The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982 Page: 64
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
de Gobernaci6n to warn Texas Governor Beauford H. Jester on Sep-
tember 2, 1947, that if Texas did not cause the contract violations and
discrimination to subside quickly, the Mexican government would be
compelled to invalidate the legalization agreement in Texas. Not sat-
isfied with Jester's promise to do what he could, the Mexican govern-
ment terminated the agreement on September 26, 1947, and closed
the Texas border to further legal migration of Mexican workers.
Governor Jester made various appeals to the Mexican government
and sent the Texas state labor commissioner to confer with Mexican
officials in attempts to restore the agreement. The Mexican govern-
ment persistently refused to concede and the matter was dropped.43
Few Texas farmers sincerely lamented the failure of the legalization
experiment. In fact, many worked to wreck it. It was cheaper and less
cumbersome for farmers to use wetbacks to whom they had to give no
guarantees, and it was virtually impossible for authorities to prevent
large numbers of Mexicans from entering Texas. In the final analysis,
the Mexican government's strategy failed. Furthermore, although the
Mexican government's refusal-except for a few months in 1947-to
permit the legal entry of laborers into Texas deprived a few farmers
of desired or needed laborers, most Texans preferred to continue
using the cheaper wetbacks, justifying their action by the contention
that they had no viable alternative.4-
43Texas Spectator, III (Oct. 13, 1947), 6, 7; ibid. (Dec. 29, 1947), 8, 9.
44D)uing the 1942-1947 bracero program, 219,54o agricultural workers entered the
United States; none of these worked in Texas. The U.S. repatriated 200,758 workers, and
488 workers died in the U S. Of the remaining 18,294 "skips," officials estimated that about
3,ooo repatriated themselves at personal expense and the remainder stayed in the U.S. il-
legally. See Wilson R. Buie, director of Labor, Production and Marketing Administration,
USDA, to T. B. Shoemaker, acting commissioner, INS, Mar. 9, 1948, 1947, Laborels-7-
Missing, Box 114, RG 224, NA. INS figures for apprehensions of illegal Mexican aliens in
all Mexican border districts were 8,708 in 1942; 11,775 in 1943; 28,173 in 1944; 64,368 in
1945; 92,107 in 1946; and 183,832 in 1947. Figures are for fiscal, not calendar, years. No
separate figures were given for apprehensions in Texas. See United States, Congress, Sen-
ate Committee on the Judiciary, To Control Illegal Migration: Hearings before the Sub-
Committee on Inmmigration and Naturalization . . . , 83rd Congress, 2nd Session, 1954
Estimates as to the number of illegal Mexican aliens present in the United States at any
given time are difficult to reach. On occasion, the INS has used as a rule of thumb the
assumption that for every illegal alien apprehended, at least two are not.
Paseo de la Independencta (Independence Park), Mexico City. Courtesy
Genaro Garcia Collection, Benson Latin American Collection, University
of Texas, Austin.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982, periodical, 1981/1982; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101208/m1/84/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.