‘Death at the Rio Grande’ by R. Rimbaud from Labor Defender. Vol. 6 No. 7. July, 1931.

Workers held for deportation in the Los Angeles jail, 1930.

Beginning in 1929, the Hoover administration began mass deportations of Mexican and Mexican citizens of the U.S. Over one million were forced form the country.

‘Death at the Rio Grande’ by R. Rimbaud from Labor Defender. Vol. 6 No. 7. July, 1931.

“-eating nothing but grass.”

“-manure eaten in desperation of hunger was found in their stomachs after autopsy.”

These are a few phrases from newspaper accounts in Mexican papers of the unimaginable agony of the thousands of starving Mexican workers deported from the United States to their native land.

The New York Times reported that of 16,631 persons deported in 1930, 8,518 were Mexicans-more than 50%. Shoved out of this country by Uncle Sam, penniless, carrying their worldly belongings on their backs, they are pushed across the border to die of starvation. Mass deportations- the gruesome creation of the Hoover government and Secretary of Labor Doak- is the weapon being used principally against the Mexican workers.

According to immigration officials on the frontier during the last year there was a daily average of 5 or 6 deportations from the most important frontier cities. The El Paso office registered 6,572 deportees since September, 1930. According to reports of the immigration officials they have labored more in deportations-than during the 10 previous years put together.

Los Angeles County forcibly deports 1500 people on August 1, 1931.

The persecutions and bitter treatment of the deported workers do not cease at the border. Across the Rio Grande in Monterey, Nuevo Laredo, Mexicali and the other border towns, thousands upon thousands of deported workers are herded, hungry, among other workers without possibility of making a living.

During the month of February in Mexicali, 3,000 unemployed workers seized food of the Mexican bourgeoisie in order to exist for a few days.

The background of these deportations is the enormous scale of unemployment – misery due to the crisis. Yankee imperialism’s attempts to “solve” unemployment has increased its pressure and persecution of the working masses -especially the oppressed racial groups, such as the Negroes and Mexicans.

Laws to segregate the Mexicans are being passed. The California senate passed the Bliss bill in April which forces Mexican children into segregation in the public schools- to give but one example. Last year the U. S. government passed the Harris law, by means of which the immigration of Mexican workers is restricted to about 1,500 a year.

The deportations are daily growing. The New York Times reported that “10,000 Mexicans, men, women and children have been leaving Southern California every month. With approximately 35,000 repatriates already gone it is estimated that 75,000 will have departed by midsummer.”

The American workers must see that this attack on the lives of the Mexican workers is the prelude to the attack carried out all along the line-on American workers as well as foreign-born. Therefore now is the time to fight against deportations, against the murder of Mexican workers, against the Harris law, against discrimination and segregation. Support the struggle for political and social equality of the Mexican masses of the Southwest!

Labor Defender was published monthly from 1926 until 1937 by the International Labor Defense (ILD), a Workers Party of America, and later Communist Party-led, non-partisan defense organization founded by James Cannon and William Haywood while in Moscow, 1925 to support prisoners of the class war, victims of racism and imperialism, and the struggle against fascism. It included, poetry, letters from prisoners, and was heavily illustrated with photos, images, and cartoons. Labor Defender was the central organ of the Scottsboro and Sacco and Vanzetti defense campaigns. Editors included T. J. O’ Flaherty, Max Shactman, Karl Reeve, J. Louis Engdahl, William L. Patterson, Sasha Small, and Sender Garlin.

PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/labordefender/1931/v06n07-jul-1931-LD.pdf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s