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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  -­15-­       Chandler was president of the California-Mexico Land & Cattle Co., which owned some 862,000 acres in Baja California and was the controlling owner of the 281,000-acre Tejon Ranch in Los Angeles and Kern Counties. 58 Chandler said he would prefer not to hire “Porto Ricans [sic]” even though they were U.S. citizens and were suffering economic strife on the island. “I should rather make a contribution (for their relief)...and I should rather use the peon...than to bring in the Porto Ricans [sic],” Chandler told the Committee. 59 The Express saw Mexican workers fill a labor gap that whites would not. In its subsequent January 29, 1930, editorial “Widespread Opposition to the Box Bill,” the Express also more clearly laid out the roles it saw for its Mexican friends: “plowing, sowing and reaping; chopping and picking cotton, transplanting onions and lettuce, digging potatoes, gathering and packaging spinach, tomatoes, oranges, and so on.” 60 In short to do the work “machinery” can’t and that “native white men generally will not do.” 61 Mexicans also had their industrial work cut out for them and were “needed to lay pipes, dig ditches, put down pavement, grade rights-of-way and build railroads,” the editorial argued. 62 La Prensa grappled with race and ethnicity head-on. Typical was an opinion that challenged a Box radio address, in which the congressman said “practically all of the Mexicans that come to the U.S. are peons, illiterate, ignorant; not good material for American citizenship” and not from ”Mexico’s Caucasian ruling class.” 63 Mexicans that came to the U.S. segregated themselves in “little Mexico’s” and “lived in conditions of bad health and hygiene, spreading illness and epidemics.” 64 Moreover, they were “more prone to crime than other immigrants who face restricted immigration,” Box said. 65

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  -­15-­  
 
 
Chandler was president of the California-Mexico Land & Cattle Co., which 
owned some 862,000 acres in Baja California and was the controlling owner of the 
281,000-acre Tejon Ranch in Los Angeles and Kern Counties.
58
 Chandler said he would 
prefer not to hire “Porto Ricans [sic]” even though they were U.S. citizens and were 
suffering economic strife on the island. “I should rather make a contribution (for their 
relief)...and I should rather use the peon...than to bring in the Porto Ricans [sic],” 
Chandler told the Committee.
59
 
The Express saw Mexican workers fill a labor gap that whites would not. In its 
subsequent January 29, 1930, editorial “Widespread Opposition to the Box Bill,” the 
Express also more clearly laid out the roles it saw for its Mexican friends: “plowing, 
sowing and reaping; chopping and picking cotton, transplanting onions and lettuce, 
digging potatoes, gathering and packaging spinach, tomatoes, oranges, and so on.”
60
 In 
short to do the work  “machinery” can’t and that “native white men generally will not 
do.”
61
 Mexicans also had their industrial work cut out for them and were “needed to lay 
pipes, dig ditches, put down pavement, grade rights-of-way and build railroads,” the 
editorial argued.
62
 
La Prensa grappled with race and ethnicity head-on. Typical was an opinion that 
challenged a Box radio address, in which the congressman said “practically all of the 
Mexicans that come to the U.S. are peons, illiterate, ignorant; not good material for 
American citizenship” and not from ”Mexico’s Caucasian ruling class.”
63
 Mexicans that 
came to the U.S. segregated themselves in “little Mexico’s” and “lived in conditions of 
bad health and hygiene, spreading illness and epidemics.” 
64
 Moreover, they were “more 
prone to crime than other immigrants who face restricted immigration,” Box said.
65
 


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