El Paso Herald-Post, Friday, September 26, 1947
Doña Ana Farmers Will Contract Juarez Laborers
Doña Ana County farmers may now recruit alien labor for New Mexico farms from Juarez, Grover C. Wilmoth, immigration officer, announced today.
Permission for recruitment was given by Dr. Hector Perez Martinez, Mexican minister of the interior, Mr. Wilmoth said.
Farmers will deposit $30 with a Juarez bank for each Mexican national contracted.
Hundreds in Juarez
The money is for the laborer's traveling expenses back to his Mexico home. Farmers will be allowed to obtain as many workers as they need if the supply is available, Mr. Wilmoth said. Hundreds of workers have come to Juarez to seek work on farms in the U.S.
W.P.Thorpe, secretary of the State Farm Bureau in Las Cruces, said he was notified yesterday that New Mexico farmers will be allowed to obtain workers at the rate of 500 a week, or about 100 a day.
A former agreement with Doña Ana County farmers stipulated that farmers employing aliens, who entered the country illegally, would have the workers processed or legalized.
Sees No More Troubles
A clash Wednesday between U.S. Immigration Border Patrolman John P. Longan and E.N. Crossett of Anthony, a farmer, climaxed into a series of disputes on the "wetback" labor situation.
Crossett said he received a broken nose when the patrolman struck him. He said Longan and other patrolmen came on his farm without his permission or a warrant and took away "wetbacks."
"With the agreement, we do not anticipate any more such trouble," Mr. Thorpe said.
"We had applied for 3000 immigrant farm workers and had received only 1700. That was all right during the summer, but no workers are needed for picking cotton."
"For some reason, neither American Immigration or Mexican authorities would permit us to have more workers. That is the reason a number of farmers began employing "wetbacks."
Mr. Thorpe said farm associations will insist on farmers legalizing all alien "wetbacks" in order to comply with the agreement. They also agreed to pay them a minimum of 37 cents an hour or $2 per 100 pounds of cotton.
Mr. Thorpe said Wednesday's dispute was just one of a number of similar disagreements between Border Patrolmen and farmers.
Want Issue Settled
"There is still one issue we want settled," he said. "That is the right of a border patrolman to search a farm without getting the owner's consent or having a search warrant. It's not constitutional. While it's not likely to come up again, we still want a ruling on it."
Dr. Martinez announced in Juarez Wednesday that Texas will get no more Mexican farm laborers. He charged that Texas employers have discriminated against Mexican aliens by paying them wages of 25 and 30 cents an hour whereas in California and Arizona the workers receive 60 cents.
Contracts of several thousand former "wetbacks" with the El Paso County Cotton Assn. and Hudspeth County Agricultural Assn. were recently cancelled by the Juarez labor office.
Meet in Las Cruces
Dr. Martinez said El Paso and Hudspeth farmers may re-contract those workers who are still in this country by filing letters of "moral and financial solvency" obtained from police officials and banks.
Mr. Wilmoth and Willard K. Kelley, assistant commissioner of the Immigration Service in Philadelphia, met with Dona Ana farming association representatives at the Temple of Agriculture in Las Cruces today to discuss minor legal angles of employing aliens.
Mr. Wilmoth said he was continuing the investigation of the clash between Crossett and Longan.
He said the investigation so far showed and asserted attack by Crossett on Longan was "unprovoked" and took place on a public highway.
Crossett told The El Paso Herald-Post today the "difficulty between Longan and myself was not the main issue."
"The main issue is whether or not the American people are going to live under the Gestapo method," he said.
"I admit hitting Longan, but after the name he called me, I feel that I was justified in doing so."
"The immigration officers entered my property without a warrant. They had no authority for doing so. Last night they questioned some of the laborers on my farm, but they didn't write down any of the statements, because the laborers told them the truth."
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