He grew up to become one of the longest serving legislators of the new state of Arizona. House of Representatives and then a Senator inserving until age He supported them long before he ever ran for office when he lobbied on their behalf concerning various irrigation projects.
Even so, because he believed that no Americans in the Southwest would ever pick cotton, he did not favor outright exclusion, instead supporting a position which permitted Mexican workers to enter the country and labor in the fields, at least temporarily. In the process they amassed substantial national influence, overwhelming the voices of assimilation who claimed that new immigrant groups could integrate seamlessly into American society. Following up on their success, these exclusionists worked to persuade Americans that Mexican immigrants, like those from Asia or outside of northwestern Europe, lacked the requisite traits to become full Americans since they were of mixed racial heritage, belonged permanently to the lowest economic class, and adhered to a primitive culture.
For all these reasons exclusionists believed that Mexicans could not be assimilated and should be excluded much as other immigrant groups had been before them, and proposed that the new European quota laws be extended to Mexico, thereby decreasing the extant Mexican immigration by more than 95 percent. Prior to that, few recorded or paid any attention to the movement of Mexicans or to how many were coming or going.
Americans concerned themselves far more with the of Europeans still entering the country, despite attempts to restrict them with the literacy law plus head taxes and visa fees. This legislation, deed to decrease southeastern European immigration, impacted Mexicans as well.
But the major immigration law of the early twentieth century—the Johnson-Reed Act—placed a quota only upon immigrants from Europe and the eastern hemisphere as well as excluding Asians not already excludedleaving Mexicans free to migrate so long as they met the other basic tests for entry, such as literacy, and could cover the fees.
Harris, tried to include Mexicans in this restriction bill, but the measure failed 60 to 12 due to the strength of the agricultural lobby who wanted to keep the door open for laborers entering from the South. He of patriotic and eugenicist organizations then lobbied legislators to propose various restriction bills to extend the quotas to the western hemisphere, or at least to Mexico; five of these bills were debated during the years to These bills, introduced by members of both parties—sponsors included Congressmen Albert Johnson Republican and John Box Democrat as well as the aforementioned Senator Harris—all provided for quotas which would restrict Mexican immigration to 1, to 2, entrants per year, depending on the proposal.
This would have represented a dramatic decline from the approximately 60, Mexicans then emigrating each year from to Although they succeeded in portraying Mexicans as a people who would make very poor sorts of Americans due to their perceived practice of establishing few roots and wandering from place-to-place, growers who advocated open borders subverted this narrative to make the case that Mexicans would do no harm since they would not remain long enough to inflict any damage. Consequently, exclusionists failed to pass any of the restriction bills that they had proposed during the late s.
In addition to these reasons, growers and their political allies, policymakers in the Mexican and U. But unlike the exclusionists they did not care or think it mattered. Instead, they asserted that these immigrants would only be in the nation temporarily—to provide needed labor—and then return to Mexico.
Moreover, if a few did remain, they would not subvert U. In the late s, this strategy became the dominant way for explaining how the new immigrants would fit within American society: they would not. They would be encouraged to enter and work in the lowliest jobs, and then expected to keep to themselves or leave. This narrative of the temporary worker contributed to keeping the border with Mexico relatively open for immigrants.
As crop production in the U. Southwest expanded, growers increasingly experienced difficulty in finding sufficient pickers. Immigration quota laws, imposed against Europe and the eastern hemisphere in andfurther reduced the supply of workers. By the late s, the California Farm Bureau Federation reported that every year it faced more serious labor shortages.
Chamber of Commerce published a study concluding that economic development—including agriculture, railro, mining, and factories—in the American Southwest, West, and Midwest would be severely hampered without Mexican immigrants. Bythe United States dedicated far more land to agriculture than thirty years before, but workers on this land were fewer than in Between andsix million Americans moved from rural areas to urban ones, eschewing agricultural jobs in favor of the steadier and more lucrative employment in towns and cities.
Representatives for the Phelps-Dodge Corporation explained that of the Americans who had applied for mining jobs, most rejected the low-skilled positions, accepting only specialized or advanced ones. Fred Cummings of the Great Western Sugar Company in Colorado received petitions from over 3, farmers requesting more employees and concluded that this gap existed because educated white workers felt that they were above picking beets.
The AFL was far more concerned about those immigrants who did not stay on the farms but ventured to cities where they competed with Americans for employment and more advanced positions: inwhen the AFL perceived more immigrants as remaining and competing with American workers for jobs, the union changed its stance and opposed ongoing immigration. Real Americans did not hold—and would not accept—such a low class standing and standard of living.
Increasingly, they regarded the recent immigrants as racially distinct from themselves, permanently of the lower-classes, and as a migratory people who moved from job-to-job and place-to-place, with no real stability or belonging in the American nation or, perhaps, anyplace. As Mexicans left one location for a job in another, their nomadic practices made them seem perfectly suited to the requirements of agricultural labor with its seasonal tasks.
These other groups either had greater distances to travel to return home, or held more rights as Americans. Their very permanence in the nation helped growers to strengthen their arguments for hiring the presumably temporary—and therefore more desirable—Mexican immigrants. According to Wood, the migrants had no jobs, did not speak the language, and needed money for the cost of a steamer back to the island.
The Committee refused to cover these expenses by explaining that the Puerto Ricans, as American citizens, could not be deported and that consequently the government bore no responsibility to pay for their return. Like Puerto Ricans, Filipinos lived too far away for most to afford to leave on their own, and they could not readily be sent away since they could freely move throughout the United States and its territories.
Again, it was the permanence of black Americans that made them less desirable than Mexicans.
Growers rican perceived Mexicans as short timers with no interest in competing with Americans or in belonging to the American nation. Few provided any hard data. Statistics were slippery and reliable data difficult to find. While the U. Hayden did not black promote and idea, but also called for the codification of the existing back dating forth practice into an official temporary worker program.
Although serious problems existed with a similar policy during the First World War, which left destitute Mexicans stranded far from the border without food and work, Hayden believed it could be improved and that a German program offered an attractive model to follow.
Politically astute, he recognized that this was a potential way to balance the labor demands of agribusiness against the concerns of those like himself who feared the changes the newcomers would engender in the nation, and their impact on jobs. In debates over restriction bills Johnson questioned witnesses on both sides of the issue as to what they thought about a temporary worker program; generally the responses were positive. One factor that prevented Johnson and his followers from fully embracing this idea was their uncertainty over how to ensure that the temporary status would apply to the entire Mexican family without violating federal laws.
Constitution, as interpreted and upheld in the Supreme Court case U. Wong Kim Arkclearly conferred citizenship to children born in the United States regardless of the status of their parents. This decision posed a problem for him as he weighed the merits of a temporary worker program: immigrants could be sent back to Mexico per the terms of the contract, but any citizen children had the right to remain.
He also queried them about Tempe relationships that Mexicans might form with Anglos and if there should be prohibitions on interracial marriage, lest such relationships tempt immigrants to remain longer than intended. Further troubling Johnson was how migrating families would affect temporary status as he pondered whether those who emigrated in family units would be more or less likely to return to Mexico.
Funny but accurate black community map
Ultimately, the problems overwhelmed Johnson and his fellow exclusionists who did not support or approve of any formal, temporary worker program. Throughout this and other debates regarding Mexican immigration, agribusiness representatives, legislators, and other participants providing testimony frequently used language that referred to Mexican immigrants as sojourners, homers and rovers, or migratory and seasonal, as well as temporary and transient.
The sociologist Emory Bogardus reported that many Mexicans in California had become homeowners, suggesting that former immigrants settled permanently. The of Mexican children on California school rosters likewise increased dramatically. While policymakers pd it was of a seasonal duration, lasting three to 18 months, immigrants understood their temporary status in very different terms, relating it to certain events or occurrences rather than rigid timeframes: they spoke of returning to Mexico only for the holidays, or dreamt of returning permanently when violence in Mexico ceased or the economy improved.
They received help from Mexicans as well.
With so many Americans extolling their temporary status, Mexicans saw few reasons to think otherwise and to pursue permanent residency or citizenship. The immigrants also provided valuable remittances, an important source of income for the faltering Mexican economy. Voluntary repatriation, at some undetermined date, was the ultimate goal. In the early s, fewer than 60 official consulates existed to serve two million Mexicans residing in the United States. Under the official sanction of the Mexican consulates, these commissions offered various kinds of assistance to Mexicans immigrants, such as helping them to contest mistreatment by the police or their employers and to fight against incidents of discrimination.
The commissions also sponsored nationalistic activities to maintain ties with the immigrants abroad, registering them with the consulate and offering classes in literacy, Mexican history, and the Spanish language. In part these organizations provided such activities to counteract the Americanization efforts of similar groups, such as the Friendly House in Phoenix, which taught immigrants literacy and the English language.
In the late s a few consulates established private schools to further combat assimilationist efforts, with some consuls going so far as to visit various colonias and urge parents not to permit their children to Americanize.
By the end of the decade many honorary commissions had sprung up throughout the United States, extending the influence of the Mexican government well into el norte. The colonization plans involved assisting return immigrants with their transit home and a grant of land and resources. Repatriates were expected to use their recently acquired knowledge to establish efficient and successful farms; these schemes, however, usually failed.
The land proffered was usually of poor quality, the projects underfunded, and the immigrants provided with inadequate equipment and machinery to make the farms a success. The immigrants themselves generally owned few resources and had no experience in developing a farm, especially given their lowly positions picking crops throughout the United States. Such writings emphasized the idea that the hijosno matter the length of their absence, were really a part of Mexico and would be welcomed whenever they returned.
Some Mexican authors extended this argument to include even those whom had never lived in Mexico but had been in the territory taken by the United States via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Despite this welcoming propaganda, the Mexican government did not have much success. At this point the Mexican government openly discouraged their constituents from leaving Mexico because they did not want to finance their return.
They also began enforcing a Mexican law, which stipulated that immigrants provide evidence of a U. The editor of El Heraldo Mexicano called upon the Mexican government to establish a temporary work program in which American employers would be required to send workers back to Mexico; in this way Mexico would retain a pool of laborers to rebuild the country when it was in a position to do so. El Diarioa Mexican newspaper, criticized its government and consulates for not helping immigrants with their poor living conditions, forcing them to rely upon private organizations or mutualistas to resolve serious problems.
While one Mexican journalist called upon other local organizations in the United States—such as independent schools and job placement organizations—to help the indigent, he did not make similar demands upon any level of American government: he believed that the emigrants did not belong in the United States for the long-term, and that Mexico was primarily responsible for their welfare.
Arturo Rosales and Eric Meeks, also regarded their sojourn to America as temporary and expressed no interest in assimilation. One septuagenarian explained that he recently immigrated to the United States but intended to stay only until he could afford to purchase a barbershop back in Mexico.
These officials hoped to generate a sense of community amongst Mexican citizens abroad and at home, especially in the wake of the tumultuous Mexican Revolution. As the scholar F. Likely influenced by such efforts, most Mexicans in the United States prominently displayed symbols of Mexico in their homes, including portraits of the revered indigenous president, Benito Juarez, and the Virgin of Guadalupe, an important religious icon in Mexico. In the Midwest, Mexicans organized to sponsor art exhibits of the latest works of David Alfaro Siquieros, one of the foremost artists associated with the incipient Mexican nationalism.
Increasingly Mexicans recognized that Americans perceived them only as second-class Americans, if they viewed them as any type of American at all. Although Mexicans received some favorable attention from missionaries or social workers, other reformers daily impressed upon the immigrants just how they would have to change—in terms of dress, religion, food, language, and housing—in order to become successful in American society. This kind of pressure irked the new arrivals who resisted this intrusion into their personal lives.
Felipe Hale, a Mexican immigrant, proudly explained how he continued to cook his meals in an estila mexicana Mexican-style rather than adopt American foods and preparations. In addition, he recounted how he had decided to send his daughter to be schooled in Mexico, rather than in Arizona where he believed flag worship outweighed respect for education.
They managed this conundrum by asserting their undying allegiance to Mexico even as they continued to work and live in the United States.