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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  -­19-­       La Prensa’s coverage during the first months of 1930 focused heavily on the border and the actions of Mexican officials. But the paper also had its own correspondent in Washington, D.C., Arthur Markel, whose reports were among the few that carried a byline. In a page one story on April he reported that Republican leaders in Congress had decided to delay a decision on the Johnson bill, “a measure which is considered a direct attack on Mexican immigration,” for a more propitious time. Markel went on to say that the lack of opposition to the bill from the Latin American diplomatic corps suggested that they had been privately told that no action was forthcoming on the bill. 79 A few days later, the South Texas Chamber of Commerce, which represented agricultural and business interests in the Rio Grande Valley and had vigorously opposed the Box Bill and other measures, told La Prensa none were likely to be approved. 80 Law or no law, the Mexicans were still going home. As of April 23, 1930, Mexican consular officials reported that 246 Mexicans were deported from Laredo, including women and children. They had spent from 5 to 34 days in jail in Webb County before they were deported from the U.S. By May 4, 1930, La Prensa reported that 700 deported families were stranded and starving across the border in Juarez. 81 The newspaper coverage did not take place in a vacuum. A fresh example of the mutual economic dependency between Mexico and the United States occurred in Texas when the Mexican Consulate in Laredo closed December 18, 1929, and imposed an embargo on shipments and trade into Mexico. The local district attorney sparked the dispute when he tried to arrest former Mexican President Plutarco Calles on a murder charge. Much to the consternation of U.S. businessmen who relied on the free exchange of goods across the border, especially during the Christmas shopping season, commercial

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  -­19-­  
 
 
 
La Prensa’s coverage during the first months of 1930 focused heavily on the 
border and the actions of Mexican officials. But the paper also had its own correspondent 
in Washington, D.C., Arthur Markel, whose reports were among the few that carried a 
byline. In a page one story on April he reported that Republican leaders in Congress had 
decided to delay a decision on the Johnson bill, “a measure which is considered a direct 
attack on Mexican immigration,” for a more propitious time. Markel went on to say that 
the lack of opposition to the bill from the Latin American diplomatic corps suggested that 
they had been privately told that no action was forthcoming on the bill.
79
  
A few days later, the South Texas Chamber of Commerce, which represented 
agricultural and business interests in the Rio Grande Valley and had vigorously opposed 
the Box Bill and other measures, told La Prensa none were likely to be approved.
80
 Law 
or no law, the Mexicans were still going home. As of April 23, 1930, Mexican consular 
officials reported that 246 Mexicans were deported from Laredo, including women and 
children. They had spent from 5 to 34 days in jail in Webb County before they were 
deported from the U.S.  By May 4, 1930, La Prensa reported that 700 deported families 
were stranded and starving across the border in Juarez.
81
 
The newspaper coverage did not take place in a vacuum. A fresh example of the 
mutual economic dependency between Mexico and the United States occurred in Texas 
when the Mexican Consulate in Laredo closed December 18, 1929, and imposed an 
embargo on shipments and trade into Mexico. The local district attorney sparked the 
dispute when he tried to arrest former Mexican President Plutarco Calles on a murder 
charge. Much to the consternation of U.S. businessmen who relied on the free exchange 
of goods across the border, especially during the Christmas shopping season, commercial 


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