El Paso Herald Post, September 19, 1947

Mexico Cancels All "Wetback" Labor Contracts

Mexico today canceled all its "wetbacks" labor contracts with the El Paso County Cotton Assn. and the Hudspeth County Agricultural Assn.

Last week the Juarez inter secretarial migratory labor office announced that group labor contracts expiring Seat. 15, would not be renewed.

Today the Juarez office, headed by Alberto Monroy, canceled contracts with the two farm associations which were scheduled to run until Dec. 31.

On Individual Basis

The two actions means that Mexico will no longer deal with the two associations, which had imported 5000 aliens with contracts scheduled to expire either on Seat. 15 or Dec. 31.

However, Mr. Monroy said his office will permit El Paso and Hudspeth County farmers to recontract "wetbacks" on an individual basis. Each farm employer must post a $30 bond in a Juarez bank for each Mexican national contracted.

No official reason was given for cancellation of the contracts, but it was understood Mexican officials charge the two farm groups have not lived up to terms of the original contracts.

Want $2 a Hundred Pounds

Under the U.S.-Mexican agreement last spring, all illegally entered Mexican workers or wetbacks, were to be documented for legal re-entry. A minimum wage of 38 cents an hour was established in El Paso County.

Recently the Mexican government has asked the cotton pickers be paid $2 a hundred pounds. Some farmers, it was reported, have refused to pay that much.

Altogether, 9000 illegally entered aliens were rounded up and their re-entry at El Paso legalized. They were distributed to farms and ranches in El Paso, Hudspeth, Dona Ana and other southwestern counties.

Flock to Border

Meanwhile additional hundreds of would-be contract laborers flocked the border. The Mexican government has refused to contract additional laborers and so has the U.S. Immigration Service.

As a result many more aliens have crossed the Rio Grande illegally, creating a fresh supply of cheap labor.

The Immigration Service is rounding up and deporting the new crop of wetbacks at the rate of 150 a day.

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