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They Came to Toil: U.S. News Coverage of Mexicans on the Eve of the Great Depression
Unformatted Document Text:  They  Came  to  Toil:  U.S.  News  Coverage  of  Mexicans  on  the  Eve  of  the  Great  Depression   Melita  M.  Garza  -­-­  Page  -­13-­       The Box Bill “would cut off urgently-needed agricultural and industrial common labor” and “tend to impair those cordial relations between the United States and other New World government,” the Express said. 51 The Express’s “Sound Objections to the Box and Johnson Bills” editorial cited testimony from Judge H.L. Yates of Brownsville, Texas, who had appeared before the House Committee on Immigration and said: “The Lower Rio Grande Valley could not develop its agricultural resources—capable of supporting two million people—without Mexican labor.” Getting “workers from other sections of this country to come and stay on the land” was “impossible,” according to Yates. 52 The Express opined that Yates “might have been speaking for almost any other agricultural area in the Southwest.” 53 The Express noted that immigration from Mexico had fallen 71 percent in the first six months of the fiscal year, undoubtedly from strict enforcement of literacy tests and sanitary regulations. The South Texas Chamber of Commerce, which represented agricultural and business interests in the Rio Grande Valley, felt the impact of tighter enforcement as it struggled to find workers, La Prensa reported. 54 The chamber vigorously fought the Box Bill and similar measures and did not wait to see which policy winds would prevail. It told its members that a quota on Mexican immigration was “inevitable” and advised them to “get the peons’ passports so that they would be in order when the quota was put in force.” 55 La Prensa highlighted other economic arguments not found in the Express, including the Mexican community’s economic, social and cultural contributions to San Antonio. A prime example was its coverage of a January 10, 1930, Rotary Club

Authors: Garza, Melita M..
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They  Came  to  Toil:  
U.S.  News  Coverage  of  Mexicans  on  the  Eve  of  the  Great  Depression  
Melita  M.  Garza  -­-­  Page  -­13-­  
The Box Bill “would cut off urgently-needed agricultural and industrial common labor” 
and “tend to impair those cordial relations between the United States and other New 
World government,” the Express said.
The Express’s  “Sound Objections to the Box and Johnson Bills” editorial cited 
testimony from Judge H.L. Yates of Brownsville, Texas, who had appeared before the 
House Committee on Immigration and said: “The Lower Rio Grande Valley could not 
develop its agricultural resources—capable of supporting two million people—without 
Mexican labor.” Getting “workers from other sections of this country to come and stay on 
the land” was “impossible,” according to Yates.
 The Express opined that Yates “might 
have been speaking for almost any other agricultural area in the Southwest.”
Express noted that immigration from Mexico had fallen 71 percent in the first six months 
of the fiscal year, undoubtedly from strict enforcement of literacy tests and sanitary 
The South Texas Chamber of Commerce, which represented agricultural and 
business interests in the Rio Grande Valley, felt the impact of tighter enforcement as it 
struggled to find workers, La Prensa reported.
 The chamber vigorously fought the Box 
Bill and similar measures and did not wait to see which policy winds would prevail.  It 
told its members that a quota on Mexican immigration was “inevitable” and advised them 
to “get the peons’ passports so that they would be in order when the quota was put in 
La Prensa highlighted other economic arguments not found in the Express
including the Mexican community’s economic, social and cultural contributions to San 
Antonio. A prime example was its coverage of a January 10, 1930, Rotary Club 

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