. Also, as a study pointed out, Congress consistently failed to fund the INS at levels commensurate with its task. Thus, while the INS assigned more agents to work along the border, its total force was cut by a third from 1942 to 1951.87

In 1951 President Truman’s Commission on Migratory Labor released a report blaming low wages in the Southwest and social ills on illegal immigration: “The magnitude … has reached entirely new levels in the past 7 years.… In its newly achieved proportions, it is virtually an invasion,” the report said.88 After touring Southern California in August 1953 to assess the impact of illegal immigration, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Attorney General, Herbert Brownell, Jr., pushed Congress to enact sanctions against employers of undocumented workers and to confiscate the vehicles that were used to bring them to the United States.89 While neither proposal became law, the administration moved forward on plans for a deportation operation.90 On June 9, 1954, INS Commissioner General Joseph Swing announced the commencement of “Operation Wetback.”91 The first phase of the operation began in California and Arizona.92 Its effectiveness depended on publicity as well as manpower. Extensive media coverage that often exaggerated the strength of the Border Patrol, as well as targeted displays of strength, gave the impression of a greater force. In many regions, this strategy convinced thousands who had entered the U.S. illegally to repatriate voluntarily. In Texas, for example, more than 63,000 individuals returned to Mexico of their own volition; U.S. officials detained an additional 42,000 persons in July 1954. An INS report later indicated that the agency apprehended nearly 1.1 million individuals.93 The INS operation won at least tacit support from several key groups; the Mexican government, labor groups, and even Mexican-American civil rights groups acknowledged the labor problem, but they withheld extensive criticism.94 While the raids disrupted the growing seasons in California and Arizona, the government pacified farm owners with promises of additional bracero labor.95 Though the program was touted as a success, its effects were short-lived; illegal entry exploded again after the United States terminated the Bracero Program in 1964.96

Next Section


31Nicholas De Genova, “Immigration Policy, Twentieth Century,” in Oboler and González, eds., The Oxford History of Latinos and Latinas in the United States, vol. 2: 353.

32Manuel Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States, 2nd ed. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009): 123.

33Kunal M. Parker, “Citizenship and Immigration Law, 1800–1824: Resolution of Membership and Territory,” in Michael Grossberg and Christopher Tomlins, eds., The Cambridge History of Law in America: The Long Nineteenth Century (1789–1920), vol. 2 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008): 197–199.

34Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 122–123.

35David Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836–1986 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987): 182.

36Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans: 190; Harvey A. Levenstein, “The AFL and Mexican Immigration in the 1920s: An Experiment in Labor Diplomacy,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 48, no. 2 (May 1968): 206–219.

37Parker, “Citizenship and Immigration Law, 1800–1924,” in Grossberg and Tomlins, The Cambridge History of Law in America, vol. 2: 200; Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans: 187–188.

38Parker, “Citizenship and Immigration Law, 1800–1924,” in Grossberg and Tomlins, The Cambridge History of Law in America, vol. 2: 200.

39George J. Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993): 96.

40Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American: 105.

41Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 121–122; Juan Gómez- Quiñones, Roots of Chicano Politics, 1600–1940 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994): 297–301; Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004): 129–130.

42Richard Steele, “Mexican Americans in the 1940s: Perceptions and Conditions,” in Richard Griswold del Castillo, ed., World War II and Mexican American Civil Rights (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008): 9–17; Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 113–125, 163–168. Like New Mexico, California sought to guarantee Hispanics’ civil rights in the 19th century through the 1879 state constitution, but Hispanics’ political power declined throughout the 1870s. The quotation is from Gómez-Quiñones, Roots of Chicano Politics, 1600–1940: 295–296.

43For a detailed description of the formation of these groups, see Gómez-Quiñones, Roots of Chicano Politics, 1600–1940: 311–318.

44Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 140–142. Gonzales notes that Los Angeles had “97,116 Mexicanos living within its city limits.”

45Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American: 211.

46Ibid., 212–213.

47Ibid., 213–214.

48Victor C. Romero, “Deportation Cases and Legislation,” in Oboler and González, eds., The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States, vol. 1: 496.

49Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 148.

50Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American: 217.

51Ibid., 220.

52Benjamin Marquez, LULAC: The Evolution of a Mexican American Political Organization (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993): 17–34; Richard Steele, “The Federal Government Discovers Mexican Americans,” in Griswold del Castillo, ed., World War II and Mexican American Civil Rights: 23–31; Gómez-Quiñones, Chicano Politics: Reality and Promise, 1940–1990: 40–41.

53Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 163–164; Steele, “The Federal Government Discovers Mexican Americans,” in Griswold del Castillo, ed., World War II and Mexican American Civil Rights: 20–21; Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 168–169.

54For an overview of efforts to promote democracy abroad in the 20th century, see Tony Smith, America’s Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the Twentieth Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995).

55John D. Skrentny, The Minority Rights Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002): 21–25.

56Steele, “The Federal Government Discovers Mexican Americans,” in Griswold del Castillo, ed., World War II and Mexican American Civil Rights: 23–24; Gómez-Quiñones, Chicano Politics; Reality and Promise, 1940–1990: 36–37.

57“Executive Order 8802: Establishing the Committee on Fair Employment Practices,” 25 June 1941, published as part of the American Presidency Project, University of California, Santa Barbara, (accessed 1 February 2008). For a discussion of FDR’s political position, see Harvard Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks: The Emergence of Civil Rights as a National Issue (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978): 320–323. See also David M. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999): 768.

58Joe Roy Lujan, “Dennis Chavez and the Roosevelt Era, 1933–1945,” (Ph.D. diss., The University of New Mexico, 1987): 476.

59“Spanish-Americans Ask Fair Play, Says Chavez,” 19 October 1944, Los Angeles Times: 12.

60As quoted in Rosemary T. Díaz, “El Senador, Dennis Chavez: New Mexico Native Son, American Senior Statesman, 1888–1962,” (Ph.D. diss., Arizona State University, 2006): 331, see also 330–338.

61Jay Walz, “FEPC’s Life Ends with No Hope Held for Early Revival,” 1 July 1946, New York Times: 1.

62Lujan, “Dennis Chavez and the Roosevelt Era”: 515 and all of Chapter 11; “Negro Group Prays before Senators,” 1 September 1944, New York Times: 15. For the committee report, see Senate Committee on Education and Labor, Prohibiting Discrimination in Employment Because of Race, Creed, Color, National Origin, or Ancestry, 79th Cong., 1st sess. (24 May 1945), S. Rep. 290.

63Congressional Record, Senate, 79th Cong., 1st sess. (6 January 1945): 80; Lujan, “Dennis Chavez and the Roosevelt Era”: 522–524; “Senators Approve Extension of FEPC,” 24 May 1945, New York Times: 14.

64Congressional Record, Senate, 79th Cong., 2nd sess. (8 February 1946): 1154–1155.

65Congressional Record, Senate, 79th Cong., 2nd sess. (9 February 1946): 1194, 1196.

66Lujan, “Dennis Chavez and the Roosevelt Era”: 539.

67Congressional Record, Senate, 80th Cong., 2nd sess. (9 Feb. 1946): 1219.

68Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 170.

69Juan Roman García, Operation Wetback: The Mass Deportation of Mexican Undocumented Workers in 1954 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1980): 3; Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American: 220.

70García, Operation Wetback: The Mass Deportation of Mexican Undocumented Workers in 1954: 3; Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American: 220; Kitty Calavita, Inside the State: The Bracero Program, Immigration, and the I.N.S. (New York: Routledge, 1992): 19. According to Sánchez, the internment of Japanese Americans in 1942 aggravated the labor shortage.

71As quoted in Calavita, Inside the State: 21.

72Gilbert Paul Carrasco, “Bracero Program,” in Oboler and González, eds., The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States, vol. 1: 220.

73Statutes at Large, 57 Stat. 70, 1940–1943. For a detailed description of the Bracero Program in the 1950s and 1960s, see Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America: 138–147.

74Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 173–174.

75Carrasco, “Bracero Program,” in Oboler and González, eds., Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latina, vol. 1: 221.

76Calavita, Inside the State: 27–28; Carrasco, “Bracero Program,” in Oboler and González, eds., Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas, vol. 1: 221.

77Congressional Record, House, 82nd Cong., 1st sess. (27 June 1951): 7254.

78Ibid., 7260, 7261, 7264. The amendment was rejected 125 to 55.

79Congressional Record, House, 78th Congress, 1st sess. (8 April 1943): 3104.

80Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 173–174. For McCarthy’s views, see Congressional Record, House, 87th Cong., 1st sess. (23 May 1961): 8596.

81Carrasco, “Bracero Program,” in Oboler and González, eds., Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas, vol. 1: 223; Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 174.

82García, Operation Wetback: 142.

83Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 173.

84Joseph Nevins, “Deportations of Mexican-Origin People in the United States,” in Oboler and González, eds., Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas, vol. 1: 496.

85Kelly Lytle Hernández, “The Crimes and Consequences of Illegal Immigration: A Cross-Border Examination of Operation Wetback, 1943 to 1954,” Western Historical Quarterly 37, no. 4 (Winter 2006): 427.

86Hernández, “The Crimes and Consequences”: 429; Calavita, Inside the State: 217.

87Calavita, Inside the State: 32–36.

88Nevins, “Deportations of Mexican-Origin People in the United States,” in Oboler and González, eds., Oxford Encyclopedia, vol. 1: 497; Calavita, Inside the State: 47.

89García, Operation Wetback: 159–160.

90Ibid., 175.

91Undocumented workers were often called mojados or “wetbacks.” The term “wetback” first came into use around 1929 to define a person who illegally immigrated across the Rio Grande from Mexico to the United States. Although “wetback” is not classified by the Oxford English Dictionary or by most major U.S. dictionaries as offensive, its origins are controversial. See The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., Vol. XX, comp. J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), s.v. “wet.” For one scholar’s perspective about the term’s offensiveness, see García, Operation Wetback: xvi.

92Garcia, Operation Wetback: 183.

93Ibid., 217.

94Nevins, “Deportations of Mexican-Origin People in the United States,” in Oboler and González, eds., Oxford Encyclopedia, vol. 1: 497.

95García, Operation Wetback: 192–193, 207.

96Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States: 177.