Mexican Migrant Workers and Lynch Culture Essay

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Mexican Migrant Workers and Lynch Culture

More than a million agricultural workers migrated to the United States in the early twentieth century. The majority of these persons found work on small family farms in California; the white owners of these farms welcomed cheap labor. Although most migrant workers in California today are of Mexican descent, they originally came from all over the world: East and West Europe, China, Japan, Korea and Latin America, along with Mexico. The shift to almost exclusively Mexican migrant workers in the early 1900s was intentional. Growers at this time anticipated racial conflicts between the immigrating workers and the “natives” of California. Growers minimized local opposition to
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The Texas Rangers were infamous for their brutality. In the name of justice they executed thousands of Mexican migrant workers without any repercussions. As early as the late 1800s, the Rangers began their violent attempt at repression. Onofrio Baca, a Mexican migrant worker, was arrested in 1881 on the suspicion of murder. The Rangers arrested him and promptly had him lynched, his body left to hang for days in front of the courthouse. [3]

Though the Rangers were the most well known law enforcement agency attacking the Mexican immigrant, they were not alone. For example, Jesus Romo was being held in custody by officers in California when he was taken by a group of masked men and hanged. [4] The majority of the Mexican Americans lynched between 1848 and 1870 were already in custody when they were taken and hanged. Records indicate 473 out of every 100,000 Mexican migrant workers during this time period died as victims of a lynching. [5]

Over one-hundred years have passed since the beginning of large scale Mexican migrant worker immigration, yet groups in San Diego County, and other border towns are still fighting to embrace the lynch culture created by the Texas Rangers and similar organizations. Groups such as “The Arizona Ranchers Alliance” and “American Patrol” are working ardently to ensure that
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