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AUGUST 8, 1969 


Printed for the use of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare 





OF iTHD - 







AUGUST 8, 1969 


Printed for the use of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare 

3&-513 WASHINGTON : 1970 


RALPH YARBOROUGH, Texas, Chairman 


EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Massachusetts GEORGE MURPHY, California 




ALAN CRANSTON, California 

Robert O. Harris, Staff Director 

John S. Forsythe, General Counsel 

Roy H. Millexson, Minority Staff Director 

Eugene Mittelman, Minority Counsel 

Subcommittee on Migratory Labor 
WALTER F. MONDALE, Minnesota, Chairman 
EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Massachusetts GEORGE MURPHY, California 



BOREN Chertkov, Counscl 

A. Sidney Johnson, Professional Staff Member 

Edgene Mittelman, Minority Counsel 


Format of Hearings on Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker 


The Subcommittee on Migratory Labor conducted public hearings 
in Washington, D.C., during the 91st Congress on "Migrant and 
Seasonal Farmworker Powerlessness." These hearings are contained 
in the following partp : 

Subject matter Hearing dates 

Part 1 : Who are the Migrants? June 9 and 10, 1969 

Part 2 : The Migrant Subculture July 28, 1969 

Part 3-A : Efforts to Organize July 15, 1969 

Part 3-B : Efforts to Organize July 16 and 17, 1969 

Part 4-A : Farmworker Legal Problems Aug. 7, 1969 

Part 4-B : Farmworker Legal Problems Aug. 8, 1969 

Part 5 : Border Commuter Labor Problems May 21 and 22, 1969 

Part 6: Pesticides and the Farmworker Aug. 1, Sept. 29 and 30, 1969 

Part 7 : Manpower and Economic Problems Apr. 14 and 15, 1970 

Parts: Who is Responsible? July 20, 21, and 24, 1970 

Additional hearings are tentatively scheduled by the subcommittee 
during the second session, 91st Congress. 




August 8, 1969 


Garcia, Dr. Hector P., Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 
Corpus Christi, Tex.; accompanied by Lawrence B. Click, Acting 
General Counsel; and Jonathan Fleming, special assistant to the staff 
director 1 520 

Lorenz, James D., associate director, California Rural Legal Assistance 

Program, Los Angeles, Calif 1585 


(jarcia. Dr. Hector P., Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 
Corpus Christi, Tex.; accompanied b}^ Lawrence B. Click, Acting 
General Counsel; and Jonathan Fleming, special assistant to the staff 

director 1520 

Prepared statement, with attachments 1 552 

Lorenz, James D., associate director, California rural legal assistance 

program, Los Angeles, Calif 1585 

Prepared statement 1585 


Articles, publications, etc. : 

"A Fired Teacher's Victory in Court — Job Restored," from the San 

Francisco Chronicle, April 5, 1969 1596 

"Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems," March 1968 1726 

"Court Opens Door for Challenge on Employees of Illegal Aliens," 

from the Los Angeles Times, July 23, 1969 1590 

"Court Rules Salinas Man Can Refuse Job Because of Unsanitary 
Conditions," from the Salinas Calif ornian, Salinas, Calif., July 4, 
1969 1591 

"Court Upholds Jobless Man's Right To Refuse Farm Work — 
Unsanitary Conditions Cited," from the Los Angeles (Calif.) Times, 
July 4, 1969 1593 

"CRLA-IID Suit Top '68 Story— Quake, Animals Highlight Year," 

from the Imperial Valley Press, El Centro, Calif., January 1, 1969- 1598 

"Farm Worker Cannot Be Fired for Union Activity, Court Rules — 
Precedent-Setting Appellate Decision Handed Down in Case in 
Which Nine Brought Suit Against Salinas Growers," from the Los 
Angeles Times, July 31, 1969 1589 

"In Memoriam," from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Nov. 11, 1968. 1546 

"Issue Focuses on Field Sanitation — Toilets too Filthy To Use," from 

the Register-Pajaronian, Watsonville, Calif., April 12, 1969 1596 

"Justice for the Rural Poor Through California Rural Legal Assist- 
ance" 1695 

"Legal Services Group Sues To Aid Farm Workers" _._ 1601 

"Mexican- Americans and the Administration of Justice in the South- 
east," by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 1931 

"Minimum Wage Order Creates Dilemma," from the Modesto Bee, 

Modesto, Calif., December 15, 1968 1599 

"Pay Women More, Growers Ordered," from the Los Angeles Times, 

November 15, 1968 1600 

"Report of the Project Director," Camden Regional Legal Services, 

Inc., Farm Worker Division 1779 



"Rural California : Hope Amidst Poverty" 1885 

"Stranger in One's Land," by U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 1829 

"The Hyphenated Americans — Citizens for a Century Squabble Over 

an Image," from the Houston Chronicle, December 2, 1968 1539 

"The Texas Observer," reprint of issue of July 4, 1969 1568 

"The % Rule for School Bond Issues," from the San Francisco 

Chronicle, June 14, 1969 1593 

"Time To End 'Don't Work' Welfare Rule," from the Independent, 

Long Beach, Calif., March 28, 1969 1597 

"To Him That Hath * * *," from the Nation, New York, N.Y., 
July 7, 1969 1591 

"Unruh Pleads for Farm Workers Unemplojnnent Insurance," from 

the Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, Calif., April 24, 1969 1595 

"Unsanitary Conditions Cited — Court Upholds Jobless Man's Right 
to Refuse Farm Work," from the Los Angeles (Calif.) Times, July 4, 
1969 1588 

"U.S. Court Demands Food for Hungry Calif ornians," from the San 

Francisco Examiner, December 31, 1968 1598 

"Working With the 'System,' the Progress of United Farm Workers 
(Obreros-Unidos) Under Wisconsin Law," by David Loeffler, at- 
torney at law, Milwaukee, Wis 1900 

"56 Counties Now Use Federal Food Aid Plan — Butte and Sierra 
Only Ones To Turn Down Program for Poor," from the Los Angeles 

Times, May 15, 1969 1594 

California Rural Legal Assistance, annual report of 1603 

Selected charts: 

Percentage of Spanish surnamed families with income less than $3,000 

in certain selected counties in Texas 1524 

Total Spanish surname population of certain selected counties in 

Texas 1522 

Travel patterns of seasonal migratory agricultural workers 1521 

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, stafif, report of 1704 


(Farmworker Legal Problems) 


U.S. Senate, 
Subcommittee on Migratory Labor of the Committee 

ON Labor and Public Welfare, 

Washington^ D.C. 

The subcommittee met at 9 : 30 a.m., pursuant to recess, in room 4232, 
New Senate Office Building, Senator Walter F. Mondale (chairman 
of the subcommittee) presiding. 

Present: Senators Mondale (presiding) and Yarborough. 

Committee staff members present: Boren Chertkov, counsel to the 
subcommittee; Sidney Johnson, professional staff member; Eugene 
Mittelman, minority counsel. 

Senator Mondale. The Senate Subcommittee on Migratory Labor 
will come to order. 

This morning we continue hearings on the legal problems and civil 
rights of the farmworker. Our first witness this morning is Dr. Hector 
Garcia, Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and he will 
be accompanied by Laurence Glick and Jonathan Fleming. 

The chairman of the full committee is with us. Senator Yarborough, 
and I understand you would like to introduce our next witness. 

Senator Yarborough. Dr. Garcia, will you come around please. 

Mr. Chairman, it is an honor and pleasure to introduce this dis- 
tinguished witness and particularly to a Migratory Labor Subcommit- 
tee that now has become a permanent subcommittee of this full com- 
mittee. No longer do we live from hand to mouth, year to year with 
this Migratory Labor Subcommittee, but under your able leadedship 
this subcommittee will rise to new heights of performance and stand- 
ards, in my opinion. 

I want to congratulate you on this meaningful series of hearings that 
you have held on the problems of migratory labor, which are not new 
to you. You have worked on it for years before you became chairman 
of the subcommittee. 

You have been to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, to the gates of 
border crossing where green carders crossed. You have marched in the 
Imperial Valley with Cesar Chavez. You have not only studied the 
problems of migratory labor, you have been out and lived the problem. 

Senator Mondale. I should say when we were marching in Cali- 
fornia, we had a hard time keeping up with Senator Yarborough. 



Senator Yarbohotjgh. It is an honor to say that Dr. Hector Garcia 
has long been a leader in Texas in the movement for equal rights of 
minorities. He came back from World AVar II as a medical officer, 
where he was commander of an Army unit in Italy. He was a 
medical doctor and high-ranking officer there. When lie returned he 
turned his attention not to country clubs where they welcomed him in, 
but instead he turned his attention immediately to the problems of the 
poor, and this wasn't as popular in 1946 as it is today. 

When he got little support from other quarters, he went out and 
founded "The American GI Forum," which is a family veterans orga- 
nization primarily. I happen to be an honorary life member of it. They 
will let you in if you want to be there. They don't discriminate. 

They organized the American GI Forum and it has chapters in some 
30 States. It has been a very effective organization in our State, sup- 
porting progressive causes for better legislation generally for those 
who need better education, working opportunities, and general social 
and economic opportunities in the country. His record is so distin- 
guished and so long I would take up the morning hearing if I recited 
all of it. 

I have been acquainted with him since 1946, which is 23 years ago. 
All of his great record as a medical doctor, the many charities he has 
handled, and all of the good work he does is almost incredible. I know 
personally he practiced medicine all day and in the earlier years would 
drive in his car to see patients until 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning. 

Dr. Garcia, it is an honor to see you here. You have held in these 
past 8 years numerous appointments from the President of the United 
States as Special Ambassador to the West Indies, to sign treaties, and 
as their special representative and Ambassador to the U.N. 

Dr. Hector Garcia's work has been recognized, so it is not strange 
that he has been appointed by the President of the United States to 
many different duties for this Nation now as Commissioner on the U.S. 
Commission for Civil Rights. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We are delighted to 
have that introduction and we are delighted to have these witnesses 
here this morning. 

You may proceed. Dr. Garcia by reading your statement or sum- 
marizing parts of it however you wish. 


Dr. Garcia. Thank you. Senator Yarborough, and thank you. Sen- 
ator Mondale. 

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommitteej my name is Hector 
P. Garcia and I am a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. 
In my private capacity I am a physician in Corpus Christi, Tex. I 
appreciate the opportunity to speak to you about certain issues of con- 
cern to Mexican-Americans in the rural areas and small towns of the 
Southwestern States. 


Since the fall of 1967, the Commission has been studying the ad- 
ministration of justice in the Southwest, particularly as it affects 
Mexican-Americans. This study, now nearly completed, has examined 
the extent to which Mexican- Americans are subject to discriminatory 
treatment by law enforcement officers, excluded from jury service, 
denied equal acces to bail and adequate counsel, and employed in dis- 
proportionately low numbers in law enforcement agencies. 

In the course of this study. Commission staff attorneys conducted 
investigations in the latter part of 1967 and in 1968, interA-iewing 
approximately 450 persons in Arizona, California, Colorado, Xew 
Mexico, and Texas. Pereons interviewed included private citizens, law 
enforcement officers, probation officers, prosecuting attorneys, judges, 
public defenders, attorneys in private practice, and leaders of Mexican- 
American organizations. 

Two meetmgs of Commission Stat« advisory committees were 
held in New Mexico and one in California in 1968, specifically to gather 
information for this study. Questionnaires were mailed to nearly 800 
law enforcement agencies in the Southwestern States. Finally, the 
Commission held a hearing in San Antonio, Tex., in December 1968, 
which dealt exclusively with the problems of Mexican-Americans. 

A report based on this study and these hearings will be released 
shortly. Although the Commission's research has not focused only on 
migrant farmworkers, much of the information obtained relates to the 
rural areas in which many migrants live and work and a number of 
incidents and situations reported to the Commission staff, specifically, 
involve migrants. 

We have and would like with your permission to present several 
maps. The first maps show travel patterns of seasonal migratory work- 
ers. You have three main streams, as you well know. The west coast 
stream, midcontinent stream and east coast stream are indicated. 

(The maps referred to follow :) 

Travel Pdtterns of Seasonal 
Migratory Agricultural Workers 





Puerto ^ ^-^ 







Dr. Garcia. The east coast involves some Puerto Ricans. The mid- 
continent is the main stream. Another supply area is our own southern 
part of Texas and the west coast stream also includes Mexican-Ameri- 
cans. Therefore, we see rapidly that the main supply of migratory 
workers of the United States are my brothers and sisters, the Mexican- 
American in south Texas. 

The second map shows you a concentrated population of Mexican- 
American in South-Texas. 

Senator Yarborough. Would you hesitate for one point. 

Some years ago we were having hearings and we were studying 
migratory labor. We were told then that members of the Mexican- 
American community from south Texas went into the vegetable fields 
of New Jersey and lower New York State for a while, but finding it 
so far back home to Texas, that in the winter they went to southern 
Florida and then back. 

Do you know whether that east coast stream is basically from Puerto 
Rico or are there a number of Texans living over there ? 

Dr. Garcia. Yes, sir ; there are a a good number of Texans in that 
area over there. 

Senator Yarborough. They go down the east coast to warm areas 
of Florida. 

Dr. Garcia. That is correct. Some come back. I think 2 years ago 
we had instances of some workers getting killed in an accident in 

Senator Yarborough. You know some Texas Mexican- Americans 
did go to Florida ? 

Dr. Garcia. Some do go there and come back and they still do 

Senator Yarborough. Thank you. Proceed, Doctor. 

Dr. Garcia. The second map shows total Spanish surnamed popu- 
lation of certain selected counties in Texas and I brought this to show 
you that there is a great number of them. A lot live in the counties 
around the center area such as Kinney, Maverick, Duval, and so forth. 
Most of those people depend on migrant seasonal work, because the 
crops of that area are over in the short length of time. 

The third map is the median school years completed by Spanish 
surnamed in certain selected counties in Texas. I would like to rapidly 
point out that this is the terrible educational situation of the Mexican- 
American, which even today is in a deplorable state in Texas. You 
have the name in this map of the counties and the number underneath 
this gives you median school years completed by Mexican-Americans 
in that county. 

You take a county like La Salle, it is fantastic but true that in 1960 
the median educational level is only 1.4 of school, not even one and 
a half years of school. And in Frio it is 2y^, and Medina it is only 3 
and Zavala it is only 2i/^. Therefore, the four counties will average 
less than 2.3 grades of school. 

Certainly by any Federal standard, we can say that most of this 
area has thousands who are functional illiterates. I think sometimes 
the numbers and averages even here are a little too high because by 
the time the census reports are taken, many of our migratory people 
have left, and are working in some other parts of the Nation. 


We see poverty in the map in its worse form. I have always ques- 
tioned why is it that in some other parts of the Nation we drew the 
standard of $3,300 as the determining factor of affluency. In Texas we 
use $3,000, which is now used in other States. 

I think that $3,300 level would throw us into 90 percent poverty 
level. I would like to point out to you that there are a very great 
percentage of Spanish sumamed families with incomes less than $3,000 
in certain selected counties in Texas. Let us ^o down to the south 
Texas area and to Cameron County, which has mdustry and which is 
not necessarily poor because of its tourist trade with Mexico. 
Yet in Cameron County we have 66.7 percent poor Mexican- 
American families. 

List of percentage Mexican- American families with less than $3,000 
follows : 

In Willacy County, 71.1 ; in Hidalgo County, 72 percent ; in Starr 
County, 76.8 percent. In Zapata County it is 75.5; Zavala County, 
82.4; Frio County, 80.7; La Salle, 80.1. This is the percentage of 
people who live in poverty with the $3,000 or less standard. 

"\Vhat would the results be if we really applied, like we are supposed 
to apply, the $3,300 standard? It would be unbelievable. Therefore, 
there is no question that this is a chronic endemic, poverty area. 

I have always sard that the Governor should declare tliis a "disaster 
poverty area" and do something about it. Surely with the help of the 
Federal Government and Federal grants and Federal studies this 
poverty could improve. I think this is a chronic situation that has been 
so |>ernicious for so long that more of the people almost always suffer 
and many ohildren die due to poverty. 

So I should like to summarize for you some of the problems en- 
countered in our investigation. 

Senator Yarborough. Dr. Garcia, will you hesitate for one 
question ? 

You show Starr County has 76.8 percent of the families with Span- 
ish surnames with income less than $3,000 and Hidalgo County with 
72 percent. Starr County is lightly populated, a very poor county, isn't 

Dr. Garcia. That's right. 

Senator Yarborough. Hidalgo County is A^ry rich and very popu- 
lated. It is rich in citrus fruits, oil, gas, transportation, and outlets 
to the Gulf. That is a rich county. 

Dr. Garcia. And also we have international points of entry which 
carry fantastic amounts of trade. 

Senator Yarborough. So there is a vast difference in those counties. 
Yet Spanish surname persons in Hidalgo do not fare much better 
than they do in Starr, do they ? 

Dr. Garcia. That is correct. Cameron also has a port of entry. I 
understand recently that they bring oil into Brownsville and detour 
into Mexico and bring it back to BroAvnsville to avoid a tax on the oil. 

You see, in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties, there is a good income 
there, a lot of trade. This is a citrus area, with oil, cotton, and so forth, 
and yet our people live in terrible poverty. 

Senator Yarborough. That is what I wanted to point out. We live 


in some very |x>or counties with limited resources with semifarming, 
excei>t where irrigation is impossible. But when you come to Hidalgo 
and Cameron, the two togetiher have greater population than Corpus 
Christ!, if you add the two together, and are rich in international 

Those ports of entry serve a part of Mexico as well as Texas. It has 
rich agriculture, oil and gas and many other big tourist trade in the 

Thank you. I just thought it would be well to qualify in the record 
the differences in those counties. 

Dr. Garcia. Thank you. We will discuss No. 1, "police harassment 
and misconduct." 

The most serious issue encountered in the course of the Commis- 
sion's study is 'harassment and abuse of Mexican- Americans by law 
enforcement officers. Such conduct ranges from unjustified arrests to 
insults, threats and, not infrequently, physical assaults. It has also 
been found that under existing procedures it is almost impossible for 
an indvidual to obtain redress or compensation for such injuries. 

In general, in rural areas allegations of police misconduct were 
commonplace. For exaanple, Mr, Xatividad Fuentes, a longtime resi- 
dent of Uvalde, Tex., told a Commission staff member and myself that 
in January 1968, he and his wife were returning to t'heir home from a 
visit with friends in a nearby town. Because of ice on the highway, 
Mr, Fuentes' car slid into a ditch just outside the city limits of Uvalde. 

Shortly thereafter two State highway patrolmen came to investi- 
gate. Instead of assisting Mr. Fuentes, who is a small man — only 5 
feet 3 inches tall, and weighing about 150 pounds — one of the highway 
patrolmen jerked him out of the car and hit him over the head with a 
blackjack, fracturing his skull. 

The FBI investigated this case, but no violation of Federal la-w was 
found by the Department of Justice. Although the Commission staff 
does not know the basis for this finding, it had some evidence con- 
cerning the inadequacy of the FBI investigation of this case. 

According to the victim, he was not interviewed right away. The 
Commission on Civil Rights transmitted its investigative report to 
the Department of Justice with a request that the case be looked into 
further. The Justice Department at the Conmiission's urging did 
take further action, including the filing of an information and later 
an attempted indictment against one of the highway patrolmen, but 
the Federal grand jury refused to indict and the Justice Department 
dropped the case. 

It is our understanding that as of this spring, Mr. Fuentes — who, 
incidentally, had no prior arrest record whatsoever — not even a traffic 
violation — still suffers from dizzy spells as a result of his injuries and 
has been unable to return to his full-time w^ork for a construction 

Testimony at the Commission's San Antonio hearing indicated that 
assaults on Mexican-Americans by law enforcement officials in south 
Texas often go unpunished. According to one witness, in 1965 a Mex- 
ican-American resident of a small town in south Texas, who got into an 
altercation with a sheriff, was beaten on the head with a pistol butt by 
the sheriff and a local justice of the peace. 


Neither local nor Federal action was taken against these officials. 
According to other witnesses, in June 1968, two women were assaulted 
by a highway patrolman in Pecos, Tex. The case against the highway 
patrolman was presented to the local grand jury, but no indictment was 

The Commission staff heard several allegations that Mexican-Amer- 
ican and Anglo juveniles are not treated equally, that Mexican- Amer- 
ican youths who committed the same offense as Anglo youths were 
more severely punished. 

The former chief of police of Las Vegas, N. Mex., told the Commis- 
sion's State advisory committee that during his period of service be- 
tween 1962 and 1966 there were two troublemaking gangs, one Anglo 
and the other Mexican-American, in his community. For the same 
misconduct, the local officials proposed to charge the ]\Iexican-Amer- 
ican youths with criminal offenses and to punish the Anglo youths 
by suspending some of their school privileges. When the chief insisted 
that all the offenders be given the same treatment, the matter was 

It is very difficult to obtain a remedy against police abuse in small 
towns. Procedures are quite informal and usually complaints are han- 
dled by the chief of police personally. In small departments he may 
be working too closely with his men to be able to consider complaints 
against them objectively. 

In some cases, Mexican-Americans are afraid to complain about 
police abuse because of fear of retaliation. Soon after Mr. Fuentes, 
whose case was previously described, complained to the Federal Bu- 
reau of Investigation about the officers involved in his beating, new 
charges of speeding were filed against him by local law enforcement 
officers, in retaliation, he believes, for his action in filing a complaint. 

The training and recruitment problems of smalltown police forces 
may also lead to violations of the rights of INIexican-Americans. The 
superintendent of a sheriff's office in New Mexico stated that his 
office was understaffed and the men's pay "embarrassingly low" — $325 
per month for a deputy sheriff. 

Law enforcement agencies in the Southwest in cities under 10,000 
responding to the Commission questionnaire indicated that 47 percent 
of the agencies did not have any formal training for officers joining 
their departments. The result is likeily to be poorly trained law enforce- 
ment personnel. IMoreover, the resources of such agencies are severely 
strained by the seasonal influx of migrants, perhaps resulting in hos- 
tility by officers toward migrant workers. 


Rural police officers who were interviewed indicated that they looked 
on migrants as troublemakers. One police chief in a rural area referred 
to them as "tramps." In another area, the police used arrests to dis- 
courage migrants from coming into town from the local migrant camp. 

Employees of the Colorado INIigrant Council, an organization estab- 
lished to assist migrants, were also harassed. In 1967 an armed farmer 
threatened to kill a council employee who liad tried to intercede for 
some migrant workers with whom the farmer was having a dispute. 


Although the employee complained to the local police, they refused 
to bring charges. 

In another incident, in Denver, four migrant laborers and an em- 
ployee of the migrant council were arrested on a charge of assault, 
which they claimed was false. One of the men has trouble putting 
his hand down flat because of an injury. As a result of his disability, 
he was not able to roll his hand properly for fingerprinting. 

Commission investigators were told that a Denver police officer 
smashed him across the knuckles with his night stick in order to make 
him flatten his hand out for fingerprinting. In addition, the representa- 
tive of the Colorado JSIigrant Council who was arrested with the four 
laborers was questioned by Denver police officers, who reportedly asked 
him, "What are you doing with these Mexicans?" 

In urban areas, Mexican-Americans complained of dragnet stop- 
and-frisk practices by law enforcement officers — where members of a 
group are indiscriminately stopped and searched, instead of stopping 
only those against whom a reasonable suspicion of criminal violation 
exists. The rural equivalent of this complaint concerns the practice 
of law enforcement officials of enforcing immigration laws in border 
areas by stopping Mexican-Americans indiscriminately as "wetbacks" 
and asking them to show their papers. Several instances were reported 
in which such persons were arrested and jailed, then released several 
hours later. 

On the other hand, migrants found it difficult to obtain police protec- 
tion when they needed it. Commission staff heard allegations that 
local law enforcement officers would not conduct adequate investiga- 
tions into crimes where migrant workers were the victims, and that 
law enforcement is generally lax around migrant labor camps. 

The situation during the summer of 1967 at the labor camp near 
Fort Lupton, Colo., is a good example. The town line has been drawn 
so that the labor camp is just outside the city limits and local police 
services are not available to the residents of the camp. If the need for 
police protection arises, they have to call the Weld County sheriff's 
department in Greeley, Colo., over 25 miles away. Consequently, law 
enforcement protection in the camp is nonexistent. 


The Commission also received information concerning difficulties of 
Mexican-American farmworkers in labor union organization and 
union-management conflicts. Tliis subcommittee is familiar with the 
events of 1967 in Starr County, Tex., where the Texas Rangers were 
sent in upon the request of local officials when the United Farm Work- 
ers Organizing Committee attempted to organize the farmworkers in 
that area and to strike against some growers. 

Senator Mondale. Would you yield there. Doctor? 

Dr. Garcia. Yes, sir. 

Senator Mondale. I was surprised in my visit to the Rio Grande 
Valley to discover the attitude on the part of Mexican-Americans, 
particularly the migrant workers, toward the Texas Rangers. We 
watched Texas Rangers on television in Minnesota, and we thought 
they were the protectors of justice, and the poor, sort of modern ethical 
Robin Hoods. 

36-513 O— 70— pt. 4-B 2 


But m'any of the Mexicans had an entirely different view of the 
Texas Rangers. Indeed, some of them told me that their principal 
function over the years has been to keep the Mexican- American in 
his place. The history of Texas Rangers in terms of some of the abuses 
has been a rather sordid one in terms of police brutality and violence. 

Some people told me about whait they call a Texas Ranger ride, 
where a person is arrested and escorted around the State uncere- 
moniously and incommunicado. 

Would you comment on that ? 

Dr. Garcia. Certainly I will, Senator Mondale. 

I remember that as a child, the word that scared me the most and 
scared Mexican-Americans in Texas was "Los Rinches are coming" 
or "Los Rinches were there." This struck horror into all Mexican- 
Americans from the age of 6 on up. 

Now in our examination of one of the rangers in San Antonio, I 
asked this ranger, "Certainly during your 30 years or so of peace offi- 
cer's work as a law enforcement officer, you have arrested thousands 
of people." He said, "That is correct." 

I said, "In this 30 years or so of your law officer's work, have 3'ou 
ever got a search warrant, have you ever gone to the justice of the 
peace or judge and gotten a search warrant?" And the answer was 

And this is fantastic that this ranger would have worked 30 years 
and arrested thousands of people and never have been able to get a 
search warrant — or arrest warrant. 

Even today the word "Rinche," which is the word used by Mexican- 
Americans, is one that brings fear. Certainly, there are exceptions. 
I also think that the Rangers are used in places where they have no 
business. I certainly think that such a situation developed in Crystal 
City elections in 1965. In that election, I don't think the rangers should 
have been there. 

We had democratic procedures and methods of electing public offi- 
cials — by majority vote. 

Now in all of the counties around Crystal City I pointed out to you 
on our map. Senator Mondale, that in all of those counties we have 
majority Mexican-American — Zavala, 82.4 percent; Dimmit, 83; La- 
Salle, 80.1 and Frio 80.7. In Dimmit County, or any of those four 
counties, it is over 80 percent — some of them 83 percent and there in 
Crystal City through normal procedures of democratic principle 
and changes by two in spite of having to pay the poll tax, we went 
ahead and had legal elections and thus the mayor and four councilmen 
Mexican- American, were elected by majority vote in a democratic 

I think that the election should have stood on its merits and legality 
and I don't think the rangers should have come into it at all. Because 
they should not be called to go ahead and interfere with normal elective 
processes, or conflicts in labor disputes. But in most cases thej- are the 
judge, jury, and jailers. 

Here they were called up to go into Crystal City and tear down the 
"Heart" of the democratic processes in the State. This illegal interfer- 
ence I cannot accept at all. 

Senator Mondai.e. Tlie Texas Rangers are State police ; aren't they ? 

Dr. Garcia. That is correct. 


Senator Mondale. There is no way that the Mexican-American 
populations that are affected by the tactics of the Texas Rangers can 
defend themselves politically. In other words, they can't vote the 
rangers out of office because none of them are elected or responsive to 
Mexican- American electorates along the Rio Grande; is that correct? 

Dr. Garcia. That is correct. Of course, when they inove, they move 
into the county courthouse, which in Texas predominantly is Anglo 
controlled. And from there they run everythmg and sometimes even 
the city officials. County officials would not dare disagree with the 
Texas Rangers. They carry a tremendous amount of power because 
they are backed by tlie Governor and they are only directly responsible 
to the Governor — not to the people. , ' 

About 6 years ago out of 900 highway patrolmen, there were only 
three or four Mexican-Americans ; we protested to the Governor, and 
he talked to the public safety director, but he didn't make any changes. 
So I don't know who was running the State, whether it was the direc- 
tor of the department of public safety, or whether it was the Governor 
of the State of Texas. 

But the Rangers are powerful people and they are not amenable to 
suggestion or reason and they are not responsible to the electorate. 

Senator Yarborough. I have a question here, ISIr. Chairman. 

Dr. Garcia, how many Mexican-Americans are there on the ranger 
force ? 

Dr. Garcia. I think there has only been one Mexican- American in 
over 100 years. 

Senator Yarborough. That was one appointed by the late Governor 
James V. Allred, who appointed the first Mexican-American, and he 
was Governor in 1930. I happened to have been serving under him. 

Dr. Garcia. Yes ; he is the only one. He is retired now. 

Senator Yarborough. That is the one appointed by the late Gov. 
James V. Allred. Please continue. 

Dr. Garcia. In May 1967 the Texas State Advisory Committee to 
the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held meetings and after hearing 
testimony found that the Texas Rangers and local law enforcement 
officials had harassed members of the United Farm Workers Organiz- 
ing Committee through physical and verbal abuse and the holding 
of union organizers in jail for many hours before they were released 
on bond. 

The committee also found that the Texas Rangers had encouraged 
farmworkers to cross picket lines, and that the harassment and in- 
timidation by rangers of members, organizers, and sympathizers of 
the Farm Workers Committee gave the appearance that the rangers 
and local law enforcement officials were in sympathy with the growers 
and packers rather than being impartial guardians of the law. 

Testimony from several witnesses at the Commission's hearings in 
San Antonio supported the findings of the advisory committee. State 
law enforcement officials denied the allegations and maintained that 
they had acted impartially throughout the events in Starr County. 

Concerning an 8-month strike by Mexican-American farmworkers 
at a floral farm in Colorado, in February of this year I personally 
interviewed several of the women involved in the strike and received 
complaints from them concerning the conduct of local law enforce- 


ment officials. These women alleged that complaints from the struck 
farmer and his employees against the strikers and their sympathizers 
were welcomed by local law enforcement officials, while complaints 
by the striking workers were ignored or were improperly handled and 
poorly investigated. 

I talked to mese people personally and what they relate is fantastic. 
Let me assure the Senators when people who work in those rural farms 
come into the city, they are subjected to a lot of unnecessary search 
and seizures and also abuse. 

In addition, local ranchers were deputized to help local law enforce- 
ment officials handle the strike, and it was alleged that excessive force 
was used against those strikers who did engage in misconduct. In 
February 1969 after a local court enjoined pickets from blocking the 
main gateway to the struck farm — it is a main gate, but other area 
to the farm is open. There is no continuous fence and certainly a 
number of openings and gates are available. 

Five of the Mexican- American women leading the strike wrapped 
and tied themselves in a 25-foot chain and fastened it across the main 
entrance. An employee of the farm cut the chain from the gate, but 
the women remained snarled in it. Then without a word of warning, 
a sheriff's deputy approached the women from behind and spread a 
layer of tear gas over them. 

Let me say, Senator, according to the picture I saw when those 
deputy sheriffs got off the car out of the road away from the farm 
and farm entrance, they were already wearing gas masks and they 
were already carrying with theim their gas macliines. 

An early morning fog caused the gas to hang in the air around 
them, and they fell to the ground unable to escape because of the 
weight of the chain and their inability to coordinate their movements. 
Other male picketei's, who were standing nearby, dragged the helpless 
women out of the cloud of gas. 

Let me point out on the question of the floral farm, that nothing 
was done a'bout it. I personally asked for an investigation. I went 
to the Civil Rights Section of the Attorney General's office personally 
and asked for an investigation. Later I was told more or less that noth- 
ing had been done about it, that they depended on some reports from 
newspapers or they depended also on reports submitted on any demon- 
stration — picketing or incidents. 

I thought it was a travesty of justice that, in spite of my request 
even then, ndbody contacted the poor women. I am greatly ashamed 
that this is the type of justice they received. I thought at least an 
investigation would be in order. 

Although the Commission staff did not specifically investigate the 
situation in Delano, Calif., it has received information alleging that 
the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee has i-eceived very 
little cooperation or protection from local law enforcement officials 
when strikers and their supportere were harassed by local grape 
growers and their employees. 

A basic thread nms through all these situations — ^State and local 
law enforcement officials have acted in a manner designed to aid the 
farmers and growers and often have interfered with legitimate at- 
tempts by union officials and others to orgainize and strike. 



Since most migrant workers and their families 'have small incomes, 
it is particularly difficult for them to obtain private counsel in either 
civil or criminal cases. Nor can they afford bail and often must re- 
main in jail until they are tried, thus jeopardizing their defense and 
seriously interfering with their family life and employment. 

In serious criminal cases counsel must be appointed for indi^nt 
defendants. However, the Commission staff heard many complaints 
that attorneys appointed for indigent Mexican- American defendants 
were inexperienced toward t'heir clients and often tried as a matter 
of course to bargain for a light sentence in return for a plea of guilty 
rather than adequately and fully represent them. 

In some areas there are few, if any, attorneys available at all. In 
primarily rural Sando\'al County, north of Albuquerque, N.M., there 
was only one lawyer in tlie entire county, the director of the legal 
services program. She was not able to represent indigents in criminal 
matters because of the prohibition contained in the 1967 amendments 
to the Economic Opportunity Act. 

In many rural areas Commission investigators learned that local 
attorneys were reluctant to handle cases for Mexican- Americans be- 
cause they did not pay well enough, or because they were "controver- 
sial" and might offend an attorney's other clients. At the same time 
there are many areas in the Southwest with large concentrations of 
Mexican-Americans that do not have federally funded legal services 
programs to handle civil matters for indigents. There are very few 
Mexican-American attorneys practicing law in the Southwest — only 
2 percent — and the majority of them are in the large urban areas 
rather than in rural communities. 

The Commission also heard complaints that the system of bail was 
used improperly against Mexican-Americans. There was testimony 
that excessive bail and unnecessary bail requirements were used by 
local law enforcement officials to harass union organizers and their 
supporters in Starr County in 1967. 

Commission staff learned that in some rural communities officials 
purposely confused Mexican-American defendants to make them think 
that the hearing to set bail was the trial, so defendants would not 
appear later for trial, thus forfeiting bail and automatically estab- 
lishing a criminal record. 

In one community in northern Colorado migrant workers were 
arrested and charged with drunkenness. They then were released 
on $75 bail, but trial was set for over 2 months later, long after they 
would have left the community to go to work elsewhere. Thus, they 
were forced to forfeit their bail if they moved on to farm work else- 

In the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado, Commission staff 
membere investigated allegations that the misuse of bail and fines by 
local authorities had resulted in a situation resembling peonage, or 
involuntary servitude. They were told that during the harvest season 
local farmers went to the jails in several of the small towns on Monday 
mornings and inquired about the number of Mexican-American farm- 
w^orkers arrested over the weekend. The farmers selected the best 


workers and paid their fines or posited their bail. Then the men were 
released in the custody of the farmer and required to repay the money 
by working for the farmer. 

In one community the men were told by the police magistrate that 
if they did not remain on the farm and w^rk off the amount they owed 
the farmer, they would be returned to jail. The same magistrate some- 
times would give the farmer a "discount." If, for example, the fine 
or bail were set at $40, he would require the farmer to pay only $25, but 
he would tell the worker that he owed the farmer $40 worth of labor. 
Interviews by Commission members with officials in several com- 
munities established that the practice of local farmers paying fines or 
posting bail for Mexican-American workers was common. 

We hear criticism that those Mexican- Americans are not too fluent 
in English, but let me be honest with you. The whole system of educa- 
tion in Texas, since Texas became a Republican State, had the intent 
of keeping Mexican-Americans almost semi-illiterate, and this we can 
go ahead and document anytime anybody wants to question. 

So I say in defense of my brothers and sisters, let's not blame them 
for poverty or the system of education that is a consequence of their 
level of ability. 

Language disability is a problem for many Mexican- Americans, 
and for poorly educated migrant workers in particular. Often Mexican- 
Americans and police officers simply and literally do not understand 
one another. If a Mexican-American does not comprehend a police 
officer's questions or commands, an ordinary contact can escalate into 
a more serious situation. 

Police officials in rural areas or in States with large rural popula- 
tions told Commission staff members that they recognized language 
differences as an important factor in the lack of understanding be- 
tween Mexican-Americans and law enforcement officials. However, 
only six of the law enforcement agencies responding to the Commis- 
sion's questionnaire required their officers to take a course in con- 
versational Spanish. None of the agencies representing jurisdictions 
with less than 10,000 total population had such a course. 

Commission staff members also found that Mexican-Americans 
whose English is poor are severely handicapped in the courtroom, often 
to an extent not understood or recognized by court officials. A lack of 
proficiency in English interferes with a criminal defendant's ability to 
plead intelligently, to advise his lawyer with respect to the facts, to 
understand fully the testimony of the witnesses against him, and other- 
wise to prepare adequately or assist in his own defense. It can lead to 
serious errors. 

For example, a Commission investigator was told of a situation in 
a small Arizona community where a Mexican- American man who 
understood very little English was erroneously arrested and charged 
with sexually molesting a minor, a charge resulting from a misunder- 
standing by police officers of what a complaining witness had said. 

At the time of his preliminary hearing the man thought he was being 
charged with drunkenness, and made no objection to the charge. No 
interpreter was present to explain the charge or to assist him. He was 
placed in jail to await trial since ho could not afford bail. 

It was only after a Spanish-speaking probation officer was able to 


see him and converse with him in Spanish that the matter was cleared 
up and the case was dismissed. 

In other rural communities Commission staff members learned that 
many Mexican Americans who did not understand English very well 
would plead to minor charges because they did not know what was 
hapjDening when they appeared in court, and to plead guilty was the 
easiest things to do under the circumstances. 

Mexican- Americans who have difficulty speaking English also have 
serious problems in civil and administrative matters. In a small com- 
munity in southwestern New INIexico, a Mexican- American man and 
his wife were declared unfit parents based on a complaint filed by 
the w^elfare department. As a result, three of their children were 
removed from their custody. However, the parents did not have the 
assistance of legal counsel and because they were not able to speak 
English fluently, it was impossible for them to present their case 

After conviction, language disability can seriously hinder a Mexi- 
can-American defendant's opportunity to receive probation or parole 
and can create difficulties for him if he attains it. In many parts of the 
Southwest there are few, if any, ]Mexican-American or Spanish-speak- 
ing probation and parole officers. 

In one community a Commission investigator learned that a local 
probation officer refused to allow Spanish to be spoken in his office 
and made people who had to converse in Spanish go out into the hall. 

In parts of the Southwest some arrangements have been made for 
interpreters. However, Commission staff found that particularly in 
the lower level courts these arrangements often were less than ade- 
quate. In some cases regular court personnel or other untrained indi- 
viduals were used as interpreters. In a few courts Spanish-speaking 
police officers were used to interpret for criminal defendants. While it 
is important not only that an interpreter be available when necessary, 
it is also important that the interpreter be a neutral figure who can 
gain the confidence of the defendant and the witnesses. 

Let me say here we had to go into the Supreme Court of the United 
States several years ago and we had to sue the State of Texas to give 
us in the State equity under the jury system of Texas. Let me point 
out to you in the county of Nueces, a certain jury wheel is designated 
to receive all names of the poll tax holders. However, a precinct called 
Molina composed primarily of Mexican Americans never had a per- 
son in the jury wheel. 

Thousands and thousands of the poor. Senator, who live in such 
areas like Molina were never placed in the jury wheel. Of course, the 
explanation is adequate "mechanically." The wheel was not large 
enough. This happened recently only about 4 or 5 years back. 


TJnder-representation of Mexican-Americans on grand and petit 
luries in rural areas of the Southwest is marked. A study of the grand 
juries in California for the period 1957-^68 was done for the Com- 
mission by California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. Of 20 California 
counties with the highest percentage of Spanish-surnamed population, 


the study showed under-representation of Spanish-surnamed persons 
on the grand juries in every county, including those in the rural areas. 

King County, with a Spanish-surnamed population of 13.4 percent, 
had 1.9 percent Spanish-surname representation on grand juries dur- 
ing the years studied. Merced County, with a Spanish-surnamed 
population of 13.6 percent, had 6.3 i^ercent Spanish-surnamed repre- 
sentation. San Bernardino County, with a Spanish-surnamed popu- 
lateion of 26.4 percent, had 8.8 percent representation on grand juries. 

The effect of such under representation is important in that in 
California, as in some other States, the grand jury not only decides 
which persons shall be indicted and tried for crimes, but also has a 
general power to investigate and evaluate the administration of local 

Exclusion of persons of a particular ethnic group or class from the 
grand jury thus may have important consequences even beyond im- 
pairing the fair and impartial administration of criminal justice. 

Low representation of Mexican- Americans extends to trial juries 
as well. Several lawyers who have tried cases in South Texas testified 
at Commission hearings that they have never seen a Mexican- American 
on a jury in south Texas. 

In Texas, especially in rural counties where the median years of 
schooling is low, language disability may be a factor in the lack of 
Spanish-surnamed representation. In the 20 southernmost Texas coun- 
ties which are mainly rural, and have from 35 to 80 percent 
Spanish-surnamed populations, the median level of education of 
Spanish-surnamed persons was generally less than 5 years, according 
to the 1960 census. 

But in each of these counties there were hundreds and, in some cases, 
thousands of other Spanish-surnamed persons who had completed 
from 5 to 7 or more grades of schooling, which presumably gave them 
enough knowledge of English to enable them to serve as jurors but 

The Commission heard testimony to the effect that the disparities 
between the Spanish-surnamed population and the number who, in 
fact, served as jurors results in an execessive frequency of indicting 
Mexican- American criminal defendants and the rendering of exces- 
sively low verdicts in civil cases where Mexican-Americans are plain- 
tiffs. It was also alleged that those few Mexican-Americans who are 
listed on jury panels are usually removed by preemptory challenges in 
both civil and criminal cases. 


From the information I have given you this morning, I am sure 
that you will not be surprised to learn that in general the attitude of 
Mexican- Americans toward the institutions involved in the adminis- 
tration of justice — the police, the courts, and related agencies — is dis- 
trustful, fearful, and hostile. The agencies of justice are viewed as 
Anglo institutions in which Mexican-Americans have no stake and 
from which they do not expect fair treatment. 

However, the extent to which attitudes of alienation, of viewing 
legal institutions as foredgn, have been manifested in the course of 


the Commission's research is only part of the picture. To Mexican- 
Americans, as to members of other minorities in this country, the 
failure of the administration of justice is simply the failure to guaran- 
tee them equal rights, not as members of a minority group, but as 
citizens of the United States. 

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before this subcommittee. 
I shall be pleased to answer any question you may have. 

In this edition of The Corpus Christi Caller is a list of south Texas 
Vietnam casualties and this list came out November 1, 1968. In it 
you have total casualties in south Texas of 278 — Mexican-Americans, 
182 — and it gives us 66-percent casualties. These Mexican-American 
people send their sons and husbands to war. They are all American 
citizens and it has been said that the only way Mexican-Americans 
are going to get out of poverty is by collecting the insurance on their 
sons, brothers, and fathers who are killed in Vietnam. And I say 
this is a hell of a thin^ to have to say for Mexican-Americans. I am 
very saddened when this is said. We say it ourselves because we know 
we help bury those poor soldiers. 

I wish to thank you, Senator Mondale, Senator Yarborough and 
members of the committee, members of the press, television, radio, 
ladies and gentlemen, for your time and if you have any questions 
to ask, I will be glad to try to answer them. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you, Dr. Garcia, for an excellent state- 
ment. Senator Yarborough ? 

Senator Yarborough. Dr. Garcia, in your narration as to participa- 
tion by Mexican- Americans in law enforcement agencies, there is one 
agency where, though few in numbers, Mexican- Americans do par- 
ticipate fully, and that is as deputy U.S. marshals, deputy assistant 
U.S. attorneys general in south Texas, and you have deputy marshals 
in Rio Grande Valley and have had for many years. 

Dr. Garcia. That is correct. 

Senator Yarborough. The Federal Government recognizes the 
right of Mexican- Americans and particularly in the last few years to 
participate in law enforcement machinery in the country. 

Dr. Garcia. That's right. Senator. 

Senator Yarborough. You have a Mexican-American Federal 
judge, the first in history, now appointed by President Kennedy at 
Brownsville, do you not? 

Dr. Garcia. That is correct. 

Senator Yarborough. That is all. I wanted to point out, Mr. Chair- 
man, that in the Federal sphere the American- American is recognized 
with citizenship rights. 

Senator Mondale. Dr. Garcia, would it be fair to say that the econ- 
omies of the counties that you have listed on this chart are dependent 
upon the farmworker to a great extent, and that if it were not for 
Mexican-American farmworkers, the economies would be in desperate 
shape. Is that correct ? 

Dr. Garcia. I think they would. They are now dependent on the 
farmworkers there in that area, and the situation would be deplorable 
without them. The workers are poor of course, but with additional 
Federal grants, a lot of these poor counties actually, even today have 
updated their income. But it is the migrant workers who have con- 


tributed a great amount to the development of whatever existed in 
those counties and certainly even in the old days during cotton develop- 
ment, cotton picking, and now the winter gardens, orchards, and rail- 
road building, et cetera. 

Senator Mondale. But today those counties are primarily agricul- 
tural counties, are they not ? They are producing citrus fruits and 
field vegetables, and they are very dependent upon these Mexican- 
American farmworkers to plant, cultivate, and harvest those crops, 
are they not ? 

Dr. Garcia. That is correct. 

Senator Mondale. Then in light of the dependency of the agricul- 
ture community upon Mexican-American farmworkers, how do you 
explain their hostility and insensitivity to the Mexican Americans 
upon whom they depend for their livelihood? 

Dr. Garcia. Senator Mondale, this goes back to history. The hos- 
tility toward the Mexican American is a result of historical preju- 
dice, that is all. We are hated as a result of the historical misrepre- 
sentation of the Texas revolution and the Mexican-American war. 
So therefore the hostility exists not only toward the migrant, it exists 
toward all Mexican Americans with few exceptions. 

I can't quite understand it, of course. The proof is that in 1969 we 
still don't have a State minimum wage in Texas. We finally passed 
one that is coming into existence February 1970, and that would be 
$1.25; for 19T1, 1.40, and for 1972, $1.60. But the whole truth is that 
Texas has failed to protect and help the migrant worker. So a lot of 
them have to migrate out of the State to make a better living. 

Senator Mondale. Why can't the migrants, sensing that these crops 
can't be planted or cultivated or harvested without them, simply refuse 
to work in the fields until they have gotten a more decent shake and 
the respect that has been accorded to other workers for years elsewhere 
in the country ? Why don't they do that ? 

Dr. Garcia. Because they don't allow them to organize. I remember 
I lived in Hidalgo County when I was a boy. Whenever you heard 
talk of union people coming over there, the rumors were: "They are 
agitators. Communists, and troublemakers." From the beginning, 
Texas was an agricultural State and the farmers didn't want us to 
receive any amount of education. 

The whole system in Texas was geared up to this fact : "keep those 
Mexicans as agricultural workers." In fact, in 1940 a school board 
member told us personally when we were bringing a suit against the 
school board because at that time farmers were using children in agri- 
cultural work during the school hours. He said, ""Wlio is going to pick 
our cotton ?" — if the Mexican children go to school. 

Also, Senator, school boards and count v commissioners courts gen- 
erally are run by agricultural farmers. They are hostile and they are 
callous toward the feelings and need of the Mexican American. Ac- 
cording to their thinking and school teachings, we are supposed to 
be an inferior group of people. 

I will leave this Houston Chronicle article for your study. This is in 
response to a study made at the University of Houston last year in 
December. Notice the horrible answers that were given to this question 
by 75 Anglo students : "What do you think when yon hear the word 


'Mexican'?" They went on to say they are lazy, good-for-nothing, low 
educational, illiterate, dirty, hundreds of kids, peons, switchblades, 
and so forth. 

Those were not old people. This is the feeling by junior and senior 
Anglo students at the University of Houston. Not in 1936 but in 1968. 

Senator Moxdale. Do we have that article for the record ? We will 
include that in the record. 

(The article referred to follows:) 

[From the Houston Chronicle, Dec. 2, 1968, Houston, Tex.] 

The Hyphenated Americans. — Citizens for a Century Squabble Oveie an 


(By Carlos Conde) 

More than a century after their official incorporation into American society, 
the Mexican-American still can't agree on a suitable image — nor can anyone else. 

He has been called Mexican American, Latin-American, American of Mexican 
descent, Spanish-speaking American, Hispanic-American, white person of Spanish 
surname, Mejicano, Tejano, Chicano, La Raza or just plain Mexican or 

His preference usually depends on the area in which he lives, his age, his 
education and his involvement in Mexican-American affairs. 

The old-timers, people in the barrios and those along the Texas border seem 
comfortable with Latin-American. 

The young professionals, the student element and most of the big-city dwellers 
like Mexican-American ; the politicians frequently use emotional references like 
La Raza (The Clan) or Chicano (derivative of Mexijano). Many successful 
middle-class Mexican-Americans prefer American. 

In New Mexico, they call themselves Spanish-Americans, laying claim to direct 
Spanish lineage, and cringe at any other allusions. 

Other references like Spanish-speaking Americans are used mostly by non- 
ethnic persons who feel the Mexican-American is offended by a direct parenthesis. 

"I'm a Mexican-American," Houston insuranceman Martin Garcia said. "When 
someone calls me Latin- American I think he's trying hard to be polite and doesn't 
know me very well." 

"I consider myself an American — period." Medal of Honor winner Macario 
Garcia of Houston said. 

"I like to be called a Latin-American," said Houston hospital orderly Benny 
Martinez. "Mexican is too often used as a derogatory expression and creates 

"Forget labels, it's old stuff," said Bellaire barbershop owner Elias Garcia. 
"We're Americans." 


"Latin-American is innocuous : Spanish-speaking is patronizing but Mexican- 
American tells it like it is," lawyer Ben Canales of Houston said. 

An example of the divergent views occurred in Houston when a group of 
Mexican-Americans formed a chamber of commerce. 

Within three months they had split into two groups because they could not 
agree on what to call themselves. One group called itself the Mexican Chamber 
of Commerce ; the other group became the Latin-American Chamber of Commerce. 

This ethnic name game is part of what University of Texas Prof. George I. 
Sanchez once called "cultural indigestion." 

To ward off discrimination and rejection without entirely deserting their ethnic 
ties, Mexican-Americans are constantly searching for the most compatible image. 

"mental imperialism" 

This is traced to what one sociologist called the Anglo's "mental imperialism" 
over the Mexican-American ; that is, the Anglo tried to repress the minority 
culture and language. 

Many Mexican-Americans doggedly refused to yield to the Anglo culture, and 


this fostered isolation and backwardness among the Mexican-Americans. Others 
restructured their ethnic background and assimilated into the Angloculture. 

For everyone, however, the social pressures which he feels against his parent 
culture have made him extremely sensitive about his background. 

Mexican-Americans show great indignation with people who can't differentiate 
between race and ethnic origin. For example: "Is he w*hite? No, he's Mexican." 

Policemen, school officials and job interviewers particularly draw their wrath 
when they list them as "Mexican" or "Latin" under the question of race. 

They dislike the double standards used for Mexican-Americans and Latins from 
other nations. 

Several years ago, a group of South Americans studying in a Texas university 
were turned away from a private recreation area. They complained to university 
officials who in turn protested to the proprietor. 

"I'm sorry," he said inviting them back. "I thought they were Mexicans." 

Almost everyone has felt confused, frustrated or insecure with the Anglo 
method of exulting the Mexican-iAmerican culture with one hand and deriding it 
with the other. 


"He loves our Mexican food but derides our dietary habits," youth worker Rick 
Campos of Houston said. "Spanish offensive if we speak it in front of him 
but his pidgin Spanish is supposedly charming when he uses it on us." 

Some Mexican-Americans have gone to extremes to rub off what they consider 
an ethnic stigma. 

Other Mexican-Americans have Anglicized their surnames and christened their 
children William instead of Guillermo or James instead of Santiago. 


One Mexican-American moved into an all Anglo neighborhood and did not 
allow his parents or in-laws to visit him for several months because he was afraid 
of offending the neighbors. 

The biggest dilemma is their native tongue. To break the Mexican-American's 
habit of speaking Spanish and to improve their English proficiency, schools have 
outlawed Spanish except in sanctioned classrooms. 

Some Mexican-iAmericans have come to regard Spanish as inferior and the 
tongue of the poor and the ignorant. 

Parents are reluctant to teach Spanish to their children, and many grow up 
learning only English without taking advantage of their bilingual abilities. 

"I am teaching my son English first because I come from a Spanish-speaking 
background and I had a rough time," a parent said. 


'My children are growing up with English because I don't want them to have 
a Spanish accent," another said. 

The language problem is not without comical overtones. 

A Mexican-American policeman in Houston arrested another ^Vlexican- 
American and had to call in a third one to translate because the policeman 
couldn't speak Spanish. 

Prof. Sanchez faults the educationail system for cheapening the Spanish 

"We extol the virtues of foreign languages in the development and achieve- 
ments of the educated ; we decry their decline in public education," he said. 
"We subsidize the teaching of foreign languages ; yet in the Southwest, one of 
the world's greatest languages is suppressed. It doesn't make sense." 


A tragic aspect of many Mexican-«Americans' effort to upgrade themselves 
according to the Anglo norms has been the failure to improve significantly his 
stereotyped backward image. 

This was pointedly underscored by 75 Anglo students in two sociology classes 
at the University of Houston. 

A graduate student doing a research assignment asked : "What do you think 
of when you hear the word 'Mexican'? Fifty-four wrote derogatory answers. 


"A lower class worker, usually honest, with little opinion or backbone, no 
drive, just living from day to day," one student said. 

"Working class, dirty T-shirt, big accent, low education, a few scars on face, 
a s\vitchblade knife in pocket and driving a '54 Chevy," wrote a 21-year-old senior. 


"Illiterate, dirty, lazy people with hundreds of kids," a 19-year-old sophomore 

"Conjures hard-working beer-bellied peons ; I'd rather use the word 'Spaiiiard'," 
said a 24-year-old senior. 

Sociology graduate student Tatcho Mindiola, who did the survey, said the 
report is inconclusive but it questions the accomplishments of assimilation and 
greater understanding. 

"It wouldn't have been so significant if the replies had come from older, un- 
informed folks with their traditional biases, but these are from the younger 
element with minds supposedly trained to make an intelligent appraisal," Min- 
diola said. 

'Many Mexican-Americans who rise in anger at such unflattering descriptions 
are the younger generation who have inlierited the problems but not experienced 
them as acutely as their elders did. 

The march of time has mellowed the older Mexican-American. They remember 
the old days when being a Mexican-American was an irrepressible liability. 

Senator Mondale. Suppose the farmworker in one of these com- 
munities that is predominately Mexican-American said, "We are not 
making enough money to make a decent living. We have suffered these 
indignities, we have been sprayed with pesticides, we have no job se- 
curity, none of the things which our fellow workers around the country 
have, and we just want an understanding that we are going to have 
conditions improved, and dignity, before we work." 

Refusing to work is a standard technique used around the country 
and well accepted in labor-management relations. Would it not be fair 
to say that along the Mexican border, if farmworkers did strike, that 
within minutes their jobs would be taken by Mexicans brought across 
tlie border for the purpose of breaking such a strike ? And that to this 
date there is such an influx of foreign labor that it is virtually impos- 
sible to apply any kinds of economic leverage on behalf of the 

Dr. Garcia. First, the outside farmworkers would be brought. Sec- 
ond, no farmworkers would be allowed to organize. Third, if an outside 
labor organizer came in, they would bring out the cry outside agitator. 
Fourth, our farmworkers don't know who to go to for help. 

Mexican-American farmworkers are not included in the National 
Labor Relations Act. I remember those ladies in the Colorado strike 
said that in Colorado also they were not allowed to organize as farm- 
workers. I think the farmworkers have nobody to go to for help and 
I think this should be a responsibility of the Federal Government to 
help and protect them. 

Senator Moxdale. Turning to the question of political power, I 
think you indicated that it is very, very hard for Mexican-Americans 
to be elected to offices at the local level, even in those counties where 
there are heavy Mexican-American populations. 

How do you explain that, even though they are such a high per- 
centage of the population, the power structure is still so contemptuous ? 

Dr. Garcia. I explain it simply because from the very beginning the 
power structure had ways and means of keeping the Mexican-Amer- 


ican people from having full rights. One way was the buying of poll 
taxes. The poll tax costs $1.75 which is a lot of money. Therefore to 
vote you had to buy a poll tax. The poor didn't have $1.75. 

Let me tell you that I think the greatest obstruction to the right of 
free registration are the tax assessors and collectors of every county. 
They are part of the county and State power structure. They are not 
about to make it easy for Mexican-Americans to register, because they 
don't want them to register. 

Senator Mondale. Is that where you have to register to vote with 
the tax assessor ? 

Dr. Garcia. Yes ; the tax assessor in Texas is responsible for issuing 
registration slips before January 3il every year. This is the deadline. 
You have to register at either his office or with his deputy or at a sub- 
station. But they shut down at 5 o'clock. He doesn't work on Saturday 
and Sunday. The poor work all week. It works alright. "Wlien you 
register a brother and sister, father and mother. However as a civic 
leader of organizations as veterans to save time and money I could 
round up hundreds of people and get them registered and send a 
hundred applications in one envelope and save postage. However, we 
are prohibited by law from mailing people registration slips for more 
than one family in the same envelope. In other words, they have to go 
to their tax office or substations to register in person, not by mail. 

Tax assessors are against the belief that the "Democracy must also 
be applicable to Mexican- Americans." They think we should not be 
part of the American democratic mainstream. 

Senator Yarborough. I might help the chairman with a brief 
explanation of the law. When we finally knocked out the poll tax in 
Texas, the State legislature instituted this registration law without a 
poll tax. It is administered by the tax collector, assessor and collector 
of the county, because formerly the poll tax was collected by the tax 
collector, so it was kept in the same office because he had the books and 

Under Texas law all registrations for people to vote next year must 
be completed by January 31, if they are goina: to A-ote in November. 
It is a very restrictive registration law. When the Federal court 
knocked out the poll tax, the legislature passed a registration law. as 
Dr. Garcia is pointing out, which makes it more difficult physically 
to get a registration certificate then it was to buy the poll tax in the 
past, providing you had $1.75. 

Senator Mondale. Then, as I understand it, many of the times 
migrants are out of the State at the time they should be registering. 

Senator Yarborough. Now another indication of the way the State 
legislature has passed these laws to keep people from voting, under 
the old poll tax law when a person passed the age of 60, they were 
exempt from paying poll tax because of age, and if they lived in a 
city under 10,000 population, they were not required to have an exemp- 
tion certificate in their pocket because the administration officials, 
the tax people holding the election all knew them personally. 

Now, however, a person must have an annual registration certificate 
even though they live on a remote rural route 40 miles from the 
county seat. They must get this registration certificate at a little box 
where only 25 votes are cast and they must get one every year. 


For a person over 60 years of age, it is much more difficult to qualify 
to vote and more expensive now and difficult to qualify to vote than it 
was back before the poll tax was knocked out. It is easier only in the 
sense of money required as a cost to register a person between ages of 
21 and 60. 

If a person is over 60, the laws are more difficult than ever and they 
are more difficult for a person under 60, except for the payment of 
$1.75 a person. And so if you go out to carry on registration drives to 
register people to vote, it is far more difficult to register them now 
than it was in the old davs. 

Senator Mondale. And registration is limited to daytime office 
hours. So these people who are working cannot go down to the 
tax office without losing a day's pay ? 

Dr. Garcia. That's right. You have to register every year before 
January 31. I believe we are one of the few States that requires an 
annual registration. Since a lot of people are migrants this is a great 
amount of trouble to the elderly, the poor migrants to go and register 
every year during their working hours. 

I think this is another subterfuge again to keep Mexican-Americans 
from enjoying all of the American democratic process. 

Senator Yarborough. Texas requires, Mr. Chairman, annual regis^ 
trations for every voter who desires to vote in any type of election 
whatsoever, local school board election, mayorality election, for city 
precinct election, county election, water district bond issue. State or 
National or any kind. Texas is the only State in the Union that requires 
annual registration for any kind of election in which you participate. 

We have knocked out the poll tax, but they fastened an antivoting 
measure around our necks in the place of it. 

Senator Mondale. Dr. Garcia, haven't some Mexican-Americans 
been elected to county boards in these areas ? 

Dr. Garcia. Yes, we have. For instance, last year, 1968, we have the 
first Mexican-American county commissioner elected out of our own 
county Nueces Coimty. In around Corpus Christi, there has been some 
progress made on the election of city and county officials. In some of 
these areas some progress has been made in the election of the repre- 
sentatives to the State legislature. 

And, of course, I was pointing this out in comparison with Cali- 
fornia, which has only one single Mexican-American legislator in 
California. I don't believe they have ever had a single Mexican- 
American elected statewide. I say yes, we are making some progress, 
slow as it may be. We could be making more progress if we could go 
to the Bario and put on a strong registration drive. 

Senator Mondale. Are there some Mexican-Americans who might 
be elected to county or State boards who really have joined the estab- 
lishment structure and are not helpful to the farmworker and to the 
migrant, even though they are Mexican- Americans ? 

Dr. Garcia. Yes, I would say generally speaking when you have a 
representative legislator who is Mexican-American from an area 
which is agricultural, he is of no help to us. In fact, he usually becomes 
a hindrance to the movement of people like ourselves who want to 
get improvements for the migrants. 

Senator Yarborough. He joins the country club ? 


Dr. Garcia. That is right. 

Senator Mondale. How do you explain it ? 

Dr. Garcia. I don't know. It is human nature. I will say I am unable 
to explain it. After a little while they only seek to speak for themselves. 
I don't know whether it is for personal selfish mterest or pressure 
from the establishment. I don't talk to such a person like this. Who 
nep-ates free )>oor. In Spanish we call them "coyotes"-coyotes ! 

Senator Yarborough. What does that mean ? 

Dr. Garcia. "Coyotes 'sneaky animals.' " 

Senator Yarborough. What is Tio Tomas ? 

Dr. Garcia. "Tio Tomas" is an Uncle Tom. We also have "dhaque- 
teros." That means "turncoats." "Coyote" is one who slinks around 
and he says, "Garcia so forth, you are my brother" and as you turn 
he stabs you in the back. A "chaquetero" means a "turncoat" w^ho says : 
"You put me there, but I was never really for the Mexican American. 
I am a self-made Mexican-American," which is an unusual person 
anyway. But as a doctor, I understand "that no one is exactly self- 

So we also have the "vendido" w^ho is a complete sell out, a man 
who sold out to the almighty "dollar." So you see, Senator, we have 
very expressive terms in Spanish for those people who have aban- 
doned the flock and sold out. 

Senator Yarborough. I will say that English is not nearly as ex- 
pressive in the use of political terms as Spanish which can apply to 
coyetes, vendidosi, chaqueteros, and so forth. 

Senator Mondale. It is your testimony that in the field of just 
enforcement of the laws, there is discrimination. 

Dr. Garcia. Definitely. 

Senator Mondale. In political participation there is discrimination. 
In the opportunity to participate in the economy of our Nation and 
to receive fair protection or security under the laws, there is dis- 
crimination. About the only activity where they fully participate 
is the Selective Service System in the drafting of our youth. 

Dr. Garcia. As the result of "discrimination" in the draft boards, 
we have been fighting this discrimination as early as 1947. In 1947 
I sent President Truman a telegram not to recognize the draft boards 
in the State of Texas because they were discriminating against Mexi- 
can Americans! 

Every 3 years or so we have it out with the selective ser\dce boards 
in the State of Texas. He says he is going to increase membership of 
Mexican Americans. He may increase members in one board but he 
creates another board and gives us only one member. So we go through 
continuous lack of adequate representation. I will give you a copy of 
this newspaper article showing Mexican American Vietnam casualties 
in south Texas. 

As soldiers we serve bravely. And that is not surprising, that is why 
I am so proud of being a Mexican American. Most of the casualties are 
marines. They are volunteers not draftees. I say without hesitation 
that the United States and Texas should be proud of those Mexican 
Americans. Because of their sacrifice they and their families deserve a 
betiter break in every way possible. They are not getting it in spite of 
their sacrifice. 


I think the Federal Government must intervene and give these 
people who are good, loyal citizens, hard working, and suffering, all of 
the benefits of the greatness, richness, and abundance. And, also, equal 
protection under the law. "We are victims of everything that is bad in 
our State : poverty, hunger, sickness, exploitation, et cetera. 

Senator Mondale. Is tliere evidence of discrimination by the selec- 
tive scvice boards, the local boards, in drawing too many Mexican 
Americans ? 

Dr. Garcia. Yes, I would say the end results speak for themselves. 
The fact is that we have an excessive number of Mexican-American 
casualties and also soldiers who serve. This is due to the lack of coimsel 
for servicemen of Mex'ican ancestry. Few Mexican- American counsel- 
ors or appeal agents are Spanish speaking. 

Wlio counsels the Mexican American ? Practically never a Mexican 
American. The draft board has a system of appeal. They never put 
Mexican Americans as appeal board members. The little people trust 
a few of us, not too many, unfortunately, but we do not serve as 
advisors or counselors in draft boards. 

We are not advocating that they do not serve. This would be a 
fallacy and failure, because our Mexican Americans are fighting men. 
But we say they should be entitled to all of the due process of the law 
under the draft board system ; we say that they have never been given 
the right to be informed of what is due process. In other words, they 
are taken, classified, sent for physical induction, and sent off to serve 
right away. No one tells them how to appeal. 

Senator Mondale, when mothers have to go to certain local draft 
boards, to ask for advice for their son, they are abused and mistreated 
as if they were criminal mothers protecting a criminal son. This is 
the feeling toward Mexican Americans by draft boards in Texas. We 
need more representation in every stage of draft board, whether it be 
clerks or draft board members, counselors, appeal agents, et cetera. 
Our people should be treated more humanely and decently, not as 

They are not. 

Senator Moxdale. You indicated 66 percent of Mexican Americans 
on the casualty lists ? 

Dr. Garcia. That is right, in south Texas, 66 percent. 

Senator Mondale. Would you say 66 percent of the draft board 
membership is Mexican American ? 

Dr. Garcia. No, sir : not by a long way. 

Senator Mondale. What percent do you think you have? 

Dr. Garcl\. I could submit the exact figures to you. Now I think it 
runs very, very low. We will submit it for the record. 

(The material follows:) 

Selective Service System, 
Washington, D.C., February 20, 1968. 
Mr. Vicente T. Ximenes, 

Chairman, Interagency Committee on Mexican American Affairs, 
Washington, B.C. 

Dear Mr. Ximenes : This acknowledges your letter of February 9, 1968, with 
reference to Spanish-American representation on Selective Service System 
local boards. 

The numbers referred to in my letter of January 26, 1968 relate to the 
number of Spanish-Americans serving as local board members in the states 

36-513 0— 70— pt. 4-B 3 


mentioned. Reports from the five southwestern states having a large Spanish- 
American population show the following : 



June 1967 January 1968 




New Mexico. 


New York... 













Recently, Colonel Johnson furnished to the State Director of Selective Service 
for California statistics showing the countries ha\'ing the heaviest concentration 
of Spanish^Americans. I have the assurance of the State Director that in any 
appointments to local boards in those counties, due consideration will be given 
to the predominate ethnic groups of the communities. 

I trust that the foregoing is helpful, and if I can be of further assistance, please 
let me know. 

Sincerely yours, 

Lewis B. Hekshet, 





Number of Total Mexican percent of State 

boards i members Americans Percent population 2 





New Mexico. 


























1 Number of boards based on report of the National Advisory Commission on Selective Service, table 5.1. Total number 
of members for each State provided by the Selective Service System. Total number of Mexican Americans for each State 
provided by the Selective Service System. 

2 Population figures based on 1960 census. 

[From the Corpus Christi Caller-OMmes, Nov. 11, 1968] 

In Memoei;a.m 

The servicemen of South Texas who have given their lives in Vietnam in the 
defense of freedom follows : 

Sgt. Faybert Ray Bradshaw, Corpus 

Lt. Cmdr. James T. Kearns, Corpus 

Chief WO Joe T. Welborn, Corpus 

Pfc. Ruben G. Chavez, Robstown 
Capt. Robert W. Wranosky, Flour Bluff 
Cpl. William A. Jennings III, Corpus 

Pfc. Reynaldo Cavazos, Corpus Christi 
Sgt. John H. Eaglin, Corpus Christi 
Cpl. Miguel Garcia, Jr., Corpus Christi 
Spec. 4 William R. Mindach, Corpus 

EN2 Jerry Phillips, Corpus Christi 

Pfc. Charles E. McGarvey, Corpus 

Sgt. Benito Perez, Corpus Christi 
Cpl. Raul F. Flores, Corpus Christi 
Sgt. Ernest B. Amador, Corpus Christi 
Pfc. Dwight King Satterwhite, Corpus 

Pfc. Alfredo Castanon, Corpus Christi 
SA Daniel Godinez, Corpus Christi 
DC2 John D. Chuter, Corpus Christi 
Pfc. Gary Till, Corpus Christi 
Ensign Darwin J. Thomas, Corpus 

Sgt. Joe L. Ronje, Corpus Christi 
MRC Willy Scott Baker, Corpus Christi 
Sgt. Antonio Abel Soils, Corpus Christi 


S. Sgt. Julius Greathouse, Jr., Corpus 

Cpl. Alfredo J. Saenz, Corpus Christi 
Capt. Gary Hobbs, Corpus Christi 
Spec. 4 Pedro I. Garcia, Corpus Christi 
Spec. 4 Evaristo Vilano, Corpus Christi 
2nd. Lt. Maxim C. Parker, Corpus 

Pfc. Frank Garza, Corpus Christi 
Cpl. David Keith Moneachi, Corpus 

Pfc. Benito R. Gonzales, Bishop 
Pfc. Leonardo Leos, Corpus Christi 
Cpl. Ted Newcity, Corpus Christi 
Special Forces Ben Garza III, Corpus 

Cpl. Desiderio C. Laurel, Jr., Corpus 

Cpl. Jesus Yanez, Jr., Corpus Christi 
Cpl. Lonnie J. Ducote, Jr., Corpus 

Spec. 4 Cary Paul Queen, Corpus 

Cpl. Richard Guerrero, Jr., Corpus 

Cpl. Juan A. Rodriguez, Corpus Christi 
Pfc. Sanders K. Stroud II, Corpus 

Pfc. Robert Ochoa, Corpus Christi 
Spec. 4 Jose Ramos, Jr., Corpus Christi 
S. Sgt. William Poston, Corpus Christi 
2nd Lt. Robert I. Terry, III, Corpus 

Cpl. Michael Eugene Vaught, Corpus 

Spec. 4 Ignacio Alvarez, Corpus Christi 
Sgt. I.e. Raul Ruben Lamas, Corpus 

HM2 Alvin Lewis Raper, Corpus Christi 
Pfc. Faustino A. Trevino, Corpus 

Spec. 4 Gary D. Fortner, Corpus Christi 
Sgt. Ronald E. Johns, Corpus Christi 
Spec. 4 Jose G. Cortez, Corpus Christi 
Cpl. Samuel Reyna, Corpus Christi 
Pfc. David Caballero, Corpus Christi 
Pfc. Adolfo M. Perez, Corpus Christi 
WO Jesse Leroy Samford, Corpus 

Pfc. Jam^s L. Hammons, Corpus Christi 
Cpl. Tom M. Boyd, III, Corpus Christi 
Pfc. Paul G. Alaniz, Jr., Corpus Christi 
Spec. 4 Daniel E. Jurecko, Corpus 

Pfc. Marcello C. Garza, Jr., Corpus 

Pfc. George Guerra, Corpus Christi 
Cpl. Rolando Hernandez, Corpus 

Cpl. Serveriano Amador, Corpus Christi 
Pfc. Donald Krussow, Corpus Christi 
Cpl. Sam Reyna, Corpus Christi 
MCpl Robert Mendez, Corpus Christi 
Spec. 4 Sidney M. ConoUy, Jr., Corpus 


Cpl. Roger Lee Stroud, Corpus Christi 
Sgt. Rudolfo Perez, Corpus Christi 
1st. Lt. John E. Russell, Corpus Christi 
Pfc. Loyde H. Simpson, Corpus Christi 
1st. Lt. James Neeley, Corpus Christi 
Sgt. Robert S. Roberson, Jr., Corpus 

Lt. Douglas Cavin, Corpus Christi 
Pfc. Jose A. Hinojosa, Rio Grande City 
Pfc. Jimmy Michael Trollinger, Port 

Sgt. Patricio Maldonado, Falfurrias 
Cpl. Margarito Garza, Bishop 
S. Sgt. Jesus Gonzalez, Robstov(:n 
Capt. Heriberto Garcia, Laredo 
Capt. James C. Caston, Weslaco 
2nd. Lt. George Gutierrez, Jr., Har- 

Cpl. Jose Luis Caballero, Harlingen 
Pfc. Reynaldo Amador, Weslaco 
Spec. 4 Fortunato Luna, Alice 
Pfc. Richard G. Crossland, San Juan 
Cpl. Robert Perez, Weslaco 
Pfc. Adan M. Olvera, Alice 
Pfc. Jose Torres, Sinton 
Pfc. Marie Ybarra, Weslaco 
Pfc. Joel Rodriguez, Rio Grande City 
Spec. 4 Isidro Martinez, Mercedes 
Pfc. Feliberto Villa, Ingleside 
Spec. 4 James L. Slade, Jr., Cuero 
Pfc. Julian G. Cordero, Harlingen 
Sgt. Carlos S. Gonzalez, Mission 
S. Sgt. Kenneth Eugene Helms, Har- 
Sgt. Hermando S. Moya, Refugio 
Sgt. Vicente Q. Rodriguez, Pharr 
Bobby Swindell, McAUen-Edinburg 
Cpl. Robert Arnold Cockill, San Benito 
S. Sgt. Glen Dorse Lofton, Lyford 
Spec. 4 Roberto Rocha, Jr., Brownsville 
A.2.C. Larry E. Washburn, Donna 
Pfc. Antonio Morado, San Berito 
Pfc. Arthur J. Russell, Mercedes 
1st. Lt. J. J. Johnson, Falfurrias 
Cpl. Alberto Avalos, Brownsville 
Pfc. Elizar E. Garza, Pila Blanca 
Cpl. Homero V. Tijerina, Edinburg 
Pfc. Jesse E. Herrera, Cuero 
Sgt. Roberta H. Butler, Jr., Brownsville 
S. Sgt. Wilberto C. Sanchez, San Benito 
Pfc. Pedro Martinez, Mercedes 
S. Sgt. Nortis Leon Haynes, Sinton 
Pvt. Sibano Morin, Kenedy 
Pfc. Francisco Moreno, Harlingen 
Sgt. Noe Magallan, Mission 
Sgt. E6 Sam Webster Dailey, Weslaco 
S. Sgt. Oscar Garcia, Falfurrias 
Spec. 4 Rodolfo G. Gonzales, Laredo 
Cpl. Rodolfo M. Gonzales, Harlingen 
M. Sgt. Walter Dietz, Laredo 
Lt. Col. James E. Webb, Odem 
Spec. 4 Adrian J. Ibrom, Yorktown 
Spec. 4 Frederico Perez, San Diego 
Spec. 4 Alejandro Garcia, Jr., Laredo 
Capt. Winston Peeples, Alice 


Spec. 4 Raymond F. Demory, Aransas 

Pfc. James A. Angermiller, Corpus 

Pfc. Arturo Rodriguez, McAllen 
Sgt. Ruben L. Rocha, Agua Dulce 
Pfc. Benito V. Alaniz, Brown.sville 
1st Sgt. C. A. Brown, Bloomington 
Pfc. Francisco Garcia, Brownsville 
Pfc. Jose R. Lozano, Weslaco 
Pvt. Louis W. Terrell, Victoria 
Spec. 4 Daniel F. Perez, Jr., Mathis 
Spec. 4 Richard P. Cruz, Freer 
Pfc. Jose B. Tijerina, McAllen 
Pfc. Joe A. Sauceda, Raymondville 
Pvt. Hijinio Oviedo, Raymondville 
Sgt. Vincente D. Sandoval, Lozano 
Pfc. Jose M. Flores, Harlingen 
Cpl. Javier Becerra, Weslaco 
Spec. 4 Amador L. Gonzalez, San Diego 
S. Sgt. Javier Arturo Sanchez, Laredo 
Cpl. Martin Cavazos, Sebastian 
Cpl. Jose M. Gomez, Edinburg 
Spec. 4 Raul Villa, Laredo 
S. Sgt. Jose A. Rosas, Weslaco 
Spec. 4 Robert L. Salinas, Pettus 
Pfc. Rodolfo Andres Sqenz, Mercedes 
Pfc. Eduardo J. Gonzales, Sinton 
Cpl. Joe Moya, Bloomington 
Pfc. Jorge Sosa, Laredo 
Pfc. Juan Jose Gonzalez, Laredo 
Pfc. Gilberto Barrera, Alice 
Sgt. Louie Don Briscoe, Jr., 

Aransas Pass 
A.2.C. Dwight Ward, Portland 
Spec. 4 Eugenio Rodriguez, Mercedes 
Daniel G. Cavazos, Gregory 
Pvt. Juan Valenzuela, Jr., McAllen 
Sgt. Billy W. Piatt, Port Lavaca 
Cpl. Walter M. Lankford, Jr., Mission 
Cpl. Guadalupe M. Alvarez, Donna 
Capt. Edward L. Goucher, Laredo 
Cpl. Thomas J. Pesek, Jourdanton 
Pfc. Woodrow C. Cronkite, Weslaco 
Sgt. Richard P. Ruiz, Victoria 
Cpl. Don C. Thompson, Jr., Beeville 
Pfc. Anthony Perez, Brownsville 
Pfc. Arturo Garcia, Mercedes 
1st Lt. Gregory C. Nuckles, Harlingen 
2nd Lt. Edward E. Harson, Jr., Victoria 
Spec. 4 Francis L. Maples, La Feria 
Sgt. Guadalupe Martinez, Laredo 
Sgt. Ignacio Torres, Jr., Laredo 
Sgt. Ramon Hernandez Torres, 

Aransas Pass 
S. Sgt. Henry R. Garcia, Rockport 
Sgt. Homero Perez, Laredo 
Spec. 4 Johnny Villarreal, Victoria 
Spec. 4 Rodolfo Trevino, Alice 
Pfc. Angel Vega, Woodsboro 
Pfc. James Lee Scherer, Victoria 
Cpl. Arnoldo L. Carrillo, Benavides 
Pvt. Victor E.spinoza, Jr., Edinburg 
Lt. (j.g.) Warren W. Boles, Beeville 

Spec. 4 Thomas H. Swinnea, Jr., 

Maj. Robert E. Forshey, Laredo 
Sgt. Alfredo Cantu Gonzales, Edinburg 
Pvt. Alfredo R. Medina, Jr., Rockport 
Cpl. Nolan L. Simmons, Edinburg 
Sgt. Aurelio R. Ramon, Jr., Edroy 
Pfc. John A. Smith, Aransas Pass 
Sgt. Vitalio Vela, Jr., Falfurrias 
Pfc. Wilton J. Sullinger, Jr., 

Aransas Pass 
Spec. 4 Clarence Maas, Victoria 
S. Sgt. Leonel Buentello, Gregory 
Cpl. Ramiro Cardenas, McAllen 
S. Sgt. Joe D. Dunn, Weslaco 
Spec. 4 Ramon S. Hernandez, 

Pfc. Juan Flores, Jr., Laredo 
Spec. 4 Harold R. Reeves, Mercedes 
S. Sgt. Carlos V. Trevino, McAllen 
Spec. 4 Jose S. Montemayor, Odem 
Pvt. Domingo Rodriguez, Jr., 

Pfc. Gary Lane Barnum, Rockport 
Sgt. Abelardo Vera, Brownsville 
Pfc. Carl E. Garza, Goliad County 
Spec. 4 Rodolfo Villafronco, 

San Benito 
Spec. 4 Extrumberto Soils, Elsa 
Pfc. Rafael Martinez, Edinburg 
Pfc. Pablo D. Sanchez, Taft 
Sgt. S. Garza, Laredo 
Cpl. Reynaldo N. Orozco, Sinton 
Cpl. Marvin L. Votaw, Beeville 
Spec. 4 Atanacio Gomez, Jr., 

Maj. Albert G. Maroscher, McAllen 
Sgt Howard Chester AVilliams, Jr.. 

Spec. 4 Casimiro Rodriguez, Jr., 

Pfc. Thomas Gonzales, Beeville 
Cpl. Donald Ray Allen, Arroyo City 
Sgt. Domingo R. Gonzales, Sinton 
Pfc. James P. Clarke, Premont 
Lt. Jack Whetsel, Jr., McAllen 
Cpl. Israel Perez, Brownsville 
Pfc. Julian Soliz, Victoria 
Spec. 4 Miguel A. L. Ruvalcava, 

S. Sgt. Oscar C. Gallegos, Alice 
Spec. 5 Sigifredo Montalvo, Jr., 

San Benito 
Pfc. Filiberto Chavez, Benavides 
Pfc. Alberto Perez, San Benito 
Pfc. Jesus Mejia, Brownsville 
Sgt. Jesse C. Alba. Port Lavaca 
WO Pedro J. Caudillo, Laredo 
Pfc. Andres A. Gonzalez. Mercedes 
Pfc. Paul G. Alaniz, Jr.. Benavides 
Spec. 4 Jorge Ramiro Soza, McAllen 
Spec. 4 Reynaldo Torres, Jr., Laredo 
Pfc. John V. Akin, Rockport 
Cpl. Rito Silva, Alice 


Spec. 4 Marcus Hinojosa, Hebbronville Pfc. George E. Perdue, Victoria 

WO Ross O. Barlow, San Benito Capt. Wilburn C. Gideon, George West 

Pfc. Guadalupe Lerma, Edcouch Pfc. Elias Salazar, Jr., Harlingen 

Pfc. Jesus R. Perez, Kingsville Pfc. Gilberto Mendez Molina, 

Pfc. Jesus Martinez, Mission Harlingen 

Cpl. John H. Baker, Beeville 2nd Lt. Harold C. Dailey II, McAllen 

Cpl. Antonia Hernandez, San Benito Spec. 4 Leonides Rodriguez, Woodsboro 

Spec. 5 George Soliz, Kenedy Cpl. Hector M. Gonzalez, Premont 

Cpl. Rafael Avila, Skidmore Pfc. Roberto Escobedo, Sinton 

Spec. 4 Ramiro L. Salinas, Brownsville ^^^ Santiago B. Adames, Jr., Victoria 

Sgt. Willard O Pack, Alice g g ^ ^^,^^ j^ Milstead, Harlingen 

Sgt. Antonio Vargis Garcia, Kmgsville ,, cT 4. » ^ • tj t • at 

Cpl. Lupe Monsebais, Mathis ^^- ^St. Antonio B. Jaime, Alice 

Spec. 4 Duane A. Johnson, Kerrville P^^. Antonio Garcia, Laredo 

S. Sgt. Augustus L. Williams, Sgt. Eristeo Gutierrez, Jr., Mathis 

George West Pfc. Adolfo M. Bejarano, Port Isabel 

Pfc. Arthur S. Zamora, Mathis Pfc. Wayne C. Elledge, Kingsville 

Mexican American 182 

Total 278 

Percent Mexican American 66 

This honor roll was compiled from resources available to The Caller-Times. We 
have attempted to include the name of every serviceman from South Texas killed 
in Vietnam. If any names has been omitted we regret that omission. 


"Duty, Honor, Country ; those three hallowed words reverently dictate what 
you want to be. what you can be, and what you will be. They are your rallying 
point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there 
seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope w^hen hope becomes forlorn. 

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flambouyant 
phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every 
troublemaker, and I am sorry to say, some others of entirely different character, 
will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule. 

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American men-at-arms. 
My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many many years ago, and 
has never changed. I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures — not 
only as one of the finest military characters but also as one of the most stainless. 

His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth 
and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs 
no eulogy from me or from any other man. He has written his own history in the 
red on his enemy's breast. 

But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, 
and his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot 
put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples 
of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the Instructor of future 
generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present — 
to us — by his virtues and achievements. 

In 20 campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand eampfires, I 
have witnessed the enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that 
invincible determination Which has carved his statue in the hearts of his people. 

From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of 
courage ... I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory 
of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, 
and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. 

Always for them : duty, honor, country. Always their blood, and sweat and 
tears, as we saw the way and the light and the truth ... on the other side of 
the globe, again the filth of dirty foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the 
slime of dripping dugouts, those boiling suns of relentless heat, those torrential 
rains of deva.stating storms, the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, 
the bitterness of long separation from those they loved and cherished, the deadly 
pestilence of tropical disease, the horror of stricken areas of war. 

Their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their in- 


domitabl6 purpose, . . . always victory, always through the bloody haze of their 
last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt ghastly men, reverently following 
your password of duty, honor, country. 

The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of 
religious training — sacrifice. 

In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine 
attributes which his maker gave when he created man in his own image. 

No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of divine help, 
which alone can sustain him. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the 
soldier who is called upon to offer and give his life for his country is the noblest 
development of mankind . . . The long, gray line has never failed us. Were you 
to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would 
rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words : duty, honor, coun- 
try." — Taken from Greneral Douglas MacArthur's farewell speech to the graduat- 
ing cadets at West Point, May 12, 1962. 

Dr. Garcia. Let me give you my county. When I got out of World 
War II and organized this group of veterans "American GI Forum" 
our county who now has 52 percent Mexican Americans had no Mexi- 
can American board members. After our protest in 1946 then they 
placed one Mexican American on the draft board. Today in 1969 we 
have only two. The rest of the State is worse. 

But this is still a continuous hassle and fight. And I would say that 
even today Mexican Americans in San Antonio have protested their 
underrepresentation in draft boards. The exception is the extreme 
south Texas areas, where are 80 percent of the people. All of the other 
parts of the State discriminate against us on proportionate representa- 
tion on draft boards, counsellors, and so forth. 

Senator Moxdale. Dr. Garcia, I am sorry we don't have 'more time. 
We have two witnesses and the second one must be done by 11 :30 be- 
cause we have an executive session of the full Senate then. 

Senator Yar'boroug'h ? 

Senator Yarborough. We have more Mexican Americans in Texas 
percentagewise than any other State in the Union. We have 37.9 per- 
cent of Mexican Americans in the Nation ; 40 percent of the total are 
in California, but they have 20 million population. We have 11 million. 

Dr. Garcia, let me ask you this question. We passed a law here in 
1966, 'minimum wage law, that brought farm labor under minimum 
wage law for the first time in history. If a farmer had over seven em- 
ployees for one quarter out of the year, he became subject to that law. 

Under that ^minimum law now minimum wages have been up to $1.30 
an hour. That is very much higher than farm wages being paid in 
south Texas prior to passage of the minimum wage law ; was it not ? 

Dr. Garcia. Yes, sir. 

'Senator Yarborough. What effect has it had on the workers ? 

Dr. Gargia. Talking about minimium wage, I dont think it is apply- 
ing to too many Mexican farmworkers actually. 

Senator Yarborough. That farm over in Starr County, where they 
had the strike, had hundreds of employees. Some of those Starr 
County farms had hundreds of employees. 

Dr. Garcia. In that case, definitely it does apply. It helps a lot, but 
I think there is lack of information of who gets coverage under the 
law. Who points out to the farm workers that they have coverage 
under the Federal law ? I think the law is a wonderful thing but people 
don't know about it. 


Senator Yarborough. Are you saying the Labor Department is not 
enforcing the law there? 

Dr. Garcia. I would say definitely yes, they are not completely 
enforcing the law. 

Senator Yarborough. A lot of the farms are big farms and there 
are not too many little operators in irrigation ; are there? 

Dr. Garcia. That's right. I constantly have to request the investiga- 
tion from Wage and Hour Department in Corpus Christi for farm- 
workers, industrial workers, hospital workers, and so forth. 

Senator Yarborough. We have brought under the protection of 
that law for the first time in history workers in hotel, motel, cafe- 
terias, laundries, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, and those facil- 
ities under the protection. Is that law enforced in Corpus Christi ? 

Corpus Christi was one of the areas we cited in passing the law. 
Whatever the size of the laundry, however small, you say tliat is not 
being enforced in Corpus Christi ? 

Dr. Garcia. The law is there. Who knows about the law? The only 
way to find out is for somebody to complain to me. Let's see what hap- 
pens, for instance, to the equal employment opportunity and legal de- 
fense fund. 

You can't announce on the radio and newspaper or television that 
there is a legal defense fund free and accessible. They won't allow it. 
Officers of those agencies will come over here and discuss the law but 
no radio or TV publicity is allowed. So the same thing applies to the 
Federal laws. It is a wonderful instrument when it is enforced after 
somebody complains. But the enforcers the Department of Wage and 
Hour Division and although good honorable men, are not properly 
staffed. They don't have enough people working to enforce this law 

It is the person who complains who gets attention. 

Senator Yarborough. You are on the Civil Rights Commission. If 
you complain to the Wage and Hour Division, will they go and look 
into it? 

Dr. Garcia. Yes ; they are very good people as far as checking out 
a complaint. 

Senator Mondale. We have had several complaints that Wage and 
Hour enforcement officers want employees themselves to file the com- 
plaint by name. But employees are often afraid to do so, because they 
think they will lose their jobs if they complain. So many times, since 
he won't file the complaint, the Wage and Hour officers say they can't 
go ahead with the complaint. Is that correct ? 

Dr. Garcia. We are talking about two things here. The Equal Em- 
ployment Opportunity Cominiission, even though they find an agency 
or plant or industry who does not properly comply, they cannot 
enforce their findings so the plaintiff himself has to file his case in a 
court. But I think under Federal wage and hour law, the Wage and 
Hour Division will investigate the case and usually they get results 
easier. However, they may themselves have to take their case to court 
to get results. 

Senator Yarborough. In the interest of time, Mr, Chairman, I will 
not ask further questions. We hope since Texas had no minimum wage 
law at that time, that bringing Texas under the protecting folds of 


the minimum wage law of 1966, 9 million new workers was the 
broadest expansion of minimum wage law since the first one was passed 
in 1939. 

"We hope it will alleviate the situation in many conditions of em- 
ployment, which included school cafeterias. Texas is one of those 
States whose attorney general filed a suit to say it was unconstitutional 
to pay minimum wages in State institutions and they went to court 
and filed a suit and lost it, so the law is applicable to all cafeterias 
and so forth. 

Is that being enforced in the school cafeterias? 

Dr. Garcia. Yes, sir. And in the larger hospitals like the county 
hospital. The private nursing homes are fighting it. 

Senator Yarborough. Of course, little establishments are exempt 
such as laundries. A nursing home is small enough so that it won't 

Dr. Garcia. We still have complaints coming in on that point and 
we submit it to the Wage and House Division. 

Senator Yarborough. Thank you. 

Senator Mondale. Thank you very much, Dr. Garcia, for your 
strong, eloquent, and authoritative contribution to our hearing record. 

We will print your full statement, together with all the attachments 
at this point in the hearing record. 

(The material referred to follows:) 

Prepaked Statement of Hon. Hector P. Garcia, Commissioner, U.S. Commission 

ON Civil Rights 

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee : My name is Hector P. 
Garcia and I am a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In my private 
capacity I am a physician in Corpus Christi, Texas. I appreciate the opportunity 
to speak to you about certain issues of concern to Mexican Americans in the rural 
areas and small towns of the Southwestern states. 

Since the fall of 1967, the Commission has been studying the administration 
of justice in the Southwest particularly as it effects Mexican Americans. This 
study, now nearly completed, has examined the extent to which Mexican Ameri- 
cans are subject to discriminatory treatment by law enforcement oflScers, ex- 
cluded from jury service, denied equal access to bail and adequate counsel, and 
employed in disproportionately low numbers in law enforcement agencies. 

In the course of this study. Commission staff attorneys conducted investiga- 
tions in the latter part of 1967 and in 1968, interviewing approximately 450 per- 
sons in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. Persons 
interviewed included private citizens, law enforcement officers, probation oflScers, 
prosecuting attorneys, judges, public defenders, attorneys in private practice, 
and leaders of Mexican American organizations. Two meetings of Commission 
State Advisory Committees were held in New Mexico and one in California in 
1968 specifically to gather information for this study. Questionnaires were mailed 
to nearly 800 law enforecement agencies in the Southwestern states. Finally, the 
Commission lield a hearing in San Antonio, Texas in December 1968 which dealt 
exclusix'etly with the problems of Mexican Americans. 

A report based on this study and these hearings will be released shortly. 
Although the Commission's research has not focused only on migrant farm 
workers, much of the information obtained relates to the rural areas in which 
may migrants live and work and a number of incidents and situations reported 
to the Commission staff specifically involve migrants. 

I .should like to summarize for you some of the problems encounterefl in our 
investigation : 


The most serious issue encountered in the course of the Commission's study 
is harassment and abuse of Mexican Americans by law enforcement officers. Sucii 


conduct ranges from unjustified arrests to insults, threats and, not infrequently, 
physical assaults. It has also been found that under existing procedures it is 
almost impossible for an individual to obtain redress or compensation for such 

In general, in rural areas allegations of police misconduct were commonplace. 
For example, Mr. Natividad Fuentes, a longtime resident of Uvalde, Texas, 
told a Commission staff member that in January 1968, he and his wife were 
returning to their home from a visit Avith friends in a nearby town. Because 
of ice on the highway, Mr. Fuentes' car slid into a ditch just outside the city 
limits of Uvalde. Shortly thereafter two State Highway Patrolmen came" to 

Instead of assisting Mr. Fuentes, who is a small man — only 5 feet 3 inches 
tall, and weighing about 150 iK>und.s — one of the Highway Patrolmen jerked 
him out of the car and hit him over the head with a blackjack, fracturing his 
skull. The FBI investigated this case, but no violation of Federal law was found 
by the Department of Justice. Although the Commission staff does not know the 
basis for this finding, it had some evidence concerning the inadequacy of the FBI 
investigation of this case. According to the victim, he was not interviewed. The 
Commission on Civil Rights transmitted its investigative report to the Depart- 
ment of Justice with a request that the case be looked into further. The Justice 
Department at the Commmission's urging did take further action, including the 
filing of an information and later an attempted indictment against one of the 
highway patrolmen, but the Federal grand jury refused to indict and the Justice 
Department dropped the case. It is our understanding that as of this spring, 
Mr. Fuentes — ^who, incidentally, had no prior arrest record whatsoever — not even 
a traflic violation — still suffers from dizzy spells as a result of his injuries and 
has been unable to return to his full-time work for a construction contractor. 

Testimony at the Commission's San Antonio hearing indicated that assaults 
on Mexican Americans by law enforcement ofiicials in South Texas often go 
unpunished. According to one witness, in 1965 a Mexican American resident of 
a small town in South Texas, who got into an altercation with a sheriff, was 
beaten on the head with a pistol butt by the sheriff and a local justice of the 
peace. Neither local nor Federal action was taken against these oflBcials. Accord- 
ing to other witnesses, in June 1968, two women were assaulted by a highway 
patrolman in Pecos, Texas. The case against the highway patrolman was pre- 
sented to the local grand jury but no indictment was issued. 

The Commission .«taff heard several allegations that Mexican American and 
Anglo juveniles are not treated equally, that Mexican American youths who com- 
mitted the same offense as Anglo youths were more severely punished. The for- 
mer chief of police of Las Vegas, New Mexico, told the Commission's State 
Advisory Committee that during his period of service between 1962-1966, there 
were two troublemaking gangs, one Anglo and the other Mexican American, in 
his community. For the same misconduct, the local officials proposed to charge 
the Mexican American youths with criminal offenses and to punish the Anglo 
youths by susijending some of their school privileges. When the chief insisted 
that all the offenders be given the same treatment, the matter was dropped. 

It is very difficult to obtain a remedy against police abuse in small towns. 
Procedures are quite informal and usually complaints are handled by the chief 
of police personally. In small departments he may be working too closely with 
his men to be able to consider complaints against them objectively. In some 
cases, Mexican Americans are afraid to complain about police abuse because 
of fear of retaliation. Soon after Mr. Fuentes, whose case was previously de- 
scribed, complained to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the officers 
involved in his beating, new charges of speeding were filed against him by local 
law enforcement officers, in retaliation, he believes, for his action in filing a 

The training and recruitment problems of small town police forces may also 
lead to violations of the rights of Mexican Americans. The superintendent of a 
sheriff's office in New Mexico stated that his office was understaffed and the men's 
pay "embarrassingly" low — $325 per month for a depiity sheriff. Law enforcement 
agencies in the Southwest in cities under 10,000 responding to the Commission 
questionnaire indicated that 47 percent of the agencies did not have any formal 
training for officers joining their departments.- The result is likely to be poorly 
trained law enforcement i>ersonnel. Moreover, the resources of such agencies 
are severely strained by the seasonal influx of migrants, perhaps resulting in 
hostility by officers towards migrant workers. 



Rural police oflSeers who were interviewed indicated that they looked on 
migrants as troublemakers. One police chief in a rural area referred to them as 
"tramps". In another area, the police used arrests to discourage migrants from 
coming into town from the local migrant camp. 

Employees of the Colorado Migrant Council — an organization established to 
assist migrants — were also harassed. In 1967 an armed farmer threatened 
to kill a council employee who had tried to intercede for some migrant workers 
with whom the farmer was having a dispute. Although the employee complained 
to the local police, they refused to bring charges. In another incident, in Denver, 
four migrant laborers and an employee of the Migrant Council were arrested 
on a charge of assault, which they claimed was One of the men has trouble 
putting his hand down flat because of an injury. As a result of his disability, he 
was not able to roll his hand properly for fingerprinting. Commission investiga- 
tors were told that a Denver police oflScer smashed him across the knuckles with 
his night stick in order to make him flatten his hand out for fingerprinting. In 
addition, the representative of the Colorado Migrant Council who was arrested 
with the four laborers was questioned by Denver police oflScers who reportedly 
asked him, "What are you doing with these Mexicans?" 

In urban areas, Mexican Americans complained of dragnet stop-and-frisk prac- 
tices by law enforcement oflBcers — -where members of a group are indiscriminately 
stopped and searched, instead of stopping only those against whom a reasonable 
suspicion of criminal violation exists. The rural equivalent of this complaint 
concerns the practice of law enforcement officials of enforcing immigration laws 
in border areas by stopping Mexican Americans indiscriminately as "wetbacks" 
and asking them to show their papers. Several instances are reported in which 
such persons were arrested and jailed, then released several hours later. 

On the other hand, migrants found it difficult to obtain police protection when 
they needed it Commission staff heard allegations that local law enforcement 
officers would not conduct adequate investigations into crimes where migrant 
workers were the victims, and that law enforcement is generally lax around 
migrant labor camps. The situation during the summer of 1967 at the labor camp 
near Fort Lupton, Colorado is a good example. The town line has been drawn 
so that the labor camp is just outside the city limits and local police services 
are not available to the residents of the camp. If the need for police protection 
arises they have to call the Weld County Sheriff's Department in Greeley. Colo- 
rado, over 25 miles away. Consequently, law enforcement protection in the camp 
is nonexistent. 


The Commission also received information concerning difficulties of Mexican 
American farm workers in labor union organization and union-management con- 
flicts. This Subcommittee is familiar with the events of 1967 in Starr County, 
Texas, where the Texas Rangers were sent in upon the request of local officials 
when the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee attempted to organize 
the farm workers in that area and to strike against some growers. In May, 1967 
the Texas State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil 
Rights held meetings and after hearing testimony found that the Texas Rangers 
and local law enforcement officials had harassed members of the Farm Workers 
Committee through physical and verbal abuse and the holding of union organizers 
in jail for many hours before they were released on bond. The Committee also 
found that the Texas Rangers had encouraged form workers to cross picket lines, 
and that the harassment and intimidation by Rangers of members, organizers, and 
sympathizers of the Farm Workers Committee gave the appearance that the 
Rangers and local law enforcement officials were in sympathy with the growers 
and packers rather than being impartial guardians of the law. Testimony from 
several witnesses at the Commission's hearing in San Antonio supported the 
findings of the Advisory Committee. State law enforcement officials denied the 
allegations and maintained that they had acted impartially throughout the events 
in Starr County. 

Concerning an eight-month strike by Mexican American farm workers at a 
floral farm in Colorado, in February of this year I, personally, interviewed .sev- 
eral of the women involved in the strike and received complaints from them 
concerning the conduct of local law enforcement officials. These women alleged 


that complaints from the struck farmer and his employees against the strikers 
and their sympathizers were welcomed by local law enforcement oflBcials, while 
complaints by the striking workers were ignored or were improperly handled 
and poorly investigated. In addition, local ranchers were deputized to help local 
law enforcement officials handle the strike, and it was alleged that excessive 
force was used against those strikers who did engage in misconduct. In February 
1969 after a local court enjoined pickets from blocking the main gateway to the 
struck farm, five of the Mexican American women leading the strike wrapped 
themselves in a 25 foot chain and fastened it across the main entrance. An em- 
ployee of the farm cut the chain from the gate, but the women remained snarled 
in it. Then without a word of warning, a sheriff's deputy approached the women 
from behind and spread a layer of tear gas over them. An early morning fog 
caused the gas to hang in the air around them, and they fell to the ground unable 
to escape because of the weight of the chain and their inability to coordinate 
their movements. Other picketers, who were standing nearby, dragged the helpless 
women out of the cloud of gas. 

Although the Commission staff did not specifically investigate the situation 
in Delano, California, it has received information alleging that the United Farm 
Workers Organizing Committee has received very little cooperation or pro- 
tection from local law enforcement oflBcials when strikers and their supporters 
were harassed by local grape growers and their employees. 

A basic thread runs through all these situations — State and local law enforce- 
ment officials have acted in a manner designed to aid the farmers and growers 
and often have interfered with legitimate attempts by union officials and others 
to organize and strike. 


Since most migrant workers and their families have small incomes, it is 
particularly diflScult for them to obtain private counsel in either civil or criminal 
cases. Nor can they afford bail and often must remain in jail until they are 
tried, thus jeopardizing their defense and seriously interfering with their family 
life and employment. 

In serious criminal cases counsel must be appointed for indigent defendants. 
However, the Commission staff heard many complaints that attorneys appointed 
for indigent Mexican American defendants were inexperienced or unfriendly 
toward their clients and often tried as a matter of course to bargain for a light 
sentence in return for a plea of guilty rather than adequately and fully repre- 
sent them. 

In some areas there are few if any attorneys available at all. In primarily 
rural Sandoval County, north of Albuquerque, New Mexico, there was only one 
lawyer in the entire county, the Director of the Legal Services Program ; she 
was not able to represent indigents in criminal matters because of the pro- 
hibition contained in the 1967 amendments to the Economic Opportunity Act. 

In many rural areas Commission investigators learned that local attorneys 
were reluctant to handle cases for Mexican Americans because they did not 
pay well enough, or because they were "controversial" and might offend an 
attorney's other clients. At the same time there are many areas in the South- 
west with large concentrations of Mexican Americans that do not have federally 
funded legal services programs to handle civil matters for indigents. There are 
very few Mexican American attorneys practicing law in the Southwest — only 2 
percent — and the majority of them are in the large urban areas rather than 
in rural communities. 

The Commission also heard complaints that the system of bail was used 
improperly against Mexican Americans. There was testimony that excessive 
bail and unnecessary bail requirements were used by local law enforcement 
officials to harass union organizers and their supporters in Starr County in 1967. 
Commission staff learned that in some rural communities oflBcials purposely 
confused Mexican American defendants to make them think that the hearing to 
set bail was the trial, so defendants would not appear later for trial, thus for- 
feiting bail and automatically establishing a criminal record. In one community 
in northern Colorado migrant workers were arrested and charged with drunken- 
ness. They then were released on $75 bail, but trial was set for over two months 
later, long after they would have left the community to go to work elsewhere. 
Thus, they were forced to forfeit their bail if they moved on to farm work 


In the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado, Commission staff members, 
investigated allegations that the misuse of bail and fines by local authorities 
had resulted in a situation resembling peonage or involuntary servitude. They 
were told that during the harvest season local farmers went to the jails in 
several of the small towns on Monday mornings and inquired about the number 
of Mexican American farm workers arrested Over the weekend. The farmers 
selected the best workers and paid their fines or posted their bail. Then the 
men were rele^sd in the custody of the farmer and required to repay the money 
by working for the farmer. In one community the men were told by the police 
magistrate that if they did not remain on the farm and work off the amount 
they owed to the farmer they would be returned to jail. fThe same magistrate 
sometimes would give the farmer a "discount" : if, for example, the fine or bail 
were set at $40, he would require the farmer to pay only $2.j, but would tell 
the worker that he owed the farmer $40 worth of labor. Interviews by Com- 
mission members with officials in several communities established that the prac- 
tice of local farmers paying fines or posting bail for Mexican American workers 
was common. 


Language disability is a problem for many Mexican Americans, and for ix>orly 
educated migrant workers in particular. Often Mexican Americans and police 
officers simply and literally do not understand one another. If a Mexican Amer- 
ican does not comprehend a police officer's questions or commands, an ordinary 
contact can escalate into a more serious situation. Police officials in rural areas 
or in states with large rural populations told Commission staff memlters that 
they recognized language differences as an important factor in the lack of under- 
.standing between Mexican Americans and law enforcement officials. However, 
only six of the law enforcement agencies responding to the Commission's ques- 
tionnaire required their officers to take a course in conversational Spanish. None 
of the agencies representing jurisdictions with less than 10,000 total population 
had such a course. 

Commission staff members also found that Mexican Americans whose English 
is poor are severely handicapped in the courtroom, often to an extent not under- 
stood or recognized by court officials. A lack of proficiency in English interferes 
with a criminal defendant's ability to plead intelligently, to advise his lawyer 
with resx)eet to the facts, to understand fully the testimony of the witnesses 
against him, and otherwise to prepare adequately or assist in his own defense. 
It can lead to serious errors. 

For example, a Commission investigator was told of a .situation in a small 
Arizona community where a Mexican American man who understood very little 
English was erroneously arrested and charged with sexually molesting a minor, 
a charge resulting from a misunderstanding by police officers of what a com- 
plaining witness had said. At the time of his preliminary hearing the man thought 
he was being charged with drunkenness, and made no objection to the charge. No 
interpreter was present to explain the charge or to assist him. He was placed in 
jail to await trial since he could not afford bail. It was only after a Spanish- 
speaking probation officer was able to see him and converse with him in Spanish 
that the matter was cleared up and the case was dismissed. 

In other rural communities Commission staff members learned that many 
Mexican Americans who did not understand English well would plead guilty 
to minor charges because they did not know what was hapi)ening when they 
appeared in court, and to plead guilty was the easiest thing to do under the 

Mexican Americans who have difficulty speaking English also have .serious 
problems in civil and administrative matters. In a small community in .-outh- 
western New Mexico a Mexican American man and his wife were declared unfit 
parents based on a complaint filed by the welfare department. As a result, three 
of their children were removed from their custody. However, the i>a rents did not 
have the assistance of legal counsel and because they were not able to speak 
English fluently it was impossible for them to present their case adecjuately. 

After conviction, language disability can seriously hinder a Mexican Amer- 
ican defendant's opportunity to receive probation or parole and can create dif- 
ficulties for him if he attains it. In many parts of the Southwest there are few if 
any Mexican American or Spani.-jh-speaking probation and parole officers. In 
one community a Commission investigator learned that a local probation officer 
refused to allow Spanish to be spoken in his office and made people who had to 
converse in Spanish go out into the hall. 


In parts of the Southwest some arrangements have been made for interpreters. 
However, Commission staff found that particularly in the lower level courts 
tlhese arrangements often were less than adequate. In some cases regular court 
personnel or other untrained individuals were used as interpreters. In a few 
courts Spanish-speaking police officers were used to interpret for criminal defend- 
ants. While it is important not only that an interpreter be available when neces- 
sary, it is also important that the interpreter be a neutral figure who can gain 
the confidence of the defendant and the witnesses. 


Underrepresentation of Mexican Americans on grand and petit juries in rural 
areas of the Southwest is marked. A study of the grand juries in California for 
the period 1957-1968 was done for the Commission by Califronia Rural Legal 
Assistance, Inc. Of 20 California counties with the highest percentage of Spanish- 
surnamed population, the study showed underrepresentation of Spanish-surnamed 
persons on the grand juries in every county, including those in the rural areas. 
King county, with a Spanish-surnamed population of 13.4%, had 1.9% Spanish- 
surnamed representation on grand juries during the years studied. Merced county, 
with a Spanish-surnamed population of 13.6% had 6.3% Spanish-surnamed rep- 
resentation. San Bernardino county with a Spanish-surnamed population of 
26.4% had 8.8% representation on grand juries. 

The effect of such underrepresentation is important in that in California, as 
in some other states, the grand jury not only decides which persons shall be 
indicted and tried for crimes, but also has a general power to investigate and 
evaluate the administration of local government. Exclusion of persons of a 
particular ethnic group or class from the grand jury thus may have important 
consequences even beyond impairing the fair and impartial administration of 
criminal justice. Low representation of Mexican Americans extends to trial 
juries as well. Several lawyers who have tried cases in South Texas testified at 
Commission hearings that they have never seen a Mexican American on a jury 
in South Texas. In Texas, especially in iiiral counties where the median years 
of schooling is low, language disability may be a factor in the lack of Spanish- 
surnamed representation. In the 20 southernmost Texas counties which are 
mainly rural, and have from 35 to 80 i>ercent Spanish-surnamed populations, 
the median level of education of Spanish-surnamed persons was generally less 
than 5 years, according to the 1960 Census. But in each of these counties there 
were hundreds and, in .some cases, thousands of other Spanish-surnamed persons 
Who had completed from 5 to 7 or more grades of schooling, which presumably 
gave them enough knowledge of English to enable them to serve as jurors. 

The Commission heard testimony to the effect that the disparities between the 
Spanish-surnamed population and the number who in fact served as jurors results 
in an excessive frequency of indicting Mexican American criminal defendants 
and the rendering of excessively low verdicts in civil cases where Mexican 
Americans are plaintiffs. It was also alleged that those few Mexican Americans 
who are listed on jury panels are usually removed by peremptory challenges 
on both civil and criminal cases. 


From the information I have given you this morning I am sure that you will 
not be surprised to learn that in general, the attitude of Mexican Americans 
towards the institutions involved in the administration of justice — ^the police, 
the courts and related agencies— is distrustful, fearful and hostile. The agencies 
of justice are viewed as Anglo institutions in which Mexican Americans have no 
stake and from which they do not expect fair treatment. However, the extent 
to which attitudes of alienation, of viewing legal institutions as "foreign", 
have been manifested in the course of the Commission's research is only part 
of the picture. To Mexican Americans, as to members of other minorities in this 
country, the failure of the administration of justice is simply the failure to 
guarantee them equal rights, not as members of a minoritv group, but as citizens 
of the United States. 

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before this subcommittee. I shall be 
pleased to answer any questions you may have. 


U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 

Washington, B.C., August I4, 1969. 
Mr. BoREN Chertkov, 

Counsel of Subcommittee on Migratory Labor, Old Senate Office Building, Wash- 
ington, B.C. 

Dear Mr. Chertkov : I am forwarding the enclosed materials on behalf of 
Dr. Garcia for such use as you may deem appropriate. 
Sincerely yours, 

Lawrence B. Glick, 
Acting General Counsel. 

American GI Forum of Texas, District 1 

Whereas recently, Hidalgo County Judge, Milton D. Richardson, while holding 
Commissioners' Court meeting was approached by a number of our youthful 
Mexican-American brothers who were seeking better social services to our poor 
people, and. 

Whereas one of them, merely because he failed to state his name when asked to 
do so by the Judge, and because he displayed arrogance and impatience, was 
forthwith sent to jail on orders of County Judge Richardson, and, 

Whereas we observe that other courts courts in Hidalgo County are kind enough 
to properly and adequately warn even those older than seventeen (17) years 
appearing before them of the possibility of a finding of contempt and jail or give 
ample opportunity for one to purge himself of conduct thought to be contemptuous, 
we note that County Judge Richardson failed to show such kindness ; we 

Resolve, First, that w^e go on record as strongly disapproving of the above- 
described ill-tempered action of Hidalgo County Judge Milton D. Richardson ; 
Second, that we feel he so acted because he does not have enough regard for the 
deplorable social and economic condition of our poor Mexican-American brothers, 
particularly when brought to his attention by our zealous Mexican-American 
youth of this day, who, while having observed the awful plight of their ancestors 
and visited upon many of their families even today, .speak out with frustration 
and impatience; Third, that we must all be cognizant of the fact that while 
our Mexican-American youth of today has been more outspoken than in the past 
it is undisputable that they have not taken to violence, and that so long as they 
do not, and still seek social justice, all conscientious citizens ought to support 
them, and. Fourth and finally, we resolve that we need a County Judge more 
understanding of the problems of our poor Mexican-American families, who com- 
pose the major part of the population of Hidalgo County, a judge who should be 
more temperate in the discharge of his powers while holding Commissioners' 
Court, and who must remain aware that our youthful brothers in their zeal for 
attaining social justice are not alone. 

Adopted this 19th day of June, A.D., 1969 at Edinburg, Hidalgo County, Texas. 

[From the San Antonio Express News, July 27, 1969] 

Adult Illiteracy Leading Reason for San Antonio Poverty 

(By Deborah Weser) 

San Antonio sports a blue ribbon both it, and Texas, can well do without. 

And the only way it can lose that top rating is by heavy investment in human 
resources, adult education among them. 

A West Virginia University researcher says San Antonio leads 36 major cities 
in its incidence of poverty. And the list he compiled includes such giants as 
Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit and New York too. 

More than that, the researcher claims he has devised a new formula that 
estimates accurately the number of poor in any urban area. And produces a figure 
only 10 percent off the actual nose count. 

Dr. Woo Sik Kee, of WVA's Regional Research Institute in Morgantown. 
W.Va., lays the blame for poverty on poor education. He says education, or lack 
of it, is one of four primary factors that combine to create high poverty levels 
in any urban area. 


San Antonio does have an adult basic education program. But it "is only 
scratching the surface," according to its director, Robert A. Avina. Avina works 
for the Bexar County Board of Education. And tlie board is the coordinating 
agency for the lO-district adult education program, among other things. 

Avina counts 128,000 functionally illiterate adults in Bexar County. Functional 
illiterates are adults who have not gone beyond eighth grade in formal schooling. 

Supported almost entirely by federal funds, the program here also depends 
heavily on volunteers, generally recruited through the San Antonio Literacy 
Council. Unfortunately, the federal funds are earmarked only for eight grades 
of instruction, no more, says Avina. 

Dr. Kee's paper claims that poverty can be counted by combining statistical 
returns from four factors. These are education level, labor force participation 
rate, migration from suburbs to central city and job discrimination against non- 
white workers. 

Labor force participation is really the ratio of those who are working to the 
number of people who could work but are not. 

"Sixty-'three percent of variotion in the poverty incidence is explained by 
poorly educated adults. This may not be surprising, but it does indicate that the 
expansion and improvement of adult education and training programs would 
greatly reduce the number of people living in poverty," the research scientist 

His paper appeared in The Journal of Human Resources, a national profes- 
sional journal in the social sciences. 

Dr. Kee's contribution to knowledge is a formula that gives a quick count of 
the number of poor in a given urban area. And comes close to the true figure 
without actually going out and physically counting noses. 

The research scientist insists "the greatest reduction in urban poverty would 
be possible by increasing the level of adult education, particularly at the lower 
end of the education spectrum." 

"These re.sults confirm the general contention that the expansion and improve- 
ment of investments in human resources is the most effective way of reducing 
poverty in urban America," he adds. Education gets top priority. But Kee also 
underscores the importance of economic activity. What he did indicate was that 
a city whose industry is expanding is going to have jobs for most of its people. 
But by "industry" he nowhere limits himself to factory or plant production. 
He means business and services too. 

In a i>ertinent footnote, Cong. Henry B. Gonzalez recently said San Antonio is 
low in economic growth. 

The 20th District Congressman reports San Antonio lagging behind Dallas, Fort 
Worth and Houston, in growth industries. And he lists only two here in the Alamo 
City in that category : Church's Fried Chicken, a service industry ; and Alamo 
Iron Works, a more traditional enterprise. 

Without education, most adults have no skills to sell on today's labor market. 
That's what Kee's report indicates. 

One adult gets a year's basic education for about $58 under the system oper- 
ating here, according to Avina. The federal Office of Education, part of the De- 
partment of Health, Education and W^elfare, offers the funds directly to the 
Texas Education Agency. TEA, in turn, allocates money to each of the districts 
involved in adult education. 

Here, only Judson Independent School District and the three military base 
districts are not participating in the program. 

Some 3,200 students were enrolled in the program at the end of the 1968-69 
school year. But throughout the year, some 6,150 had actually participated in 
classroom work, Avina says. 

"But that's only two to three percent of those who need it," he added. 
Some 700 students went beyond eighth grade in their studies. But only 200 
qualified for General Educational Development certificates. The GED is more 
popularly known as high-school equivalency certificate and represents a con- 
centrated study of English and mathematics. 

Eighteen of the 54 classes taught twice weekly here are led by Literacy Coun- 
cil volunteers. It is those volunteer-led classes that deal with subject matter 
beyond eighth grade, Avina noted. 

"Technically, this is as far as we can go. Up to now, we have not had any 
funds to help us go beyond the eighth grade level," Avina declared. 

"I think," he added, "the federal government feels if we can get them up to 
eighth-grade level, they can improve their employment chances. 


"But we feel we are probably dropping them if we let them go at the eighth 
grade level. We feel we should be able to continue at least into some kind of 
vocational education. 

"Once the people are motivated to become educated and then don't go on beyond 
the eighth grade level, they get discouraged and drop out," he insisted. 

Avina noted that both the Concentrated Employment Program (CEP and the 
proposed migrant program here both have adult basic education components. 
CEP directs its efforts to job -preparation and job-orientation for adults. The 
migrant program, of, is designed to serve the needs of migrant farm 
workers who come into Bexar County during part of the year. 

By the end of 1968-;69, Avina .said, the adult basic education program had 
attracted $153,000 in federal funds here, part of it tied to several special projects. 
One of them deals with the use of television in education for adults ; the other 
is an adult learning center. And it is now l)eing moved from Edgewood Junior 
High School where it began to St. Agnes School. 

Through the good offices of the Community Welfare Council and TEA, the 
project is also applying for a federal mini-tgrant of $10,000. The idea is to use it 
for a mobile educational unit operating directly in the poverty ix>ckets of the 

"We're just scratching the surface," Avina repeated unliappily. "We nee<l to 
amplify our effort more. Especially to the hard core." 

Dr. Kee's study warns that a city or county may not be able to provide the 
heavy investment this kind of education service requires and proposes that both 
state and national government take over much of the burden. 

He also says the present direction of the war on poverty is effective but there 
can be no cut in spending if poverty is to be wiped out of urban America. 

Kee also insists that some direct subsidy programs, like the guaranteed annual 
income or a negative income tax, Avill have to be tied in Avith intensive "human 
investment programs" to make the poverty war effort work. 

[From the Corpus Ohristi Caller-tTimes, July 23, 1969] 
Problem of Texas Hunger Substantial, Says Report 

(By Anne Dodson) 

Despite oflBcial denials, the problem of hunger in Texas is substantial, the U.S. 
Commission on Civil Rights states in a staff study released today. 

The commission examined conditions in 18 Texas counties in December, 1968, 
and concluded that "in Texas, as elsewhere, the national effort to feed the hungry 
is failing." 

A laissez-faire attitude on the part of state and federal agencies was said to 
be contributing to the failure of the two federal food assistance programs (sur- 
plus food commodities and food stamps) to i-each the majority of poor families. 

The counties included in the study were Bexar, Cameron, Dimmit, Frio, Duval, 
Hidalgo, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, La Salle Maverick, Presidio, 
Starr, Webb, Willacy, Zapata and Zavala. 

In 1966, it was estimated that 15 per cent of American families were living 
in poverty. For Texas, the figure was 26 per cent. 

The 1960 census found more than half of Texas' Mexican-American families 
with incomes below the poverty level ($3,000). At that time, all but two of the 
18 counties studied by the commission had populations in which the Mexican- 
Americans formed the majority. (The exceptions were Presidio and and Bexar.) 
Of the nearly li^ million people living in these counties, more than 640,000 had 
Spani-sh surnames. 

Despite this widespread poverty, only 149 of the 254 counties in Texas had 
either commodity food distribution or food stamps, the report .states. Xearly nine 
out of every 10 Texas families living in poverty receive no assistance from federal 
food programs. 


No pressure was put on counties with high poverty rates which do not use 
these programs, the report states. (Since 1067, the U.S. Department of Agricul- 
ture has been authorized to open a commodities distribution center if the county 
government refuses to. ) 


Burton G. Hackney, state commissioner of public welfare in Texas, told the 
House Committee on Education and Labor in May, 1968, that inquiries are sent 
to these counties at intervals. 

Replies from 40 per cent stated that no need for a program existed ; the remain- 
ing 60 i>er cent did not reply. 

Hackney said that "hunger and starvation do not exist" among welfare re- 
cipients in Texas. He also told the committee that poor families who are not 
on the welfare rolls were also not in dire need. 

He was able, however, to cite no statistics to support this statement. Asked by 
the House committee chairman, Carl D. Perkins, to survey the problem of hunger 
in Texas, Hackney's study then showed that there were 67,904 families, compris- 
ing 348,064 individuals, in the state who were in the "chronic hunger and starv- 
ing" category. 

This estimate was considered to be low since the study was limited only to 
chronic hunger, and did not include "day-to-day hunger and malnutrition." 


The presence of malnutrition in Texas also was indicated in the preliminary 
findings of the National Nutritional Survey, conducted by the U.S. Public Health 
Service. Based on biochemical and clinical evidence, the survey, found "malnu- 
trition in our random sample population of the lower socio-economic groups 
in Texas." 

The virtual inevitability of malnutrition and hunger is seen in the disparity 
between welfare figure.s — between what the state said a family needs "and what 
the state gave such a family. 

In May, 1968, the Texas Department of Welfare set the minimum amount 
for a family of 4 under the Aid to Families with Dei>endent Childx'en program 
for a decent standard of living at $164 a month (with $89.50 of this allotted for 

However, in the same month, the state provided such an AFDC family with 
a cash payment, not of $164, but $114. (Later AFDC payments for a family of 
four were reduced to $102. ) 

Even when federal food programs are used by counties in Texas, only a i)er- 
centage of poor families receive food, the welfare report states. 

Of the 18 counties studied, 14 participate in the federal surplus foods distri- 
bution program. Yet the eligibility rules keep more than 80 i>er cent of the 
poor families from receiving surplus foods. In Hidalgo, which has the largest 
nimaber of poor families of any of the counties studied, only 5 i>er cent were 
eligible for commodities. 

In the three counties with a food stamp program, there are 50,000 poor families. 
Yet only 3,800, fewer than 1 in 10, get food stamps, the report states. 

The problems cited in the food distribution program include : Restrictions in 
commodities : goals of the program ; lack of state support ; eligibility limits ; 
infrequent distribution ; and county control. 


The report stressed that the prime function of the surplus foods program is 
not to feed the needy but to stabilize farm prices. If no agricultural products 
are in surplus, then no food is distributed, regardless of the needs of the 

The program is funded by an act setting aside 30 per cent of the annual cus- 
toms receipts to purchase these supplies. Since 1958, this has amounted to $4 
billion. Yet more than $1 billion of this amount was returned unused to the 
treasury, the report states. 

Foods distributed must not only be in surplus but must not require refrigera- 
tion. In 1968 the list included dried beans, bulgur, butter or margarine, cheese, 
corn grits, flour, chopped meat, nonfat dried milk, peanut butter, dried prunes, 
raisins, shortening or lard, rolled wheat or oats, rice, enriched mashed potatoes, 
canned vegetables, corn syrup, fruit juices, canned chicken, scrambled egg mix 
and evaporated milk. 

The state's attitude toward the program is seen in the law which says that 
"appropriate rules and regulations to assure the widest and most efficient dis- 
tribution" should be set up. 

36-513 O — 70 — pt. 4-B- 


In practice, however, the state puts no pressure on counties to distribute such 
commodities, spends no funds for administering the program and allows the 
counties to set extremely low eligibility limits. 


Texas is the only state which provides no monies for the program. Instead, the 
county is assessed a fee. This places the burden on the very counties which are 
least able to afford this cost. 

The decision about the commodities program is made at the county level. 

The report outlined the problem in Willacy, which is among the 331 poorest 
counties in the country which lack a food program. A move to start such a pro- 
gram in 1967 was defeated by the commissioners' court. After Hurricane Beulah, 
this decision was reversed temporarily. For four months, commodities were 

When this program was terminated by the commissioners' vote, the U.S. De- 
partment of Agriculture started a distribution program in May. 1968. 

The report states that one obstacle to the acceptance of this program was "the 
belief of many farmers . . . that if a food program was made available, the 
Mexican-American field hands would not work." 

The state establishes income limits for eligibility by family size, which range 
from $110 for one person to $230 for 6 and to $310 for 10. 


Fourteen of the counties more or less match these maximums. But Willacy, 
during the temporary program when the county operated it, set up limit.s which 
were 60 percent below the state's. Liberty County (which was not included in the 
18 studied) cut the top income for a family of four to $150. This was the top 
amount permitted, no matter how large the family was, the report states. 

Distribution points are few, requiring the poor to travel considerable distances. 
Often, the center is open only one day a month. 

The food stamp program, despite deficiencies such as the high cost of the 
stamps and the inflexibility in buying them, was considered superior to surplus 
food distribution, in the commission's report. 

Unlike the commodities program, the food stamp program is designed solely to 
feed the poor ; there are uniform standards of eligibility and families can obtain 
a wider selection of foods. 

Exhibit A 

Total Texas Counties Without Operating, Planned, or Requested Food 
Program — October 30, 1968 


Aransas ^ 



Bailey ^ 










Briscoe ^ 


Calhoun ^ 

Castro ^ 




See footnote at end of table. 





Comal "■ 

Concho ^ 



Crockett ^ 

Deaf Smith ^ 




Edwards ^ 



Fort Bend ^ 


Garza ^ 















Kendall ^ 

Kenedy * 


Kimble ^ 







McCulloch ^ 

MeMuUen ^ 


Menard ^ 



Mitchell ' 





Palo Pinto 




Reagan ^ 
Reeves ^ 
Refugio ^ 
Runnels ^ 
San Saba 
Schleicher ^ 
Sterling ^ 
Sutton ^ 

^ Counties of 10% or more Mexican-American papulation. 



Upton ^ 

Uvalde ^ 

Van Zandt 

"Victoria ^ 

Ward "■ 

Wharton ^ 










Mexican- Not 
American participating Food stamp 






Bee - 

Bexar (San Antonio) 
















Deat Smith 

De Witt 

Dimmit (Asherton City). 



El Paso 



Fort Bend 















Jeff Davis 

Jim Hogg 

Jim Wells 









La Salle. 

Live Oak 




















25 1 




15 3 




27 4 


20 1 



26 1 




38 5 




18 7 



















13 7 


























56 1 












13 5 



41 R 











Mexican- Not 
American participating Food stamp 


Lubbock 10.9 

Lynn 19.2 

McCulloch _ 14.8 

McMullen 28.1 

Martin 15.5 

Matagorda 13.9 

Maverick 77.6 

Medina 37.0 

Menard 23.4 

Mitchell 16.6 

Nueces 38.1 

Pecos 31.0 

Presidio 49.5 

Reagen 13.5 

Real 19.3 

Reeves 40. 4 

Refugio 31.7 

Runnels 11.3 

San Patricio 49.4 

Schleicher 20.7 

Starr 88.7 

Sterling _ 13.1 

Sutton _ 39.5 

Terrell 43.4 

Terry 15.1 

Tom Green... 13.7 

Travis 12.3 

Upton 12.4 

Uvalde... 47.6 

Val Verde(Del Rio City) 44.2 

Victoria 23.2 

Ward 12.0 

Webb 79.9 

Wharton 14.8 

Willacy... 63.4 

Williamson 15.1 

Wilson 37.0 

Zapata _ 74.8 

Zavala 74.4 





Per capita 


per capita 


Percent of 
families with 
income below 








Deaf Smith. 
Fort Bend.. 

























































































































2. 552 




My name is Mrs. Andrea Arias, 911 Ave "M'\ Hondo, Texas, 78861, and my 
husband's name is Francisco Arias, employed at Gary Aircraft Corp., Hondo Air 
Base, Texas. We wish to file a grievance with the U.S. Commission on Civil 
Rights concerning an incident which occurred in Hondo, Texas on July 16, 1969. 
Two weeks prior to this date a neighbor, Mrs. Glen Wernette, complained to 
the City of Hondo about our livestock (2 pigs) that had come into her property. 
The city contacted us about this and told us we must make sure the pigs were 
tied or secured within our property. We made sure that this was done. Then on 
the evening of July 16, 1969 around 8:00 p.m. three men came to my house. 
They were: City Patrolman Blackwell, State Highway Patrolman Baecker, and 
a civilian who is a farmer Mr. Donald Muenink. The City Patrolman Blackwell 
informed me that he had orders to kill my pigs; I asked him for a paper or 
written order and he said it was not necessary. He said he had received a com- 
plaint about the pigs and was supposed to kill them that instant. I asked if they 
could possibly wait until my husband arrived or until I talked to him and they 
would not wait. By this time a crowd had gathered at my house and the three 
men who appeared to be intoxicated were insisting that I kill the pigs. They asked 
me to let them have my husband's rifle and then loaded it for me and when I 
would not kill the pigs they asked the people there if anyone would kill the pigs 
for me. No one would do it, they continued to insist that I should kill the pigs. 
Finally Mr. Donald Muenink said he would do it, he shot at the pigs with my 
husband's rifle and Patrolman Blackwell used his gun and killed one of the 
pigs. They left immediately after this happened. 

I called my husband immediately and told him of what had happened and 
his supervisor accompanied him home and it was thru this man Lupe Sanchez 
the attempts to contact the Mayor of Hondo were made to get an explanation 
for what had happened. Mr. Sanchez made many calls to the courthouse and 
newspaper oflSces to call attention to this incident. The following day on July 17 
a Mr. Elias Reyes, City Patrolman, came to my house as a representative of the 
city and told me to get in touch with the City Attorney Hug'h Meyer, who was 
ready to pay me $100.00 for the pigs. He told me to go to Mr. Meyer's ofl5ce on 
Saturday, July 19. On Friday Mr. Sanchez was contacted by some unknown 
person who offered him $350.00 for him to Stay out of this whole affair. They 
did not want him to counsel us. 

A Mrs. Antonio Garcia, who is an active member of the GI Forum Auxiliary, 
was contacted on Friday night by Mrs. Donald Muenink. Mrs. Muenink was 
interested in the case, and wanted to know if Mrs. Garcia had heard about it. 
She wanted Mrs. Garcia to be sure that her husband Mr. Muenink only did what 
he did to help me. However, Mrs. Muenink verified that the men had not been 

I am seeking the help of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights because I feel 
that a great injustice has been committed. 

Mrs. Andrea Aeias, 
Mrs. Antonio Garcia, 
Mrs. Amelia Hernandez, 
Chairman, GI Forum Auxiliary. 

American GI Forum of Texas, 
Office of the Executive Secretary, 

Hondo, Texas, July 29, 1969. 
Dear Forumeer: The Uvalde GI Forum and Ladies Auxiliary will host a 
District V Meeting on Sunday August 3, at 10 :00 A.M. at the Uvalde Neighbor- 
hood Service Center on Hwy 90 East. 

District Officers for the 1969-70 will be elected at this time. 

There are several civil rights matters pending in the area which need to be 
discussed. A young Mexican-American boy was a victim of a hit and run accident 
in Uvalde, Friday July 25. The local authorities as in the past have failed to 
conduct a proper investigation refusing to hold the driver of the car due to 
lack of evidence. 

In D'Hanis a 13 year old girl was raped, tied to a tree, blind folded, and 
burned all over her body by five angles. It seems as if they are suppressing 
evidence in this matter as usual. I am going to Uvalde, D'Hanis, and Hondo on 
Wednesday, July 30, 1969 to investigate. A report will be given Sunday. 
Respectfully yours, 

Mike V. Gonsalez. 
P.S. — The Uvalde Groups are sponsoring a fund raising barb-B-Que. Tickets 
are $1 and may be purchased at the meeting. 


Equal Employment Oppoetunity Commission, 

AlMiquerque, N. Mex., July 11, 1969. 
Hon. Dr. Hector P. Garcia, 
Member, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, 
Corpus Christi, Tex. 

Dear Dr. Garcia : Enclosed is a self-explanatory letter from Mr. Gustavo 
Gutierrez, Arizona representative for the United Farm Workers Organizing 
Committee, listing allegations of violations of the civil rights of Mexican Ameri- 
can union members. 

Since the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does not have juris- 
diction in this matter, copies of this letter are also being referred to the 
Department of Justice, the Inter-Agency Committee on Mexican American 
Affairs, and the Arizona Labor Commission in hopes that they may be able 
to help. 

Sincerely yours, 

Tom E. Robles, Director. 

American Federation of Labor and 
Congress of Industrial Organizations, 
United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, 

Tolleson, Ariz., July H, 1969. 
Tom E. Robles, 

Director, Equal Em,ploym^nt Opportunity Commission, 
Albuquerque, N. Mex. 

Dear Sir : The United Farm Workers Organizing Committee is conducting a 
strike at several grape ranches located in the general area west of Phoenix, 
Arizona. The strike began on June 17, 1969 and will probably continue until 
the grape harvest is finished. The purpose of this letter is to relate some of the 
actions of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department during the strike and to 
request an investigation of this conduct. 

While there has been no major single incident involving misconduct by the 
Sheriff's Department there has been a constant occurrence of small incidents 
which when viewed in their entirety establish a clear pattern of harassment of 
the strikers, organizers and pickets. This harassment by the Sheriff's Depart- 
ment infringes upon the civil liberties of those involved and represents a clear 
attempt by the police to intimidate all the farm workers, both actual union 
members and potential union members. 

Some of the incidents which have occurred will now be described : 

1. A Deputy Sheriff stood by idly while a ranch foreman "roughed up" a priest 
who works with the farmworkers. The priest had his strike buttons torn off his 
shirt, his hat taken off, filled with grapes and run over by a tractor. The Deputy's 
explanation for refusing to act was that his department was "neutral" in this 
labor dispute. The priest was told that if he wanted to take action he would have 
to proceed on his own ; and after he did file a complaint, the Sheriff's Department 
tried to persuade him to withdraw it. On another occasion when a foreman 
ripped a picket sign out of the hands of one of the pickets, a Deputy stood by 

2. A union member who went to work on a ranch one morning was followed 
into the fields by a Deputy who then told the foreman that the man was a union 
member and had been picketing. The Deputy then demanded the man's identifica- 
tion, although he had done nothing wrong, and interrogated him for no apparent 

3. Under the guise of directing traflSc the police waved the cars of workers into 
the fields of one of the struck ranches thereby preventing the pickets from talk- 
ing to the workers in order to persuade the latter to join the strike. 

4. The union members are constantly followed by the Sheriff's Department 
when they drive their cars anywhere and are constantly stopped by the deputies 
for no apparent reason or for minor traflBc offenses which are tenuous at best. 
The union members are then required to show identification and answer questions. 
The police also sit in their cars outside the union oflSces during meetings and on 
other occasions. 


5. After work one day a car load of union members was following a bus full of 
workers to talk to them about joining the union after the bus stopped. After fol- 
lowing for a short distance the police got one car in front of the union members 
and one car behind them and then pulled them over. The police then requested 
to show identification and submit to interrogation. Again this action by the police 
was for no apparent reason and no one was charged. The obvious effect, of course, 
of the police action was to separate the union members from the bus and to cre- 
vent the union members from talking to workers in the bus when it reached its 

6. Several farmworkers have been fired for signing union authorization cards 
which is a violation of Arizona law. The police, after investigating, admitted 
clear violations had occurred, but refused to proceed with any prosecution on the 
grounds that they were "neutral" in this labor dispute. 

7. A Deputy went into the fields, obtained some grapes and came back to the 
picket line and ate them telling the pickets how good they tasted, virtually 
taunting the pickets. Although this act is of course not itself illegal it is very 
symbolic in this dispute and becomes quite meaningful in the context of the other 

8. A Deputy went up to some pickets on a country dirt road and told them they 
had to walk twenty feet apart. When a picket responded that the law provided 
only that they not obstruct traffic, the deputy replied that the twenty foot rule 
was his "law" and if they wanted to get along with him they should obey his 
"law." On another occasion a Deputy told the pickets that they were not a union 
and therefore had no right to picket. 

9. During the picketing one day, two Deputy Sheriffs each placed their cars 
at opposite ends of the picket line and drove slowly toward one another squeezing 
the pickets together until the pickets were finally forced to move to another 
location. Some of the pickets claim that they were actually physically pushed 
by the Deputies' cars. One woman became sufficiently frightened that she needed 
to be helped away from the scene. 

The above described incidents comprise only a partial listing of the abusive 
acts of the Sheriff's Department. We are now in the process of compiling a more 
comprehensive and specific list of incidents involving police misconduct. The 
purpose of sending this letter in advance of the completion of our more detailed 
report is to obtain an investigation of these activities by the responsible gov- 
ernmental authorities as soon as possible. Since the harvest will be completed 
within a few weeks it is important that the action of the Sheriff's Department 
is investigated as quickly as possible. 

We feel that the above described incidents as well as others clearly establish 
that the Sheriff's Department has not acted with neutrality in this dispute 
and has in fact been partial to the growers. Moreover the conduct when viewed 
in its entirety establishes a clear pattern of harassment and intimidation of farm 
workers who are attempting to exercise their constitutional rights of freedom 
of speech and freedom of assembly. There are also racial overtones since virtually 
all the farm workers are Mexican-American. Of course, another undesirable 
effect of the conduct by the Sheriff's Department is to undermine respect for 
the normal processes of government and to destroy any belief that people of all 
races, whether rich or poor, in fact receive equal justice under law in this 

We urge that your agency as a responsible governmental authority investigate 
this matter and we feel that we are entitled to a speedy response to our com- 
plaints. We feel that this is really a very simple and appropriate request. 

We will of course cooperate fully in any investigation. The address of our office 
is 9162 West Polk, ToUeson, Arizona. The telephone number is Area Code 602 — 

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. 

Gustavo Gutieerez, 
Arizona Representative. 


July 4, 1969 

Twenty-Five Cents 

A Journal of Free Voices 

A Window to the South 

The Texas Observer 

Helping Texas' Migrants 

Photo by Bill Bridges 
HOME IN TEXAS — Texas is home of more migrant agricultural workers than any 
other state in the nation. Here, some children of migrant workers play at their home in 
the Chamizal section of El Paso. 

Washington, D.C. 

Disappointment comes regularly to 
Mexican-American farm workers of the 
Southwest. They live in crowded labor 
camps when there is work, and in miserable 
patchwork shacks when there is none. 
They leave families behind to travel 
thousands of miles in search of work, often 
in vain. When they are on the road, no one 
cares much what happens to them, and 
when they return home - 143,500 migrant 
workers call Texas home — they find their 
home state hadn't missed them. 

But one of the biggest disappointments 
affecting Texas farm workers and those 
who care about them has been the 
performance of the Migrant Division of the 
Office of Economic Opportunity, now 

Bill Hamilton 

nearly five years old. Equipped with a bold 
mandate and provided substantial — 
though certainly not excessive - finances 
($27.3 million was given the division for 
national grants during fiscal 1969), the 
office has been timid and sloppy in its 
approach to assisting migrants in Texas. 

Consider housing. In fiscal 1969 (which 
ended June 30) $2 million of division 
funds were earmarked for that vital 
concern. Lest one think that a small sum 
for housebuilding, it should be explained 
that the Migrant Division is rarely in the 
business of building houses directly. The 
money usually is spent not on loans, 
materials, carpenters, and so forth, but on 
the administrative and training costs of 
organizing poor people to qualify and to 
build under the federal housing laws used 
by more-affluent Americans. Thus, an OEO 
dollar can be stretched over a considerable 
number of houses. The Migrant Division 
hkes to think of itself as the "missing link" 
between migrant farm workers and their 

Mr. Hamilton is an Observer con- 
tributing editor who lives in Washington, 


participation in federal housing programs. 
In Texas, however, the linlc is simply 
missing. Only one housing program has 
been tried, and it was scrapped, a dismal 
failure. The project died in the office of 
then-Gov. John B. Connally. The project 
came to Texas OEO late in 1966 when the 
governor's office apphed for and received a 
grant of $346,241 to build 132 homes and 
three community centers from materials 
obtained at Stinson Field, an abandoned 
air base near San Antonio. It was to be a 
self-help project — poor 
Mexican-Americans building their own 
houses with donated materials and expert 
supervision. "It was ill-conceived from the 
very beginning," said one of the OEO 
officials who processed the application for 
funds in Washington. "We tried to 
discourage it," he said, "but they (the 
governor's office] insisted on it." It should 
be remembered that in those days a special 
respect was paid the governor of Texas and 

his wishes, because of his close relationship 
with then-President Johnson. 

So the money was granted, a retired 
Army colonel was hired to direct the 
project, and work began. Four months 
later, after lots of bickering at every level, 
the project was abandoned. Six houses had 
been built. No one in Washington today 
recalls exactly what those six houses cost, 
but they probably weren't cheap. Unspent 
funds were transferred to OEO manpower 
activities in Texas. Col. Fred Deyo, 
director of the ill-fated project, told the 
Dallas Times Herald that "political fear and 
bigotry" among Connally's OEO watch- 
dogs led to the death of the program. In 
Washington, an OEO spokesman admitted 
"I don't think the reasons (for killing the 
program) are particularly clear." 

Ill-conceived or not, the San Antonio 
program was a housing program, the only 
one that the Migrant Division has dared to 
fund in the state. Ruth Graves, chief of the 

Migrant Division, and a Texan, says 
something could develop in the future but 
nothing is being considered at the moment. 
Money is short, and no applications for 
housing programs have been filed from 
Texas lately, she added. OEO has some 
fairly successful migrant housing programs 
in California and elsewhere, but in Texas - 
where migrants are most numerous - there 
is nothing. 


'HAT, THEN, does OEO's Mi- 
grant Division do with its money in Texas? 
The Educational Systems Corporation of 
Washington, itself a Migrant Division 
grantee ($758,833 in fiscal 1969) has just 
pubUshed a summary of the division's 
programs - 96 of them in 35 states, eight 
in Texas. Of the eight Texas programs, 
most of which include more than one 
activity, seven operate job-placement type 
projects, six conduct adult education 

I yextu' Vcue^: ;4 C^^utce ^ ^c^onm | 

A ustin 

Texas liberals have their best oppor- 
tunity in years to begin reforms of the 
state's misshapen tax structure, a complex 
that puts a disproportionate share of the 
tax burden on individuals and lets business 
firms off far too lightly. If the hberals and 
some of the moderates of the Senate will 
determine to work together during the 
upcoming special session of the Legislature 
this summer, they can have the crucial 
say-so in this vital matter. 

Also at issue is whether Lt. Gov. Ben 
Barnes is, in reality, a progressive. If so, he 
will aid the liberals - if the liberals come 
up with some sensible, long-overdue, and 
fair business taxes. 

Perhaps, in the early going of the 30-day 
special session, we may see Barnes leading 
an effort to have both houses vote to 
override Gov. Preston Smith's veto of the 
one-year appropriations bill, which was, 
mostly, Barnes' and the business lobby's 
way of avoiding a tax increase this year. If 
that effort fails, as it should, then liberals 
must be ready with their tax program. 
Otherwise, we shall probably see an exten- 
sion of the sales tax and, perhaps, a 
sprinkling of minor business taxes. 

I HERE WAS widespread evasion 
of responsibility on the question of state 
spending and taxation in the legislative 
session recently ended. Governor Smith 
proposed a taxation program that no one 
ever took seriously. He then sat back while 
the Legislature hemmed and hawed and 
scratched. When the one-year spending 
plan was resurrected. Smith made no bones 
in private conversations that he would veto 
the scheme. But he failed to say so 
publicly, an irresponsible act. 

The legislative leaders, Barnes and 
Speaker Gus Mutscher, compounded the 
fiscal failure by permitting lawmakers not 
to consider a serious tax program. To write 
a serious two-year budget would, after all, 
have required a business tax of some 
impact, since individual Texans are, at last 
wearying of earring most of the burden 
when new taxes are required. Three tax 
increases have been voted by lawmakers in 
less than two years now, and most of these 
have fallen heavily on individuals, primarily 
by extending the state and city sales taxes. 

It is heartening to see Texas government 
at last beginning to accept some of its 
responsibilities in providing services, in not 
shrinking from spending the vast sums of 
money that are indeed necessary - and 
long have been necessary. Yet it will not do 
to continue to burden individuals with the 
load while corporations get off without 
meeting their social responsibiUties. 

Texas consumers paid $807 imlhon in 
taxes during fiscal 1968. The oil and gas 
industry paid $240 million. And the only 
general tax on business, the franchise tax, 
yielded $63 million. This is the present 
shape of Texas government's thinking on 
tax matters. 

IxAISlNG taxation on oil and gas 
(which were taxed at 5.4% of the value of 
their production in 1968), upping the 
franchise tax, instituting a state income tax 
(which 36 states now have, and which 
provides one-seventh of revenue to Amer- 
ican states) - these are the things legis- 
lators, particularly the Senate liberals and 
moderates, should these days be consider- 

The business lobby, evidently frustrated 
now by the governor in .its hopes for 
.avoiding new taxes this year, can be ex- 
pected to work hard for extending the sales 

tax (most probably by removing some 
items now exempted) and, perhaps, such 
things as a tuition (or "building use fee") 
increase. The lobby people are justifiably 
worried now; they know that the political 
climate will not Ukely permit extending 
taxation further on individuals - not with- 
out dire cost to many of the legislators' 
and some state officials' political futures, 

^a^d TC^atd 

In this day of intensifying concern about 
the problems that narcotics pose for 
society, it seems strange that the federal 
government would be considering closing a 
Fort Worth hospital that serves the western 
half of the country in treatment of nar- 
cotics addicts. Sen. Ralph Yarborough 
thought so, anyway. He won a promise, in 
March, from Robert Finch, the secretary of 
the Dept. of Health, Education and Wel- 
fare, not to close the hospital until hearings 
could be held on the matter. 

Dr. James Maddux, head of the Fort 
Worth hospital, said he believes informa- 
tion was developed in the hearings that 
Yarborough conducted that had not pre- 
viously been available to Finch. Witnesses 
testified that the Fort Worth hospital and 
another federal institution at Lexington, 
Ky., are the only large hospitals in the 
nation for treating narcotics addicts. 

Because of Yarborough's hearings, the 
hospital is now to remain open. 

The U.S. political system works if it is 
manned by dedicated people who have — 
and employ — highly developed social 
consciences. Once again, the people of this 
nation are in Senator Yarborough's debt. 


courses, and six focus on vocational 
training. In short, almost the total effort of 
the Migrant Division in Texas is directed 
toward giving migrants new job skills. Only 
a pre-school educational project in San 
Antonio and a day-care project in Tahoka 
break this otherwise total orientation to 

And you are right if you suspect that 
this job training implies, for the most part, 
taking the migrants out of the fields, only 
to put them in the factories. They are 
offered such vocational opportunities as in 
auto body and fender repair, diesel 
mechanics, construction, machine tool 
operation, small appliance repair, and 
welding. This is not to say that these 
vocations are dishonorable, nor is it to say 
that skills have no place in a migrant 
program. But it does suggest that the 
Migrant Division in Texas, by putting 
virtually all of its resources into manual 
job-oriented projects, has given a narrow, 
unimaginative, and basically unresponsive 
interpretation to its mandate. 

r Quite a few millions have been spent on 
these job programs, with the money nearly 
always granted by the Migrant Division to 
the Governor's OEO liaison for transmittal 
to the Texas Education Agency, which ran 
the local-level programs through the school 
districts. In 1966, according to reports 
issued by OEO in Washington, the Texas 
OEO received from the migrant division 
$6.6 million; $5.2 million in 1967; $3.9 
million in 1968; and, in the just-ended 
fiscal year, $1,350,000 in new money plus 
additional "reprogrammed" funds. 

While Connally was governor, virtually 
all OEO programs had to have support 
from his office to qualify for funding. This 
was true even of migrant programs, 
although the Migrant Division legally can, 
and does in other states, make grants to 
local groups directly. When they tried to 
skip the middleman in Texas, Connally 
raised hell with Sargent Shriver, then the 
OEO director. Shriver knuckled under and 
passed the word down: get along with 

Politics is politics, and the fact that 
Shriver wanted to placate the president's 
Texas crony was no big deal. But the Texas 
migrant training programs conducted 
through the school districts were mostly of 
a very dubious value, and the Texas 
Education Agency's administration of OEO 
funds was a disaster. The millions filtered 
down through the TEA framework to the 
local school superintendents, who were 
able to strengthen their patronage by 
spreading the wealth among their favorite 
teachers, and providing stipends to the 
trainees - a normal part of the program - 
as a means of winning friends. 

"They were very bad programs," said a 
former OEO functionary who watched 
them closely. In 1967 programs were being 
run in 25 to 30 school districts, with the 
adult migrant trudging to school nightly, 
sitting six hours at a desk designed to fit 
his children, listening to his lessons, and 
picking up $30 to $40 a week for the 

chore. Evaluations by OEO were worse 
than disappointing. In 1967, out of 4,200 
enrollees in remedial classes for high school 
dropouts, only ten were able to qualify for 
a graduate equivalency degree, according to 
OEO sources. 


rORSE THAN the ineffectiveness 
of the local training schools, however, was 
the Texas Education Agency's cavalier 
handling of federal money. An audit of 
TEA migrant programs by OEO a year ago 
uncovered more than a million dollars 
which had been mislaid and "lost." Under 
Treasury rules, federal grants which are not 
spent the first year can be "repro- 
grammed" to the grantee for a second year. 
But if the money still is not used it goes 
back to Washington at the close of the 
second year. That was in 1967, when the 
Vietnam war had cut deeply into domestic 
programs. OEO's Legal Services division 
was, at that time, searching high and low 
for cash to fund a South Texas legal aid 
program. The idea died for lack of money. 
TEA, meanwhile, had a million dollars it 
couldn't manage to spend. 

Although nothing was ever said official- 
ly, there were rumors after an audit of 
TEA migrant money in Austin that a sum 
in the range of $100,000 was lost, strayed, 
or stolen. Ruth Graves at OEO in 
Washington says there was confusion, "but 
1 think at this point all the money has been 
accounted for." No malfeasance; just good, 
old-fashioned bureaucratic sloppiness at 
the TEA. 

After the money difficulties and critical 
evaluations, OEO finally cut back on its 
deaUngs with the Texas Education Agency. 
Even so, it gave the state agency 
$1,350,000 for pre-vocational and voca- 
tional programs at Laredo Junior College 
and Connally Technical Institute at Harlin- 
gen in fiscal 1969. Most of the repro- 
grammed money is still in the grasp of the 
OEO advisers of the new governor, Preston 
Smith. Even now that Connally is gone and 
direct-funding for migrant programs has 
come to Texas (El Paso, Corpus Christi, 
Edinburg, and one or two other places are 
now funded directly from the Washington 
OEO) the governor's office still controls 
about 72% of the $5.4 million being spent 
on Texas migrants by the division this year. 

The programs at Laredo and Harlingen, 
as others before them, mainly offer courses 
in job skills that cater to the needs of the 
economic interests. If LTV needs welders, 
welding it will be. If Ford Motor Company 
wants body men, then migrants will be 
taught body work. In its summary of the 
Migrant Division's activities in Beaumont, 
the Educational Systems Corporation re- 
ports that "courses taught in the program 
are geared to the needs of area industry." 
No one gives much thought to what the 
migrants themselves might want. Grass- 
roots organizations, which are considerably 
closer to the farm workers, have found it 
mighty hard to compete for funds against 
the Texas Education Agency. 


lUT, OF COURSE, to pitch right 
in on the side of the farm workers is an 


A Journal of Free Voices 

® TTie Texu Observer Publishing Co. 1969 

A Window to the South 

Vol. LXl.No. 13 

July 4, 1969 

Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas 
Democrat, which in turn incorporated the State Week 
and Austin Forum -Advocate. 

We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to 
the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We 
are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values 
above all interests, to the rights of man as the 
foundation of democracy: we will take orden from 
none but our own conscience, and never will we 
overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the 
interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the 
human spirit. 

Editor, Greg Olds. 

Associate Editor. Kaye Northcott. 

Editor-at-large, Ronnie Dagger. 

Editorial intern, Mary Callaway. 

Business Manager, C R. Olofson. 

Business Manager Emeritus. Sarah Payne. 

Contributing Editors, Etioy Bode. Winston Bode, 
Bill Brammer, Lee Clark, Larry Goodwyn, Harris 
Green, Bill Hamilton, Bill Helmei, Dave Hickey, 
Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Lairy L. King, Georgia 
Earnest Klipple, Larry Lee, Dave McNeely. AI 
Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, James 
Presley, Charles Ramsdell, John Rogers. Mary Beth 
Rogers, Roger Shattuck, Robert SherriU, Dan Strawn, 
Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wrighl. 

The editor has exclusive control over the editorial 
policies and contents of the Observer. None of the 
other people who are associated with the enterprise 
shares this responsibility with him. Writers are re- 
sponsible for tneii own work, but not for anything 

agrees with them, because this is a journal of free 

The Observer is published by Texas Observer 
Publishing Co., biweekly from Austin. Texas. Entered 
as second-class matter April 26. 1937, at the Post 
Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3. 
1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. 
Single copy, 25c. One year, $6.00; two years, $11.00; 
three years. $15.00; plus, for Texas addressees, 4% 
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tional per year. Air-mail, buDc orden, and group rates 
on request 

Editorial and Buiinecs Officet: The Texas Observer. 
504 West 24th St., Austin. Texas 78705. Telephone 
477-0746. Editor's residence phone. 472-3631. 

Change of Address: Please give old and new address 
and allow three weeks. 

Form 3579 renrding undelivered copies: Send to 
Texas Observer, 504 W. 24th, Austin. Texas 78705. 

Subscription Representatives: Arlington. George N. 
Green. 300 E. South CoUege St.. 271-0080; Austin. 
Mrs. Helen C. Spear. 2615 Pecos. 465-1805; Beau- 
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Christi, Penny Dudley, 1224W Second St., 884-1460; 
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unpopular tactic-remember the recEnt 
VISTA experience in Del Rio. If the 
Migrant Division teaches arc welding to a 
few farm workers, that's one thing; but if it 
tries to teach those farm workers that they, 
along with the rest of us, can be full 
citizens, with a right to make demands, 
assert themselves, politically and generally 
seek to grasp control over their own 
destinies — well, that's quite another thing. 

The Migrant Division seems to show no 
inclination to disturb anyone's comfort, 
and not much inclination fundamentally to 
alleviate anyone's discomfort. No one 
believes this more than the young. 

increasingly-militant migrants in Texas- 
and it should be pointed out that in 1967, 
half of the migrant farm worker population 
was under 25 years of age, and one-fourth 
of them were teenagers, 1 4 through 1 7 
years of age. Not only are these young 
people discontent, but they will not be 

They beheve that this loudly-trumpeted 
and highly-visible governmental program, 
established to respond to their needs, is not 
doing the job. They think that OEO's 
Migrant Division has become a part of what 
they must overcome if they are to 
accomplish the fundamental change that 
would allow them to live a productive and 

self-sufficient life. 

Of course, the Migrant Division would 
not agree with this analysis of their per- 
formance. They would claim progress, and 
point to the high school equivalency 
diplomas awarded, the number of job skills 
acquired, the number of incomes raised, 
and maybe even to six houses built. But, as 
Robert F. Kennedy wrote in 1965: 

"Progress is a nice word. But change is 
its motivator. And change has its enemies. 

"The willingness to confront that change 
will determine how much we shall really do 
for our youth and how truly meaningful 
our effort will be." Q 

The TEA'S Rebuttal 

The Observer, seeking routinely to check 
out the facts of the foregoing story by its 
contributing editor Bill Hamilton, sent 
copies of the manuscript to the Texas 
Education Agency and the governor's 
Texas Office of Economic Opportunity. 
The officials were asked to read the manu- 
script and, if they wished to reply, to 
contact the Observer. Nothing was heard 
from the state OEO. TEA people asked 
that they be given the opportunity to 
discuss the story with the Observer; the 
agency's Dick Gartner, director of special 
adult programs, and Ed Randall, director 

4 The Texas Observer 

of school audits, were thereupon inter- 

The first point made was that the figures 
cited in Hamilton's ninth paragraph, 
amounts of money spent on job training 
programs, are higher than the amounts 
administered by the TEA. Randall told the 
Observer that in fiscal 1966 $2.6 million 
was distributed to 24 local school districts, 
and about $2.5 million of that was spent 
locally; in 1967 some $3.8 million was 
distributed to 31 schools, of which about 
$3.5 million was spent; in fiscal 1968 
about $2.5 million was distributed to 28 
schools, and final total expenditures are as 
yet unknown. 

Hamilton replies that his figures cited 

Cold Statistics and a Mandate 

Washington, D.C. 

The Economic Opportunity Act of 
1964, which created OEO, gave the 
Migrant Division this assignment; "To 
assist migrant and seasonal farm workers 
and their families to improve their living 
conditions and develop skills necessary 
for a productive and self-sufficient life 
in an increasingly complex and techno- 
logical society." 

Certainly there is room for such a 
program to have impact in Texas— first, 
because the state has such a large 
population of migrant farm workers, 
and, secondly, because neither the state 
nor local governments has done much to 
acknowledge the poverty and special 
problems which these workers and their 
families face. The U.S. Senate Migratory 
Labor Subcommittee reported in Feb- 
ruary that 117 of Texas' 254 counties 
had more than 100 migrants each 
residing within their borders at some 
point during 1967. That ranged from 
110 workers in the Burleson County 
blacklands to 37,600 in the "Magic 
Valley" county of Hidalgo. In that year 
some 240,000 migrant workers toiled 
on farms and ranches in the state. 
Nationally, when one thinks of migrant 

farm workers he thinks of Texas; about 
37% of the national migrant labor force 
comes from the Lone Star State. 

The Migratory Labor Subcommittee 
found that "migrants live in dilapidated, 
drafty, ramshackle houses that are cold 
and wet in the winter, and leaky, 
steaming, and excessively hot in the 
summer. Insufficient ventilation, poor 
or no mattresses, unsanitary privies and 
bathing devices, and unsanitary storage 
and disposal of garbage and refuse are 
too often the prevailing conditions." 

A 1967 survey by the U.S. Depart- 
ment of Agriculture showed that two- 
thirds of the migrants working in 
Atascosa County live vrithout indoor 
plumbing, and three-fourths without 
hot running water. There's no reason to 
think conditions are better in other 
Texas counties. 

Needless to say, migrants want better 
housing. A 1962 survey in California 
found that migrant farm workers ranked 
housing second, just below pay, in 
seeking employment. From its own field 
interviews, the Migratory Labor Sub- 
committee reported that "numerous 
workers place housing even ahead of 
wages in making a job selection." 6.H. 

come from national OEO migrant division 
sources in Washington and represent 
amounts of money distributed to Texas 
agencies by the migrant division of the 
federal OEO. It appears, then, that more 
than $8 million of federal migrant division 
money went to agencies other than the 

Gartner, replying to the point in Hamil- 
ton's 1 1th paragraph about superin- 
tendents filling vacancies in the migrant 
teaching program as a means of enhancing 
their patronage powers, commented that 
usually schools found it difficult to secure 
enough teachers to staff the program, in 
which, usually, classes were from 4 to 10 

As for the pomt Hamilton makes in 
paragraph 1 2, that only ten of 4,200 
enroUees qualified for high school graduate 
equivalency degrees, the TEA officials said, 
in rebuttal, that the adult migrant educa- 
tion program was not designed for the 
migrants to get equivalency degrees, but to 
enable them to read and write enough 
English to be able to participate in the job 
training aspects of the course, and to get 
along on any job later obtained. 

Speaking to the charge HamU- 
ton levels in paragraphs 13 and 14, that $1 
million of money allocated to TEA by the 
federal migrant division was not spent by 
the Texas agency, Randall and Gartner 
deny that this was true. Randall said "this 
probably was the best-controlled program 
we've had, and probably the smallest in the 
amount of money." 

Most of the TEA officials' rebuttal to 
paragraphs 1 3 and 1 4 appears, on analysis, 
to be directed to the suggestion that the 
money was misappropriated. As for the 
charge that the TEA failed to use $1 
milbon of federal money in Texas, it 
seems, in retrospect, that the TEA officials 
did not contest this very much, in speaking 
to the points raised in the two paragraphs. 
With Randall doing most of the talking, the 
two TEA men denied the thrust of the 
story throughout, particularly suggestions 
of misappropriation. But as for money not 
being used at all, the Observer was not told 


much of that during the interview of some 
40 minutes. 

The U.S. migrant division money was 
deposited in the Federal Reserve Bank in 
Dallas, and the TEA was sent a letter of 
credit. Then, school districts wishing to 
participate -in the adult migrant education 
program were asked to submit proposals. 
After approval of each local program the 
individual school district was in turn sent a 
letter of credit by the TEA. The school 
districts later sent invoices of expenditures 
to the TEA, which compared the invoices 
with the district's budget submitted earlier 
for the program. 

Audits were conducted by several dif- 
ferent people. Randall says an independent 
Austin firm substantially corroborated 
TEA audits. The only questions about the 
TEA handling of the adult migrant educa- 
tion program, Randall says, were routine 
ones about a few hundred dollars worth of 
stipend checks owed course enroUees that 
were not picked up by those enroUees. This 
amounted to a minimum of $275.32 in 
fiscal 1967 to $838.68 in fiscal 1968. 

However, the foregoing explanation by 
the TEA officials (as taken from the 
Observer editor's notes) speaks, as was 
noted above, to the question of whether 
money was misused by the TEA, not 
whether some of the money was not used 
at all. 

Hamilton's point is that $1 million, 
perhaps a bit less, was not used for the 
benefit of Texas migrants by the TEA 
because of administrative bungling. This is 
the stated belief of others, not TEA 
employees, who have had some knowledge 
of the tea's role in administering funds 
for educating adult migrants. 

Frank J. Duggan, Southwest regional 
OEO legal services director, tells the 
Observer he heard of the oversight a year 
ago, from Hamilton, who at the time was a 
member of the Washington staff of Sen. 
Ralph Yarborough. Duggan thereupon 
sought to have the unexpended money 
funnelled into a South Texas legal defense 
program. However, Duggan tells the 
Observer, a federal OEO auditor told him 
that due to federal regulations the money 
was unavailable. It is understood by Dug- 
gan and, after some inquiries, by the 
Observer, that the prohibition on using the 
money for legal services was imposed by 
the usual U.S. Treasury Department pro- 
vision that money not expended in a 
specified period must be returned to the 
federal treasury, as Hamilton explains near 
the end of paragraph 1 3. 

Further, a former member of the staff of 
the Texas OEO's migrant division, who has 
requested anonymity, but whose character 
and veracity are attested to by the 
Observer editor, affirms that it also was his 
understanding that some $1 million was 
not spent by TEA because of oversight. 
The source was on the staff of the state 
OEO migrant division during the period in 
which the money was supposed to have 
been spent but was not. 

The migrant division of the Texas OEO 
no longer exists. It was established in 1964, 
when then-Gov. John Connally was form- 
ing his own OEO to administer the war on 
poverty in Texas. But since the latter 
months of the Connally administration, 
there has been no migrant division, it being 
closed down when the division head, Rudy 
Marroquin, took a job in Fort Worth with 
a federal agency. 

As FOR THE allegation that 
$100,000 was misappropriated, evidently 
this is no longer thought to have been the 
case; witness the Ruth Graves (Washington 
OEO) quote in Hamilton's paragraph 14. 
The tea's Gartner and Randall were at a 
loss to explain how the story about the 

allegedly missing $100,000 got started. 
They said they had never heard of it. In 
any case, it appears that federal officials 
are not concerned about the matter, 
though for a time, clearly, they were. 

In response to Hamilton's paragraph 15, 
about the federal OEO cutting back on its 
dealings with the TEA, Gartner and Ran- 
dall .said they know nothing of this, either. 
They note that the federal money available 
for the program has been cut back, and this 
is the reason that, instead of some 30 
Texas public school districts running the 
program locally, two junior colleges in 
Texas are currently operating it, as Hamil- 
ton relates in that same paragraph. G.O. 

A Texa» Migrant Child 


Money for Texas Water 


Whatever doubts may have lingered as to 
which of the 10 proposed constitutional 
amendments that are to be voted on Aug. 5 
is to have the blessing and the no-holds- 
barred support of the incumbent admini- 
stration should have been dispelled once 
and for all on the afternoon of June 9. 
That was when almost all the big guns in 
the state Democratic Party's conservative 
establishment dutifully treked to the 
House of Representatives chambers here to 
see and hear a slick presentation in behalf 
of the proposed $3.5 billion, repeat billion, 
Texas Water Plan expansion. 

The occasion was the first meeting of 
the newly formed Governor's Committee 
of 500-a group hand-picked by Gov. 
Preston Smith to beat the bushes in aU 
areas of the state in an attempt to pass 
Amendment No. 2 on the Aug. 5 ballot. 
Knowing full well what political rhubarbs 
have been started in some water-rich 
sections of the state at the very mention of 
diverting water to areas with water deficits, 
the governor chose carefully to achieve a 
balance of committee members from a 
cross-section of Texas. To cement that and 
by-pass possible reaction to his leadership. 
Smith prevailed on his three predecessors 
in office-John B. ConnaUy, ftice Daniel, 
and Allan Shivers— to serve as co-chairmen 
of the committee, thereby providing an 
endorsement of the plan from all segments 
of the conservative wing of the Democratic 
Party. (Shivers did not attend the meeting, 
however, because of the injury of his son a 
few days earlier in a diving accident on the 
Georgia coast.) 

Amendment No. 2, simply stated, would 
authorize the state to sell $3.5 billion in 
revenue bonds, backed by the state's 
. credit, to finance redistribution of the 
state's water to areas where that com- 
modity is in , or is expected to be in, short 
supply. It also would remove the present 
4% ceiling on interest on water bonds. If 
voters okay the proposal, the $3.5 billion 
would become a lever for state officials to 
try to persuade the federal government to 
match with the remaining $5.5 billion of 
the expected $9 billion price tag on the 
plan. So far, there has been no firm 
commitment from the federal government. 

Not only would the plan allow for the 
redistribution of water from areas regarded 
now as having a surplus, it envisions an 
elaborate system of channeling up to 13 
million acre feet of water annually from 
the lower Mississippi River through a 
network of canals stretching across 
northern Louisiana, northern Texas, and 
into eastern New Mexico. It is reckoned 
that water problems are as serious in that 
part of New Mexico as in West Texas, the 

major benefactor of the Texas Water Plan. 
New Mexicans will be expected to pay a 
part of the tab, should they opt to join in 
the plan. 

OmITH MADE it clear at the 
outset of last month's meeting that to 
oppose passage of Amendment No. 2 
would be tantamount to being un- 
American or, worse, un-Texan. (The 
bumperstickers to be distributed by the 
committee resemble Texas flags.) "I think 
your presence indicates your deep concern 
for the future of Texas," the governor told 
the assemblage. "1 think your presence is 
an indication of your devotion to Texas 
and your desire to serve the state we all 

By an Observer correspondent. 

love so well." He went on to say that 
former Governors ConnaUy, Shivers, and 
Daniel "have been tested and found true" 
in theu- devotion and dedication to the 
state. It now was the turn of the 500. 

The hundreds who attended (not all 500 
did, and certainly not all of the 150 
representatives or the 31 senators were 
there) were treated to speeches by Smith 
and Daniel before Connally, by far the best 
orator of the group, began a slick 
presentation of what obviously is to be the 
campaign message in the coming weeks. 
Flanked by two 1 0-foot-square screens on 
the floor of the specially darkened House 
chambers, Connally read an inspired 
account of the state's projected water 
needs while a pair of projectionists quietly 
shuffled through a series of color slides 
(provided by various state agencies) to 
illustrate points in Connally's remarks. No 
areas of the state were neglected in the 
presentation. All bases were touched, but it 
remains to be seen how effectively. 

Smith acknowledged the regional feuds 
over water that have plagued earlier 
attempts to devise a functional statewide 
water plan: "Water has been the primary 
issue in innumerable political campaigns 
and unlimited debate in legislative halls 
session after session — and generally with 
negative results. The great diversity of our 
regional interests — lack of complete 
understanding of our common need and 
adequate supply, the legal entanglements 
involving water rights - and above all the 
absence of state leadership, constituted the 
major factors inevitably resulting in stale- 
mate of all proposed statewide water 
programs until several decades ago." 

In ADDITION to employing 500 
members of the party's establishment. 
Smith has turned over the job of packaging 
and promoting Amendment No. 2 to 
former White House press secretary George 
Christian, now the head of the newest 

Austin-based public relations firm, which is 
landing more and more accounts as time 
passes. Christian's offices in Austin's First 
National Life Building are serving as 
headquarters for the committee. And he 
assembled and distributed hundreds of 
copies of the bound Texas Water Plan 
together with sheets of information on the 
amendment's purposes and the names of 
the chosen 500. 

Smith also hand-picked various com- 
mittee heads to work with business, 
industry, agriculture, lawyers, and so forth 
in promoting the issue — and raising funds. 
The job of raising money (Christian 
estimated the group would need $200,000 
as a minimum) went to Edward P. Clark, 
former U.S. ambassador to Australia, 
former opponent to Smith for the 
Democratic nomination for governor last 
year, and close associate of Connally and 
Lyndon B. Johnson. Clark managed at least 
one passing reference to the former 
president during a pep-talk with his 
committee members after the general 
session. Clark was given what Capitol 
observers enjoy calling a "blue ribbon 
committee" to help raise the money. 

Although Christian told the finance 
committee that the campaign would be run 
just as any other political campaign ("cash 
in advance" for advertisements), Clark 
insisted that donations and contributions 
were tax-deductible. He offered to obtain 
an opinion to that effect from the top tax 
expert in his own law practice, but he and 
others balked at the idea of requesting an 
opinion from fellow Austinite R. L. 
Phinney, regional director for the Internal 
Revenue Service. Commented Clark: "I'd 
be shocked fi anyone said these were 
anything but a donation to a community 
civic project." 

What backers of this project are eyeing is 
the potential of that $3.5 billion in bond 
money. For one thing, it will cost the 
state's water users (those designated as the 
eventual payers of this plan) at least that 
much more in interest payments alorie (see 
Obs., Feb. 21). And bond merchants stand 
to make about $10 million in the sale of 
those bonds. Banks stand to gain hundreds 
of milUons more serving as depositories for 
the billions. Water users would pay it all 
through the purchase of water. 


fHAT SMITH and his army of 
500 face is a reluctance on the part of 
many Texans to approve bond issues. 
There are those who are still sore at the 
passage of a $75 million issue by Connally 
to build new state parks. Several major 
bond proposals — including a multi-million 
dollar one attempted by the Houston 
Independent School District - have been 
crushed overwhelmingly at the polls in 
recent months. 


But the most telling point may prove to 
be the remaining nine issues on the 
constitutional amendment ballot. Smith 
and legislative leaders may find the water 
plan caught in a voter backlash come Aug. 
S that extends beyond the scope they 
want. It is common knowledge around the 
Capitol that Smith and House Speaker Gus 
Mutscher oppose the amendments on the 
ballot next month that call for annual 
sessions of the Legislature and a hike in the 
ceiling of the state's welfare payments. But 
general voter hostility to having the 
legislators meet every year, or, especially, 

to increasing the amount of tax money 
available to the Welfare Department could 
lead to the downfall of all ten issues on the 
ballot Aug. S, including the water plan. 

Hence, the need for the committee of 
500; for Connally, Daniel, and Shivers; for 
George Christian; for the packaged sell 
throughout the state for Amendment No. 
2. There is no Governor's Committee of 
500 ... or even 100 ... or even 5 to 
promote passage of the welfare amendment 
- an item rejected by voters last 
November. The welfare proposal is not a 
"safe" issue for the Smith administration 

or for former governors to endorse. 

It appears it will fall to Lt. Gov. Ben 
Barnes to steal the play on this one. Barnes 
reportedly is preparing his own committee 
to work for passage of that amendment to 
lift the ceiling on the state's welfare 
payments from $60 million to $80 million. 
Houston attorney Leon Jaworski, who it 
prominent in Texas conservative Demo- 
cratic circles, will lead the effort. Even if 
Barnes is successful, Texas will remain the 
only state in the nation with a ceiling on its 
welfare payments imposed by its constitu- 
tion, n 

Texas Demos and Reform 


Ever since that debacle of a Democratic 
convention in Chicago last summer, the old 
guard Democrats and the new have been 
engaged in a civil war. Many liberals believe 
the party must reform itself or die, so 
national party chairman Fred Harris 
appointed reform-minded Sen. George 
McGovem to head a Commission on Party 
Structure and Delegate Selection. When a 
task force of the commission visited Texas 
recently, it heard of the civil war that 
Texas Democrats have been fighting for 

The commission was entangled in 
controversy from the moment it an- 
nounced it would visit the state. It 
infuriated Texas party leaders by neglect- 
ing to inform them first of the impending 
visit. Jim Wright, the Fort Worth congress- 
man who headed the Connally Democrats' 
presidential campaign committee last year, 
wrote an angry letter to a national 
committeeman complaining that the 
McGovem commission had scheduled a 
hearing in Austin without notifying "those 
of us who managed the successful cam- 
paign last year." When it became clear that 
the present conservative leadership of the 
State Democratic Executive Committee 
was going to boycott the meeting, the 
commission decided to meet in Houston 
instead of Austin. 

State Rep. Lauro Cruz of Houston, a 
Uberal, was the first person to appear 
before the task force. He and Will Davis, 
former Gov. John Connally's state party 
chairman, immediately began wrangling. 
After Sen. Birch Bayh of Indiana, the 
chairman of the task force, tried, without 
success, to get quiet in the meeting room, 
he commented with a grin, "This is going 
to be an interesting session." 

It was. 

The CHARGES AND counter 
charges hurled by liberal Democrats and 
holdovers of Connally's conservative hier- 
archy were nothing new to observers of 
Texas politics. But both sides seemed to 
welcome the opportunity to review their 
grievances before a panel of out-of-staters. 
In addition to Bayh, the commission 

included LeRoy Collins, former governor 
of Florida; Peter Garcia, a California labor 
leader; Dave Mixner, former chairman of 
the McCarthy Youth Group; Jack English, 
New York national committeeman; and 
Albert Peiia, a Bexar county commissioner 
and a leading Texas liberal. Will Davis, a 
member of the parent Commission on 
Party Structure, although not a member of 
Task Force "C," also sat with the group. 

The meeting was held in the basement of 
the Astroworld Hotel. The small meeting 
room was decorated with a jovial elephant 
and other circus animals, but no donkey. 
Approximately 50 observers attended the 
meeting, most of them vociferous repre- 
sentatives of Harris County's liberals. 

The most vituperative exchange of the 
day was between Albert Peiia and Frank C. 
Erwin, Jr., a former national committee- 
man from Texas. Erwin accused Peiia and 
other liberal Democrats of having elected 
conservative Republican John Tower to the 
U.S. Senate. Peiia, in return, accused Erwin 
and the Connallycrats of putting Allan 
Shivers, a former governor with decidedly 
Republican leanings, on the delegation to 
the Chicago convention. 

"Our problems with the Democratic 
Party are with people like you," Peiia said, 
and the audience cheered. 

"I've been losing public meetings like 
this and winning elections for years," 
Erwin answered. 

"You've been stealing elections for 
years," Peiia said. 

"You're lying. You're a liar," Erwin 

"I still say you stole the election. I say 
you 're a liar," Peiia said. 

Erwin looked at Senator Bayh and 
growled, "This gives you some notion of 
how our precinct elections work." 

tRWIN READ A long letter from 
Elmer Baum, Gov. Preston Smith's state 
party chairman. The letter explained that 
the SDEC chairman could not be present 
because of "a year-long commitment to 
attend a medical convention on the West 
Coast." Baum's letter told what a good 
record Texas Democrats have compiled and 
explained how the state party is set up. 

"There is little, if anything, wrong with 
the Democratic Party in Texas, and many 
things right with it," Erwin said on his 
own. "There is no discriminating and any 
time we find it we stop it." 

The only other conservative Democrat 
to appear before the commission was John 
Peace, a former Bexar County state 
committeeman. He defended the conserv- 
ative reign, explaining, "The Democratic 
Party under attack here today produced 
two vice presidents, one president, and 
many other public officials of distinction. 
Our record is equal to or superior to any 
other major state in the nation in 
producing results for the Democratic 

Few of the other witnesses had anything 
complimentary to say about the state party 
or its leadership. Both Lauro Cruz and 
Curtis Graves, the black legislator from 
Houston, charged that the state party 
discriminates against racial minprities. Cruz 
told of a Mexican-American woman in 
South Texas who allegedly was taken off 
the welfare rolls because she voted the 
wrong way. "The state party is cheating 
my people," Cruz said. "The generation 
behind me is less patient than myself. I 
hear their footsteps growing louder. 1 know 
I may be ground under their feet. . . . 
Which is the greater crime, stealing a sacred 
right to vote or burning a building? I think 
both are equal." 

Cruz said Texas Rangers are used to 
intimidating Mexican-Americans at the 
polls. "The presence of a Texas Ranger 
anywhere in South Texas makes the 
Mexican-American persona non grata, " he 


allegations with stories of discrimination 
against blacks. "There is a systematic 
attempt to keep voting down so that 
conservative Democrats who are actually 
Republicans or Wallaceites in sheep's 
clothing can remain in power," he said. 
"The party is the people who send the 
Rangers out each time. Sometimes they 
stand with rifles outside voting places. I 


don't know if rifles in white men's hands 
intimidate you, but they intimidate the 
hell out of me!" 

Graves charged that all of the blacks on 
the state's delegation to the national 
convention, except for himself and State 
Sen. Barbara Jordan, were "handpicked, 
paid, genuine Uncle Toms . . . whites 
painted black." 

At this point, Will Davis asked to insert 
into the record the U.S. Civil Rights 
Commission's most recent report on voting 
in the South. He explained that Texas was 
the only Southern state to get a clean bill 
of health. 

"Who was president then? " Graves 
asked. "I wouldn't criticize the boss 
either." The audience whooped. 

"If we want to be partisan about it, I'd 
rather have him than the one we've got 
now," Davis snapped back. 

Graves r^ad an affidavit from Roger Bell, 
who went to a precinct convention in a 
rural area to find he was the only black 
man there. According to the affidavit, a 
white man approached him and said, "Boy, 
what you doin' here? Don't you know this 
is white man's business?" 

Graves concluded, "If you keep this 
process up, maybe we won't have a 
Democratic Party, because, like Lauro 
Cruz, 1 hear footsteps behind me. . . . 
Violent change may happen in Texas 
because so many people are excluded from 
the decision making process." 


iRS. BILLIE CARR, a Houston 
liberal leader, asked the task force to 
recommend that the national committee 
send observers to the state's precinct, 
county, and state conventions. She said 
that the SDEC is "really the governor's 
committee. It never goes against his 
interest." She called Texas pohtical con- 
ventions "politics by conspiracy." 

"In some precincts we have fist fights," 
Mrs. Carr said. "One precinct chairman had 
to go to the hospital last year. Houston 
even had one murder that resulted from a 
precinct fight." She suggested that secret 
balloting be held to select representatives 
to the county, state, and national conven- 

Hank Brown, president of the state 
AFL-CIO, had a number of specific 
proposals. They included: 

• AboUsh the precinct conventions and 
replace them with direct election of 
delegates to the county and state senatorial 

• Elect delegates to the national Demo- 
cratic convention at state senatorial district 
conventions, instead of at the state party 

• Enlarge voter participation by requir- 
ing that delegations to the national 
convention be selected in a voting system 
that includes permanent voter registration 
and longer registration periods. 

• Encourage party primaries for the 
selection of nominees for president and 

vice president. 

• Abolish the electoral college and elect 
president and viqe president by direct vote 
and by a majority, in a runoff if necessary. 

• Provide free television debate time for 
majority party candidates. 

• Lower the voting age to 18. 

• Abolish all forms of discrimination 
within the electoral process. 

V*HRIS HARTE, a college student 
from Corpus Christi, also urged the 
commission to recommend lowering the 
voting age to 18. In addition, he suggested 
that a third person from each county be 
placed on the state committee to represent 
persons under 30. 

Mrs. William E. Joor, president of the 
League of Women Voters of Texas, called 

• Replacing annual voter registration 
with a system of re-registration by voting. 

• Extending the period of registration 

from the present Oct. 1 to Jan. 31 period 
to year 'round registration. 

• Liberalizing resident requirements. 

• Liberalizing registration lequirements 
for armed services personnel. 

The Houston meeting was the 13th of 
17 regional hearings to be held by the 
commission. In a prepared Statement, Bayh 
explained the purpose of the committee is 
to "search for and examine ways to bring 
the Democratic Party in touch with the 
needs and desires of the American people. 
. . . Some are already suggesting that this 
will be an exercise in futility, that we 
should avoid any criticism of our party," 
the senator said. "The commission believes, 
however, that the long term well-being of 
our party demands that we distinguish 
between loyalty to our party's principles 
and servility to its name." 

The commission will present its report at 
the 1972 Democratic convention. K.N. 


Land Cmsr. Jerry Sadler, who dips snuff, 
recently decreed that workers in his office 
must have, in the case of men, sideburns no 
longer than halfway down the vertical axis 
of the ear, and, in the case of women, 
skirts of sufficiently modest length, i.e., no 
miniskirts. Snuff dipping was not men- 
tioned in Sadler's edict. One supposes that 
the commissioner considers long hair and 
short skirts more of a threat to depart- 
mental morale than a poochy lower lip. At 
least one Land Office employee disagreed 
and resigned prior to the effective date of 
the Sadler personal appearance policy. 

Now another Austin governmental 
bureau leader has taken official note of the 
newest trends in grooming. R. L. Phinney, 
the district director of the Internal Rev- 
enue Service, and formerly the command- 
ing general of the Texas National Guard's 
36th Infantry Division, has issued the 
following memorandum to the supervisors 
in his district, quoted in full, to wit: 

SUBJECT: Employee appearance. 

Hair on the face is a provocative subject. 
Some men are wearing longer sideburns. A 
few of our male employees are experiment- 
ing with a little lower haircuts on the sides. 
Perhaps we should think about this. 

The majority of men wear moderate 
sideburns. This is the continuing, conven- 
tional style. Some taxpayers associate the 
more extreme style of long sideburns with 
undesirable people and events. Because of 
these mental associations, an Internal Rev- 
enue man with long sideburns may evoke 
unfavorable reaction from some of the 
people with whom he deals. By the very 
nature of our profession we start with a 
haftdicap. It would seem unwise that we, of 
our own volition, would add handicaps by 
a mode of appearance that provokes some 

foucs. In other words, long sideburns might 
make a hard job harder. 

We certainly are not suggesting that 
there is anything immoral or unhygienic 
about long sideburns. We are suggesting 
that short or medium sideburns are less 
controversial and provoke less unfavorable 
reaction from many of our cbents - the 
taxpayers. Since our success depends so 
much on favorable taxpayer reaction, we 
strongly urge that our Internal Revenue 
Service men wear the moderately styled 
short sideburns. 

We recommend that you have a one-to- 
one talk with those men who are inclined 
to experiment with long sideburns. We 
believe our folks will understand the ad- 
vantages of reasonable conservatism and 
the disadvantages of extreme styles. We all 
know that a few of the business and 
professional people have adopted the 
"mod." But they have the advantage over 
us because their clients choose them and 
they can choose their clients. 

We do not expect you to use a ruler or 
issue anatomy charts or other guidelines to 
indicate the desirable length of sideburns. 
As usual, this is a matter of individual 
judgment which we will leave to you and 
your folks. G.O. 

Bussing Decision 

Washington, D.C. 

Things have changed in Washington. 
One of our correspondents got on a city 
bus there the other day. Who got on 
right in front of him but Liz Carpenter, 
former press secretary to former first 
lady, Lady Bird Johnson. 

What's more, she got a transfer. D 


Political Intelligence 

The rumor that has become recurrent 

on a biennial basis in Texas labor circles 
once again is heard: that Texas AFL-CIO 
secretary Roy Evans is in trouble as he and 
other state labor officials face reelection at 
the upcoming AFL-CIO convention, July 
16-19 in Corpus Christi. Similar rumors 
were heard in 1967 prior to the AFL-CIO 
convention in Fort Worth but Evans 
emerged unscathed. 

He and the AFL-CIO president, Hank 
Brown, often are said to be at odds over 
basic policy in guiding Texas organized 
labor. For example, last year in Galveston 
when the AFL-CIO's Committee on PoUti- 
cal Education was considering endorse- 
ments in state elections, Evans openly was 
working to win full endorsement for Don 
Gladden, the Fort Worth liberal, over Ben 
Barnes in the lieutenant governor's race. 
This was against the wishes of Brown, who 
wanted no endorsement, believing that 
Barnes could be of value in attaining some 
of the legislative goals of the Texas AFL- 
CIO. Finally Brown won out. Gladden 
winning only a "recommendation," not an 

When rumors are heard of Evans being in 
trouble for reelection it usually is said that 
Brown is covertly behind efforts to dis- 
place the secretary. 

There is some talk in Austin now that 

Governor Smith might be looking 
around for someone to make a race next 
spring against Atty. Gen. Crawford Martin. 
Some of Martin's official opinions have not 
pleased the governor. 

Early this year Smith was seeking to 
overturn a number of the eleventh-hour 
appointments of his predecessor, John 
Connally. Martin was asked by Smith for 
an opinion on the matter of when a 
number of appointive terms expire. The 
attorney general rendered a judgment that 
did not please Smith. 

Then, Martin was asked by Smith about 
the constitutionality of a number of meas- 
ures passed during the recent legislative 
session's closing hours; the governor ques- 
tioned the bills because they had not 
actually been signed in the presence of 
members of one or the other houses of the 
Legislature, as constitutionally required. 
Martin came back with an opinion saying 
that it didn't matter, announcing this not 
long before Smith said he would veto the 
measures anyway. (And then, a few days 
later the governor signed a few of the 
disputed bills into law, raising thereby 
some more legal questions.) 

Capitol reporter Mary Jane Bode re- 
cently found, evidently by accident, a copy 
of a report prepared by a San Francisco 
consulting firm which raised questions 
about the efficiency of the operation of 
the attorney general's office, saying there 

are, among other problems, a communi- 
cations inadequacy between that office and 
other state agencies. Mrs. Bode found the 
report in an empty Senate committee 
room. She was unable to determine who 
had authorized its preparation or what 
purpose it is to serve. 

LBJ Doin' OK 

The national press has uncovered an- 
other unusual perquisite that President 
Johnson has claimed for his retirement 
days. National reporters filed a number of 
stories on this general theme in January 
when LBJ was returning to Texas, wonder- 
ing, for example, about Federal Aviation 
Agency equipment that had been installed 
at the LBJ Ranch landing strip; the nature 
of Johnson's Austin Federal Building ac- 
commodations, which include a lush office, 
helicopter service between the building and 
the ranch; etc. 

Now the Washington Evening Star and 
columnists Drew Pearson and Jack Ander- 
son advise that Texas Cong. George Mahon 
arranged to have Johnson's government 
pay extended f om the customary six 
months to 1 8 months after the conclusion 
of his presidency. LBJ thus will collect 
$375,000 in post-presidential pay. 

- The Star also reports LBJ spent nearly a 
half million dollars in federal 
funds since leaving the White House, 
making use of two new laws which 
authorize hberal retirement and "adjust- 
ment" benefits for ex-presidents. Among 
LBJ's expenditures, the Star noted, was a 
$100-a-day, six-day-a-week consultancy 
arrangement for Walt W. Rostow, the 
former White House foreign advisor who 
now teaches at the University of Texas. 
The Rostow fee adds $28,800 annually to 
the hawkish foreign affairs professor's UT 
salary, which is thought to exceed 
$35,000. Also on a $100-a-day retainer is 
Yoichi R. Okamoto, the former White 
House photographer, now living in Texas. 
LBJ's expenditures, the Star reported in 
its June 16 article, cover the costs of 
maintaining three Texas offices - more 
than either Texas senator - and purchasing 
$200,000 in equipment for them, a 
$28,000 salary for Tom Johnson, a former 
White House press aide, and other salaries 
for secretary and staff help. Johnson spent 
$10,418 refurbishing an office which he is 
using temporarily at the Johnson City 
Bank - a building owned by his old friend 
A. W. Moursund of Johnson City. 

All of the expenditures are quite legal. 
Under a new interpretation from Comp- 
troller General Elmer B. Staats, Johnson 
can draw on federal funds through July 19, 

1970, with a ceiling of $900,000 author- 

Rostow has contracted with Macmillan 
*to write two books. The Diffusion of 
Power, a study of the development of U.S. 
foreign policy in the 1958-68 decade, and 
The Evolution of the World Economy. 
Rostow is to realize an unspecified six- 
figure amount of money for the books. 

^Walter Richter is soon to be replaced as 
director of the Southwest regional U.S. 
Office of Economic Opportunity, probably 
by an Arkansas Republican. 

McDowell Sues 

_Dr. Floyd E. McDowell, the former 
head of the Richmond State School for 
the Mentally Retarded, who was fired a 
year ago {Obs., July 26, 1968), has fUed a 
lawsuit in Austin which, if successful, 
would have considerable effect on the 
treatment of all state employees. In addi- 
tion to $160,000 damages and lost salary, 
McDowell seeks a hearing to air whatever 
charges his former superiors had against 
him and asks that Texas government em- 
ployees "be free from arbitrary and capri- 
cious discharge, and be entitled to con- 
frontation of witnesses and a hearing when 
necessary before termination." 

McDowell believes he was fired for 
refusing to place the son of State Sen. 
Wayne Connally, Floresville, in his school. 
McDowell said the Connally boy comes 
from a county not in the Richmond 
school's jurisdiction and that, anyway, a 
waiting list precluded immediate admis- 
sion. Thereupon the doctor was fired by 
the Dept. of Mental Health and Mental 
Retardation, whose leaders said McDowell 
had not been cooperative with others of 
the department, had acted arbitrarily in 
running the new Richmond school, and 
otherwise, on frequent occasions did not 
follow department policy. 

McDowell, who has a national reputa- 

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1001 Century BuiMng 

Houston, Tm« 

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tion in mental haaltli work, quickly found 
a position with the New York mental 
hygiene department. He was scathing in his 
assessment of mental health care in Texas 
and has expressed mterest in seeing that 
practices of the state in this field are aired 

His attorney is David Richards, who 
recently moved to Austin after having been 
associated for a number of years with the 
important Dallas labor law firm of Mulli- 
nax and Wells. 

A RWY Victory 

Sen. Ralph Yarborough has won a 

face-to-face confrontation with the 
Nixon administration, staving off efforts to 
close the 30-year-old federal narcotics 
hospital in Fort Worth by flexing his 
muscles as a Senate committee chairman. 
The hospital, operated by the National 
Institute of Mental Health at HEW, treats 
some 400 patients and has several hundred 
employes. It serves the western half of the 
United States. 

Yarborough, chairman of the Senate 
Labor and Public Welfare Committee, 
called HEW Secretary Robert Finch on 
March 27 to question rumors that the 
hospital was to be closed, at the same time 
announcing his Health Subcommittee 
would hold hearings during April in 
Washington and Fort Worth. Finch prom- 
ised the closing would be delayed until 
after the hearings. 

The Texas senator conferred with Finch 
regularly, urging that the facility be kept 
open. Sen. John Tower and Cong. Jim 
Wright of Fort Worth and Earle Cabell of 
Dallas lent their support. On June 12, 
Finch called Yarborough and informed him 
that the administration had decided against 
closing the hospital. Yarborough's commit- 
tee handles all legislation affecting Finch's 
agency, a fact which did not go unnoticed 
by the Nixon men during the hospital 
^ A dozen senators, led by Sen. Edward 

M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, have 
announced plans to form a liberal Senate 
club along the lines of the activist 
Democratic Study Group in the House. 
Yarborough has not indicated if he will 
join, but he was not at the organizational 






■T^TU.A PRE.. 


P1yjn.612'M2 7836 

L-' . 


meeting, in Kennedy's office. 

_ Raymond Telles, the former mayor of 
El Paso who received several appoint- 
ments during the Kennedy and Johnson 
administrations, has returned to El Paso 
and is considering a Democratic primary 
race against Cong. Richard C. White next 
year. Telles, something of a liberal, had 
remained as head of the U.S.-Mexico 
Border Commission until President Nixon 
replaced him in April. Prior to assuming 
that post Telles was U.S. ambassador to 
Costa Rica. 

On Conservation 

^ In the July issue of Playboy magazine 

Justice William O. Douglas, a zealous 
conservationist, labels the Army Corps 
of Engineers "public enemy number 
one." He says that due to faulty construc- 
tion by the corps, "some dams in Texas 
lose 87c of their capacity annually due to 
silting. Numerous ones lose 2% a year and 
at least six lose 3% or more. 

"The Waco dam in Texas is a classic 
failure of the engineers," Douglas says. 
"Inadequate testing of the foundation 
shales below the embankment were the 
cause of the disaster. Parts of the embank- 
ment slid 700 feet from the dam axis. 
Correcting the failure amounted to about 
4% of the original estimated cost of the 

"Texas, as might be expected, was 
granted 24 projects for construction during 
fiscal 1969 that amounted to almost $40 
billion," the Supreme Court justice writes. 
"Everybody is taken care of. Under the 
cloak of flood benefits, recreation benefits, 
and the like, great vandalism is committed. 
Beautiful river basins are wiped out forever 
and one of our most pressmg problems — 
water pollution and sewage - goes beg- 

Douglas also writes, "Will Rogers used to 
joke that the best thing to do with the 
Trinity River at Fort Worth, Texas, was to 
pave it, the stream being a bare trickle at 
times. That wild idea is now a reality. 
Construction of a 370-mile canal from Fort 
Worth to Houston is under way, with 20 
new dams (multipurpose) and 20 locks." 

"Playboy magazine," responded Cong. 
Earle Cabell of Dallas, is an appropriate 
place for him to lay out his inaccuracies," 
he said of Douglas. 

^ The Trinity River Authority, the Trinity 
Improvement Association, and seven 
Texas congressmen recently asked a House 
subcommittee to appropriate $6.1 million 
over President Nixon's $3.2 budget for the 
next year. 

30-acre shopping center in Brownwood. 
Several major firms already have been 
announced as tenants. Bennett's construc- 
tion firm will be the general contractor. 

^ A. Y. Allee, captain of Texas Ranger 
Company B, often the target of com- 
plaints by Mexican-Americans in South 
Texas, was commended recently by former 
Gov. John Connally, Atty. Gen. Crawford 
Martin, and Highway Department Com- 
missioner Herb Petry, Jr. 

At a barbeque for Ranger Company B, 
Connally said, "We are here because we are 
a few people left in the world who appre- 
ciate the sacrifices and courage of Captain 
Allee and other Rangers here today have 
made in the performances of their duty in 
protecting the lives and security of people 
of this state." 

Midlothian editor and Wanen Report 
critic Penn Jones, Jr., now faces com- 
petition from another weekly in his town 
of some 1 ,500 persons. 

Kountze editor Archer FuJlingim is re- 
covering at home from a heart ailment 
that hospitalized him for several days. 
Fullingim, in a recent column, speaks 
highly of the medical care he received but 
seems to believe most of the credit for his 
recovery goes to a prescription he had 
sneaked into the hospital, copied from a 
"doctor book" his father bought in 1 91 2, 
which called for one ounce each of milk- 
weed root, horseradish, mandrake root, 
black elder bark, juniper berries, root of 
the box elder, bark from the root of 
bittersweet, and a half-ounce of mustard. 


^Another Ben Barnes business note; the 
lieutenant governor, his business side- 
kick Herman Bennett (the Brownwood 
contractor), and Dean Dauley of Grand 
Prairie will build a $2.5 million, neariy 

Larry L King 

Wins Nieman 


Cambridge, Mass. 

Larry L. King, a contributing editor to 
Harper's and The Texas Observer, is one of 
12 journalists appointed for the 32nd class 
of Nieman Fellows for the academic year 
1969-70 to study at Harvard University. 

King, who will suspend his writing 
activities for the duration of his Harvard 
experience, will study American history 
and American literature. 

A former Midland and Odessa newsman. 
King now lives in Washington, D.C. Before 
beginning a free-lance writing career in 
1964, he served on Capitol Hill for a 
decade as an aide to former Cong. J. T. 
Rutherford of Odessa and Cong. Jim 
Wright of Fort Worth. 

He is the author of the novel The 
One-Eyed Man, and a non-fiction collec- 
tion entitled . . . And Other Dirty Stories. 
His book on rural America will be 
published by Viking Press of New York, 
and is currently in progress. Q 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 5 


the bother-me-later 
deal from pacifica. 

Pacifica Foundation is trying to start one of its listener-sponsored FIVl stations in Houston. Pacifica stations play 
what regular stations can't, don't or won't. The result sounds so interesting that where we're already on the air - 
San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York - a total of more than 40,000 listeners pay fifteen tax-deductible 
dollars a year for the programs and a monthly magazine about them. 

For the past seven months in Houston, Pacifica's money-raising volunteers have heard many words to the 
following effect: 

"I'll subscribe if the thing ever gets on the air, but don 't bother me now. " 

Okay, all you people like that. 

We've run up a new coupon, below. Our doubting-Thomas special. 

No station, you never hear from us. 

But if the FCC says yes, one of our teen-aged accountants will write you our call letters, frequency and on-air 
ate, asking you to remit $15 for four thousand hours or so of the most adventurous public broadcasting 

rankly, if Pacifica hadn't been running like this for twenty-one years, we wouldn't believe it ourselves. 

Dear Pacifica: 

I'll go along with this, because I think Houston could use a little Pacifica. If enough people like me 
pledge enough money for the FCC to approve iacifica's Houston station, you may bill me - and I 
shall pay — $15 for a one-year subscription to the programming. I understand I'll then get the 
monthly program Folio for a year, and that my gift, wtien made, will be deductible when I do my 
federal income tax. 

Signature . 

.City Zip- 


Adventurous Public Broadcasting 
1200 Bissonnet, Houston 77005 

The space for this advartlsement was contributed bv Bernard Rapoport, president of American 
Income Life Insurance Company, P. O. Box 208, Waco, Texas 76703. Mr. Rapoport sent in his 
fifteen dollars wav last June and has been so kind since that Pacifica considers him paid up until 
the middle of the twenty-ninth century. 


On Being Concerned 

Vanguard Years of Carl and Laura Brannin, 
by Miriam Allen deFord, published at 
Dallas, available through the Dallas Civil 
Liberties Union, Box 12371, Dallas, 58 
pages. S2.I0. 

A federal penitentiary was the 
more-than-possible risk. The year was 
1917. The times were utterly lunatic. And 
yet Carl Brannin wrote among other things 
in a letter to his draft board: "I am in 
receipt of draft questionnaire, form 1001, 
and am returning same unanswered. . . . My 
belief in the universal brotherhood of man 
leads me to be opposed to war and 
militarism. ... If there are those who 
would say that I am disloyal because I 
stand out for the rights of the individual, 
let me say that I detest the Junkers of 
Germany, Austria, France, the United 
States, and all other nations with equal 
fervor. . . ." 

By some miracle this improbable young 
man escaped imprisonment, was classified 
4-F because of underweight, and a few 
months later married a young woman as 
outrageously brave and slight and dedi- 
cated to good as he was himself. 
Whereupon Carl and Laura Brannin began 
their joint march through almost half a 
century, fighting along the way every 
possible right battle for decency, as 
formidable a pair of scrappers as the Devil 
himself is ever likely to meet. 

The deadly unemployment following 
World War I, the release of the war 
protestors from prison, the Sacco and 
Vanzetti case, the Great Depression, labor 
strife, race troubles, slums, ghettos, more 
wars, injustices of every hue and dimension 
ad infinitum, just name the good fight, the 
Brannins were in it. Just name the good 
group, the Brannins were in it: Carl was 
co-founder, for example, of the wondrous- 
ly successful Unemployed Citizens League 
of King County (Seattle, 1932), an 
Alinsky-type operation that long antedated 


BOOiyLATES. Free catalog Many beautiful 
designs Special designing too. Address: BOOK- 
PLATES, Yellow Springs 8, Ohio. 

YAMAHA: For the best sound-pianos-oigans- 
guiiars available at Amster Music 8l Art Center. 
17th & Lavaca. Austin. 478-7331. 

INCREDIBLE, REALLY, some of those stones 
what we have to work with: Jim Eastland, the 
Clarion-Ledger, Oie Miss, et al. Twelve issues are 
yours for a paltry S4. No stamps or Confederate 
money, please. Box 836. GreenviUe. Miss. 38701. 

MEMORABLE pictures. 8xl0'/i, JFK Dallas 
parade, plus Plaza-Depository florals. Both $1 
postpaid. Address: JES. Box 11073, Dallas, Tex. 


Alinsky. Friends of Roger Baldwin's, they 
were charter members of the ACLU. 
NAACP, ADA, their roster has been an 
alphabetical marvel. Not least effective 
among their pohtical activities have been 
their trenchant comments through the 
press in letters to the newspapers. Since 
1933, when they returned to Carl's native 
Texas to make Dallas the base for their 
fight for human justice, they have educated 
a whole generation of Texans in democ- 

Then, as if all of this in-fighting and 
tutelage were not sufficient cause for 
exhaustion, the Brannins were indefati- 
gable, fact-finding travelers, seeking out the 
larger context for their own passions and 
interests. They went, for example, to 
Mexico in 1922-23, on a trip to Europe 
and the Soviet Union in 1925 in order to 
see conditions for themselves. Lincoln 
Steffens had told them a couple of years 
before about the USSR, "I have seen the 
future, and it works." The Brannins went 
to see. Their letters and Carl's published 
reports on that trip, not included here, 
should certainly one day be made available 
to social historians as well as to other 
interested persons for they are too valuable 
not to be bound up in ready form. 

In later years, the Brannins traveled to 
the Scandinavian countries to check on 
that scene, to Switzerland (one presumes 
for a rest), to Alaska, to Mexico for a 
second, comparative look. Recently, since 
Laura's death, Carl has been to Italy, 
Yugoslavia, Greece, Austria, Poland, Rus- 
sia, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, 
the Orient, and the Near East, always in 
the same spirit of social and political 


After their first long trip throughout 
Mexico in 1922-23, during which Carl 
served as correspondent to a press service 
for labor and left-wing papers- the Feder- 
ated Press-the Brannins journied back 
up the West Coast from Salina Cruz to San 
Francisco, thence to Berkeley, where they 
settled for a time and eventually met 
Miriam Allen deFord, author of this 
biography, and her husband, Maynard 
Shipley. This was a fortunate meeting for 
us for Miriam deFord, a prohfic and 
distinguished writer who is also editor of 
The Humanist, has at last put Carl and 
Laura Brannin's record into the public 

This is a good, if too brief, book. There 
is a skeletal quaUty about it (a fact 
traceable, one knows, to publishing costs) 
but at least the facts are there, and the 
book is professionally and lovingly written. 
That It is written with love will surprise no 
one who has ever known the Brannins. Carl 
IS a "tough-minded" character, to use 
William James' phrase, and so was Laura. 
James, of course, was describing with his 
phrase the kind of mental and emotional 
poise that can view an imperfect, even 
hostile, world and yet find it good, 
sustaining, and worth giving one's soul to. 
Carl Brannin, at 80, looks about at the 
world with his sharp brown eyes, nods al 
its goodness, battles its evil, sets us all an 
example we none of us can ever quite 
mafch, and will be off next to check on 
only goodness knows where. These are 
magnificent people. This is a very good 
Utile book. 


Mrs. Nelson is a Dallas free-lance writer 
who says, "I was among those in the 
younger Dallas generation whom the Bran- 
nins influenced, " 

Country Music 

Country Music, U.S.A., by Bill C. Ma- 
lone, University of Texas Press, Austin and 
London, 422 pages. $7.50. 

A ustin 

About five years ago in discussion with 

Bill Malone and others, I remarked that 

modern country and Western music could 


THE THURSDAY CLUB of Dallas meets each 
Thursday noon for lunch (cafeteria style) at the 
Downtown YMCA, 605 No. Ervay St.. Dallas. 
Good discussion. You're welcome. Informal, no 

CENTRAL TEXAS ACLU luncheon meeting. 
Spanish Village. 2nd Friday every month. From 
noon. All welcome. 

ITEMS for this feature cost, for the first entry, 
7c a word, and for each subsequent entry, 5c a 
word. We must receive them two weeks before 
the date of the issue in which they are to be 

not seriously be considered folk music — 
that such people as Pete Seeger and Joan 
Baez were more representative as folk 
performers than Buck Owens or George 
Jones. Malone annihilated my point. I 
learned that the exact opposite was true, 
and never again did I doubt him as an 
authority on country folk music. Now all 
who are interested can comfortably learn 
about country music by reading Malone's 
book. Country Music, U.S.A. 

Born and raised in rural, religiously 
fundamental East Texas, Malone is natur- 
ally at ease with the subject. He was early 
exposed to country music by two older 
guitar-playmg brothers and a religious en- 
vironment that emphasized "old-timey 
singing." A guitar player and smger him- 
self, Malone has a voluminous repertory of 
songs. On several occasions I have heard 
him perform for hours without once re- 
peating a number. His deep affection for 
country music is clearly revealed on these 
occasions. He will discontinue playing if he 


finds his listeners are distracted; not simply 
because he is a sensitive person, but pri- 
marily because he believes the music to be 
worthy of genuine reverence. 

Malone is an unusual combination of 
both artist and scholar, as his book bears 
witness. He is a professor of American 
history and specializes on the South and 
cultural and intellectual history. He earned 
a PhD from the University of Texas, where 
he wrote a doctoral dissertation on the 
origins and development of country music. 
This book is an outgrowth of that study. 


lALONE TRACES country music 
from its Anglo-Celtic beginnings to its 
present, almost universal popularity. The 
early chapters are especially significant 
because of the heretofore woefully inade- 
quate scholarly attention paid early hill- 
billy music. Malone explains why the 
South became the natural residence of 
traditional folk music style, how country 
music was influenced by Calvinistic reli- 
gious attitudes, and how styles were trans- 
mitted from one rural region to another. 
He discusses the importance to country 
music of the revolution in transportation, 
the tremendous role the radio and phono- 
graph industry played in the development 
and spread of country music, the emerg- 
ence of the solo performer such as Jimmie 
Rodgers and Vernon Dalhart, the rise of 
the Hollywood singing cowboy, and the 
marriage of country music to the Western 
cowboy image. All of these factors and 
many others are carefully discussed. 

A valuable aspect of the book is the 
extensive biographical data presented on 
many of the early country music artists. 
An entire chapter is devoted to Jimmie 
Rodgers, commonly and properly referred 
to as the father of country music. Malone 
has given more serious attention to 
Rodgers than has any other single critic 
(including Rodger's wife, Carrie, who 
wrote a highly romanticized account of her 
husband's career), and he is the first to deal 
with him so intensively. Malone, who plans 
to write a biography of Jimmie Rodgers, 
points out that Rodgers sang essentially 
every kind of Southern rural song and also 
introduced "one that was a product of his 
own native environment" - the blue yodel. 
The influence Rodgers exerted on later 
country performers is nothing short of 
profound. Many popular contemporary 
country artists acknowledge their debt to 
the "blue yodeler." For instance, Ernest 
Tubb and Merle Haggard have both re- 
cently re-released old Jimmie Rodgers' 

The twenties and thirties saw the simul- 
taneous geographical expansion and com- 
mercial acceptance of traditional country 


GR 2-6879-Austin 
I Fee No More Than Offic 

Styles. Performers who thought their music 
had only a regional appeal found a still 
larger acceptance. Some country artists, 
such as Rodgers, the Carter family, Riley 
Puckett, and Uncle Dave Macon, found 
they could earn a living by performing on 
radio stations and giving live concerts. 
Nevertheless, the music by the close of the 

thirties continued to have a largely rural 
appeal. Other forces were at work, how- 
ever, which were soon to give country 
musicians a far greater audience. 

Gene Autry, a country performer well 
before his rise to film stardom, helped give 


The Texas Observer offers a book-ordering service through which members 
will be entitled to purchase ANY hardbound book published in the U.S.* at 
a 20° discount. Books will be mailed postpaid. 

A 1-year membership Is $5.00. If purchases during the 12 months do not result 
In a saving of at least $3.00 over the list price of the books, your membership 
will be extended until you do realize such a saving. 

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Observer will gladly accept, ot the list price, orders for any hard-bound book 
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Many of the books which might be of particular interest to Observer readers 
are available at the Observer office. A partial list of books in stock appears 
below. Other books will be ordered by the Observer and you wtll receive them 
directly from the publisher. 

Some Suggested Titles 





Larry McMurtry J 7 50 



Creelimore F<U< (ed.) tl2 SO $10.00 


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Tom Wlckir 



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504 WfST 24TH, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78705 


country music a "Western" image through 
his portrayal of a singing cowboy in mo- 
tion pictures. The honky-tonk was of even 
greater importance than Hollywood in giv- 
ing country music a Western cowboy 
appearance. Here, uprooted ruralites, 
moved to the city to find work, sought 
relief m dance halls. Country music was 
bemg forced to adapt to urban surround- 
ings. The noisy honky-tonks necessitated 
the adoption of electrified instruments and 
gave birth to western swing. Hillbilly music 
was being transformed into country music 
that now could be danced to in a new 

The war made country music a national 
phenomenon. As rural Southerners moved 
into industrial areas or joined the military, 
they carried their music with them. The 
immediate post-war years were the real 
boom years - country music then achieved 
"national popularity and profitability." 

V I HE POST-WAR period witnessed 

two-fold division in country music style. In 
the first place, traditional styles were per- 
petuated by such artists as the Stanley 
Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs, Kitty Wells, 
Grandpa Jones - and most important of all 
- Bill Monroe, who was directly responsi- 
ble for the emergence of the Blue Grass 
style. In the second place, other artists 
began to develop their own style, yet their 
music still reflected a strong rural country 
background. Performers like Eddy Arnold, 
Hank Thompson, and Webb Pierce marked 
a transition in country music by moving 
closer to popular music styles. "The indi- 
vidual who most successfully spanned the 
gulf between country and popular music 
was King Hiram 'Hank' Williams. ... (As 
much as anyone else,) Williams reflected 
the inherited traditions of the rural South 
and the forces that have strived to urbanize 

As country musicians yearned for 
greater popularity and financial success, it 
was to be expected that they would at- 
tempt to make their music more compati- 
ble with popular taste. In fact, country and 
pop music seemed to have successfully 
fused by the mid-'60's. Buck Owens did 
more than any other single individual to 
prevent the merger of country and pop 
music when in 1965 he made a "Pledge to 
Country Music." 

I shall sing no song that is not a country 

efuse to be kn 
country singer, 
m proud to be ; 

cord that is not a 
n as anything but a 
3ciated with country 

Country music and c< 

have made me what 
And 1 shall not forge; it 




Leo Nitch. Duectoi U 

Opposite Hancock Center 


Phone 454-4239 

This, along with a growing appreciation of 
the purity of genuine country music and 
the "urban folk revival," spurred many to 
retain the traditional country style. 

Malone points out that country music 
now depicts urban problems, not rural 
ones. The common working people - the 
truck drivers, the factory workers, etc. - 
constitute the modern folk. Yet country 
songs still reflect traditional folk themes. 
Songs about "death, rehgion, suffering, 
rejection . . . [strengthen] country music's 
role as the music of the common man." 

Students OF southern history 
as well as country music fans will find the 
book a valuable addition to their library. It 
is based on extensive research including 
personal interviews with many top country 
music artists. The bibUography and discog- 
raphy alone make the book a desireable 
purchase. References to more than 500 
songs are supplemented with footnotes 
that tell the reader exactly where he can 
find recordings. Each source is cited so that 
those who care to can undertake further 
inquiry. There is a 16-page collection of 
rare photographs of many of the early 
country musicians which provides addi- 
tional color to the book. 

Although this is certainly more than a 
simple pioneer study, Malone freely admits 
that many other areas warrant investiga- 
tion. Far too many historians state that 
their study is exhaustive and complete. 
Happily, Malone is above such pomposity. 
He frequently states in a footnote what has 
been done, specifies the residence of un- 
used materials, and suggests areas of devel- 
opment. Such honesty is more than un- 
usual and refreshing, but certainly helpful 
as well. 

Another characteristic that distinguishes 
Malone as a historian and writer is his quite 
noticeable attempt to be objective. When 
he differs from other informed sources, he 
is careful to make this admission and 
frequently amplifies upon the other opin- 
ion in a footnote. When examining the 
book, one quickly acquires the feeling that 
Malone has an encompassing grasp of the 
subject, and this usually tends to persuade 
the reader that Malone is most likely 

If there is anything disparaging to be 
said about the book, it relates to the 
somewhat extraneous attention devoted to 
the various early radio stations which, 
through broadcasting, helped popularize 
country music. Certainly the radio industry 
had a profound influence in creating an 
ever expanding interest in country music, 
but some may believe the point could have 
been meaningfully conveyed in less space. 
The same critics may insist that the book is 
too detailed in other areas as well. How- 
ever, Malone intentionally emphasized the 
significance of the commerciahzation of 
country music to explain the American 
success story that country music has devel- . 
oped into today. 

Added up, it is clear that Country Music, 
U.S.A. IS the most professional and pro- 
digious study undertaken to date. It cer- 
tainly merits the attention of all interested 
fans of country music and all serious 
students of Southern history. 

The writer, a student of and frequerft 
performer of country music, particulanly 
that of Jimmie Rodgers, is an Austin 
resident. He and Bill Malone have known 
each other for several years. 


Capital Gossip 

Washington, D.C. 

In always political Washington, specu- 
lation among the Texans about Sen. Ralph 
Yarborough's 1970 opponents turns 
mostly to Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes for the 
Democratic primary and Cong. George 
Bush of Houston in the general election. 

Yarborough is now maintaining a pun- 
ishing schedule of weekend speechifying in 
Texas. For instance, the long weekend May 
23-26 he made commencement addresses 
m Cisco and Tyler, dedicated a bath house 
in Marlin, addressed the postal clerks in 
Greenville, and addressed a joint session of 
the Legislature. Some people are telling 
him Barnes is saying he will run, while 
others tell him the contrary, but Yar- 
borough IS maintaining the position that 
he's not worried about that one way or the 
ether - he's "laying in hay for a long 

Barnes came to Washington earlier this 
spring and testified before the House Ways 

and Means Committee on behalf of the oil 
depletion allowance. Reporters observed 
Barnes and Bush, a member of this com- 
mittee, chatting amiably, and subsequently 
reports reached Bush that Barnes was 
saying that Bush had told him that he 
would not run for the Senate if Barnes did. 
Bush explains that all that passed between 
them was a friendly exchange of hope that 
they wouldn't wind up running against 
each other. 

"I am certainly considering this race," 
Bush says, "and my decision is going to be 
based on other than who is running. Barnes 
would be a formidable opponent, and I've 
already found out that Yarborough's a 
formidable opponent. But any report that I 
would step aside if Barnes ran is absolutely 
without foundation. I further doubt that 
Governor Barnes has said this." 

The establishment Democrats who are 
organized more or less around former Gov. 
John Connally have settled on Barnes as 


the best they've got in the way of well- 
groomed leadership material, whether they 
like everything Barnes has done lately or 
not. Barnes also has tended his openings to 
the left with a care reminiscent of that 
practiced by Lyndon Johnson. But he has 
not yet been put to the test of a tough 
statewide race against a well-known oppo- 

He has three principal options: run for 
the Senate against Yarborough in 1970, for 
the Senate nomination against Tower in 
1972, or for governor (either against Pres- 
ton Smith in 1970 or else, perhaps not 
against Smith, in 1972). If he ran against 
Yarborough he would sustain the poUtical 
wounds of a hard campaign and the abiding 
hostility of the liberal and loyal Democrats 
who identify with Yarborough. Even if 
Barnes won the nomination, he might lose 
the election as a result of liberals' prefer- 
ences, in such circumstances, for someone 
such as Bush. 

Bush hkes the life in Washington; that is 
probably the main reason he did not run 
for governor, and it gives him pause about 
running for the Senate again. He would like 
to be senator, but if he lost he'd be out. 
Yarborough has a large, loyal following, 
the chairmanship of the Senate Labor 
Committee, and a powerful place on the 
House Appropriations Committee. Beyond 
that. Bush again has to consider the way 
old-line Texas Democrats would feel about 
the prospect of being represented by two 
Republican senators. 

Oil Depletion 

Chairman Wilbur Mills of the House 
Ways and Means Committee says oil deple- 
tion will be cut and the use of oil "produc- 
tion payments" as techniques of tax avoid- 
ance will be ended. Oil-state congressmen, 
including those from Texas, are bracing for 
an attempt to send the tax bill back to 
Mills' committee with instructions to re- 
store depletion to the full present rate if 
the House has not already done so, and a 
Senate floor fight is inevitable. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Philip Hart's subcom- 
mittee on antitrust and monopoly has been 
giving the major oil companies the bends 
on tax policy, the oil import program, and 
prorationing. Texas Railroad Commissioner 
Jim Langdon, testifying on the industry 
side, vigorously upheld proration, of 
course. M. A. Wright, president of Humble 
(Jersey Standard's wholly-owned domestic 
operating company), admitted, in testi- 
mony before Hart, Sen. Edward Kennedy, 
and other committee members, that Jersey 
expects oil imports to double as a propor- 
tion of U.S. consumption by 1985. (They 
are 14% now; by 1985, Wright says, they'll 
be 24%.) This was bound to bring the 
Texas independents out fighting. 

Hart's subcommittee is well aware of its 
central purpose - to lower oil and gas 
prices and increase oil and gas taxes. The 
importation of cheap foreign crude into 
New England is only an aspect of this 

overall purpose. Therefore, the sub- 
committee might wind up making book 
with the Texas independents. For instance, 
the independents would not be nearly so 
hostile toward cheap foreign oil if they, 
themselves, could get a chance at some of 
it. Except for "historical importers," to get 
the oil import tickets now you have to 
have a refinery. 

$5,000 Is Over $2.50 

The national AFL-CIO brass and many 
others assembled in Washington at the 
Shoreham one recent night to honor 
Paul Douglas, the senator from Illinois and 
leader of the progressive bloc from 1949 to 
1967. Labor presented Douglas the Phillip 
Murray-William Green Award and a check 
for $5,000. Douglas graciously accepted 
the honor and returned the money. 

George Meany, president of the AFL- 

In My Opinion 

CIO, made a speech commending Douglas 
and was positioned beside him on the dais. 
Making the presentation, Joseph A. Beime, 
president of the Communication Workers 
of America, recalled that on COPE's score- 
card, Douglas had voted "right" 76-0. In 
fighting for "causes that were years away 
from winning," Beirne said, Douglas has 
been "a man ahead of his times, Uving in 
our times." 

Douglas said he realized his name was 
being used as a symbol of many who had 
fought the good fight, including his wife, 
his staff, and the progressive bloc in the 
Senate. Accordingly, he said, he had de- 
cided to return the $5,000. He asked labor 
to give it to four good causes which he 
specified. About half the crowd stood and 
applauded as he returned the check to 

While he was a senator Douglas put a 
limit of two dollars and fifty cents on the 
value of gifts he would accept. R.D. 

No Small Talent 

A ustin 
Odessa attorney Warren Burnett is the 
subject of a long article in the current 
Harper's magazine, written by Larry L. 
King, the Harper's and Observer contribu- 
tor. Burnett is probably one of the more 
impressive and effective of the young 
lawyers in the state these days and perhaps 
will one day contend for the mantle of 
Houston's Percy Foreman as Texas' leading 
trial and criminal lawyer. 

Foreman has very definite ideas about 
the rights of the accused, the quality of 
justice before the bar, and related con- 
cerns. Burnett has all these, but more, 1 
think, he is more inclined than Foreman to 
worry about broader social concerns - 
social justice. 1 saw this in Del Rio this 
spring when Burnett, having driven the 
long distance from his home, successfully 
defended more than 30 members of the 
Mexican-American Youth Organization 
who had been charged with parading with- 
out a permit. That day in Del Rio Burnett 
exhibited the concern he feels for what he 
perceives as social wrongs and the inequali- 
ties that Texas visits upon its dispossessed. 
He clearly had prepared himself with awe- 
some thoroughness, to the extent that the 
corporation court judge twice that day had 

to interrupt the proceedings to read the 
text of cases which Burnett had referred 

King, in the July 21, 1967 Observer, re- 
counted how Burnett won a reversal of a 
murder conviction before the U.S. 
Supreme Court while serving as a court- 
appointed lawyer for a black man. 

I believe Larry was quite correct when 
he writes in the Harper's article, of Bur- 
nett, "1 mused that my old friend was 
something of an American rarity: an un- 
common mammal who, though aging and 
prospering, grew more rather than less of a 
social conscience. One thought of many 
persons or institutions gone galloping in 
the other direction: Hubert Humphrey; the 
fat-and-happy American labor movement; 
the Irish and the Italian and the Jew who 
having attained a certain assimilation now 
begrudge the black man his own tardy rise; 
the nameless freshman Congressmen who 
came to Washington seeing young men's 
visions but who grew old and powerful and 
came to wish for little more than that 

Julv 4. 1969 



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• Dinners $1.15 to $1.45 

An operation of 

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1 607 San Jadiito 


tomorrow could be more like yesterday. 
No, growing was no small talent." 

Chicago's Press 

If you are among those who still are 
concerned and troubled about Chicago last 
summer, the Democratic convention, may I 
commend to your attention a thoughtful 
and carefully documented study of the 
Chicago press' reporting during that awful 
week? Nathan B. Blumberg, a professor of 
journalism at the University of Montana, 
was in the streets of Chicago those several 
days. What he saw on the streets and what 
he saw in the Chicago papers are the 
particular object of his study - as are the 
broader implications of contemporary U.S. 
journalism and the status of today's Amer- 
ican society. 

Copies of his article ("The 'Orthodox' 
Media Under Fire: Chicago and the Press") 
are available, at no cost, I believe, from the 
University of Montana, School of Journal- 
ism, Missoula, Montana S980 1, y 

Humble Citizens 

A "Harris County Voters Information 
Handbook" prepared for Houston area 
employees of Humble Oil recently has 
come to my attention. In the introduction 
it is stated that "Humble's public affairs 
policy . . . encourages employees to prac- 
tice full citizenship." The policy, as 
expressed in formal action by the com- 
pany's board of directors, includes the 
following passage: ". . . Campaigning for 
pubhc office and the holding of such office 
by employees are also recognized as being a 

part of their rights as citizens, although employee with relation to particular office 
there may be instances when the position is such that the exercise of these rights 
of the company and the individual might not be advisable." G.O. 


Sex in Auitin 

I just read Lee Clark's article (Obs., June 
20] on Texas legislators, and their alleged 
sexual activities in a somewhat collegiate 
atmosphere with playgirls playing house in 
Austin during the session. As a would-be 
legislator myself, I am shocked and dis- 
mayed on three counts. 

1. This article can only make a tougli 
competitive situation worse in Dallas 
County as far as getting into the Legisla- 
ture is concerned. 

2. Some of the more able but senior 
legislators will probably now find strong 
opponents among their hot-blooded con- 
stituents. The orderly governmental 
process can only suffer. 

3. This article may well result in a batch 
of new faces bearing disappointed looks in 
the next Legislature. 

I can only hope that the limited circula- 
tion of the Observer keeps the inbound 
traffic congestion to Austin to a minimum. 
Further, I hope that the Observer in the 
future will refrain from printing such 
obvious commercial propaganda of the 
Austin motel, apartment, and liquor inter- 
ests. It is most disappointing to see this 
sort of switch by a journal that until now 
has led the good fight against fraudulent 
trade-school advertising. 

Bill Stehr, 2809 Reagan St., Dallas, Tex. 

Rebuttal from Dallat 

With regard to Lee Clark's article "Every 
Legislator's Wife is a Virgin" (besides re- 
examining my views on the subject of 
parthenogenesis) I wish to take umbrage at 
the criticism of the legislator (obviously 
my husband) who, after having his progeny 
dispatched to Austin by his spouse, left 
them in the care of his secretary. I must 
emphatically state that my husband's secre- 
tary takes excellent care of the children 
and, further, that they are abidingly fond 
of her. Mrs. Clark's article has probably 
caused irreparable harm to a very advan- 
tageous babysitting situation . . . 

An Incensed Legislator's Wife. 

Normally the Observer does not print 
unsigned letters. We make an exception in 
this case. This letter was postmarked 
Dallas.- Ed. 

America the Beautiful 

Every June 6 I get an eyeful of patriotic 
editorializing in the dailies concerning the 
heroic efforts of American troops "who 
drove a wedge into the mighty fortress of 
German-occupied Europe." The troops are 

portrayed as 20th century knights who 
charged ashore for Gawd, mamma, and free 

When I look back, I see a 19-year-old 
infantry sergeant who after two years of 
college was pressed into service, indoctri- 
nated, and trained to be a killer for 
democracy. I see the great armada. I see 
the troops that overran Europe in the 
ensuing eleven months, and I remember the 
time when the orders were given and 
carried out - "Take no prisoners." Too, 1 
see my men shooting and thrusting 
bayonets into the bellies pf fair-haired 
young Germans, who pled for their lives. 
We were the heroes who won the day! 
Were we not fortunate to have had military 
leaders who trained us in all the skills of 
Atilla the Hun! 

Are not Americans thankful that we 
have continued such military efficiency so 
that our sons can kill in Vietnam with the 
effectiveness that we gallant knights 
displayed in World War II? 

Today's papers are filled with glad 
tidings of ABM systems, blood, generals, 
nuclear warships, hawks, and bombs given 
to us by the Almighty to preserve the good 
things of life and our wonderful way of 
life. I can hardly continue as tears well up 
in my eyes while I count my many 
blessings on this 6th of June, so I leave you 
with that memorable Army Air Forcfe cry 
of WW II - "Bombs away!" until next 
June 6. 

Dr. Louis E. Buck, D.V.M., 3116 
Wheeler St., Austin, Tex. 78705. 

A Seeond-Hand War 

Sen. Edward Kennedy really tightened 
the screws on the G.O. P. and President 
Nixon with his wonderful speech on the 
stupid slaughter of our men on Hamburger 
Hill. Thank God that Edward Kennedy is 
speaking out. 

Some say that this horror in Vietnam 
will soon be called "Nixon's war." Some 
say President Nixon inherited this war 
from L.B.J. I am prompted to ask this 
question: "Would you buy a second hand 
war from Nixon?" Some will buy a second 
hand war from this man but, again, mil- 
lions of Americans will not buy it. 

Nell Herrin, 7146 Timber Ridge, San 
Antonio, Tex. 78227. 

Dave Hickey, Inc. 

If Dave Hickey decides to incorporate, I 
want a piece of the action. OK, he's not 
perfect, but he sure knows the language 
and the lay of the land. 

J. D. Frazee, 5409 Darlington Lane, 
Austin, Tex., 78723. 


Texas' Welfaee Crisis 

Austin. — The Texas welfare system is teetering on the brink — and if Amend- 
ment No. 5, which would raise the maximum on welfare payments from the state 
treasury from $60 to $80 million, is defeated — the system will fall into very 
troubled Avaters. Aid to families with dependent children (AFDC), 10% of wel- 
fare expenditures in Texas, is the sore spot of the system. Because of a cut in 
May in AFDC, setting aid at $12.50 monthly per child, a federal court has 
issued an injunction against the state, asserting that if improvement is not made 
shortly (60 days was set as the deadline), aiU federal AFDC funds would be cut 
off. Since the federal government pays 81% of the state's AFDC of the money, 
such a cutoff on Washington money would be disastrous. Indeed, it could mean 
the termination of the AFDC program in Texas, since a provision of the state 
Constitution precludes payment of state funds for welfare unless there is federal 
participation. The only way to circumvent this termination would be for the 
Legislature to readjust and reduce the old age, blind, and disabled divisions in 
order to bring the AFDC up to a federally satisfactory level. Since the 60-day 
deadline is near, and the reductions would be politically and economically un- 
feasible, it is unlikely that these readjustments will salvage the AFDC program 
if amendment 5 fails. 

Texas long has ranked very low among the states in aid to persons on the 
welfare rolls. The modest program has become even more modest since last 
November, when increasing the Constitutional ceiling from $60 million to $75 
million was refused by voters. Many State Welfare Dept. officials believe the 
proposal was turned down out of an emotional desire not to "encourage illegiti- 
macy." Welfare Cmsr. Burton Hackney has countered that "ha\ang children 
could hardly be profitable at $12.50 per month." Further, he and other Welfare 
Dept. officials add, AFDC is but 10% of the state welfare program ; the other 
categories — old age assistance, aid to the blind, and aid to the permanently and 
totally disabled — make up the bulk by far, of welfare payments in Texas. Hack- 
ney says that if the welfare ceiling Is not raised by voters on Aug. 5, not only 
will AFDC be cut, but all welfare payments will be sliced further. 

The state welfare program is feeling the pinch at both extremes. The ceiling 
on payments is compounded by the rapid growth of welfare-eligible persons, due 
to increases in the state population, a liberalis^ed redefining of what constitutes 
permanent and total disability, and a federal court decision killing Texas' 
residency requirement of one year. The AFDC rolls alone in Texas grow at the 
rate of 3,000 a month. The squeeze on welfare funds meant, last May, that 22,000 
families received reduced payments, and 2,700 more were completely cut off. 

Inevitably, the squeeze on welfare funds means that dependent children are 
the ones who are deprived. Legislators are reluctant to cut old age assistance, 
aid to the disabled or blind because many of those recipients vote, while mothers 
of dependent children generally do not vote. However, mothers of dependent 
children are showing somewhat more political interest lately than in the past, 
for example conducting demonstrations. The effect of this so far has been, mostly, 
to further alienate the Legislature. 

Texas has 132,000 dependent children on its welfare rolls, 229,000 old age pen- 
sioners (who receive an average of $59 monthly), nearly 10,000 permanently and 
totally disabled ($60 monthly), and some 4,000 blind ($71 a month). What will 
happen to these people if the amendment is not passed is the question. The pro- 
posed increase in the welfare ceiling last fall carried in only 16 of the state's 
254 counties. But perhaps prospects are a bit l>etter than before due to the interest 
several of the state's leading newspapers (including both Dallas dailies) and 
teilevision stations have shown in dramatizing the problem. With passage of 
Amendment No. 5 Texas would net $41 million in new federal welfare money 
annually, AFDC would be tripled to $18 million a year, aid to the disabled 
and old age pensions each would be increased by $2 million annually. 

Senator Mondale. Our ether witness thds morning: is James D. 
Lorenz, of the California Rural Legal Assistance program. 

Mr. Lorenz, we are glad to have you here. We have 'heard many, 
many compliments about your program. 



Mr. LoREXz. Thank you, sir. We have about a half hour before your 
executi\-e session. I have submitted a written statement. 

Senator Moxdale. We will include your statement as though recid 
in the record and you may proceed as you wish. 

(Tlie statement follows:) 

Pbepabed Statement of James D. Lorenz, Jr.. California Rural Legal 


My name is Jim Lorenz. I am a member of the State Bar of California, am 
employed by California Rural Legal Assistance, a legal services program funded 
by the Office of Economic Opiwrtunity, and I provide legal representation to 
farm workers residing in various areas of California. 

Many of my clients feel that the law and 'the legal process will not help them, 
will not protect them, even though their legal rights have been clearly violated. 
"I never hear about law and order when my rights have been violated," a client 
said to me the other day. "If my disabled sister makes a mistake on her welfare 
application, gets cut off and then complains about it, she may get pro.secuted by 
the district attorney for welfare fraud. But if she tells him about being swindled 
by a travelling freezer salesman, he will tell her that he doesn't have enough 
time to take these consumer fraud cases." 

"I heard the Attorney General talk about law and order with justice the 
other night," another man said to me. "You know, I have even given up hoping 
for the justice part. I would just like a little law and order on my side for a 

Are these people talking nonsense? From my experience, I would have to say 
that they are not. Despite the work of many objective, honest, and committed 
lawyers, law enforcement officials, and judges, there is still a double standard in 
rural California about who gets law enforcement, against whom, on what basis. 
By September of this year, attorneys for California Rural Legal Assistance hope 
to document this thesis in a report entitled "Law and Order in Rural California." 
Today, I would like to discuss just ten instances where legal protections for 
poor people have broken down, in whole or in part, or is threatened. (Because 
some of the following cases are now being investigated, names of persons and 
places involved have been deleted. ) 

Case No. 1 

A man who has been arrested for shooting off fire works in a small town in a 
small county in the San Joaquin Valley goes to a private attorney for advice. 
Previously jailed for voluntary manslaughter, the man is concerned that, even 
though the present offense is a minor one, he will have the book thrown at him 
because of his prior record. After listening to his story, the attorney agrees to 
take the case for a substantial retainer and a cash deposit. A few days before 
the defendant is to zo to trial, the attorney informs him that he cannot repre- 
sent him. After the defendant pleads with the attorney to remain in the case, the 
afctorney finally agrees to remain in the case if his fee is substantially increased. 
The trial date is set over. Several days before the second trial date arrives, the 
attorney again informs the client that be is stepping out of the case. The same 
sort of anguished discussion ensues and again the attorney relents, agreeing to 
take the case, but this time, in addition to the fees already agreed to, he requests, 
and secures, a mortgage of the man's house. Despite the generous fees which are 
provided for, the attorney ends up losing the case anyway, his client goes to jail, 
and when the client gets out, the attorney seeks to foreclose on the house. 

Case No. 2. 

At a monthly luncheon meeting of one rural county bar association in Cali- 
fornia, a Superior Court Judge stands up, addresses the Assembly and attorneys 
and guests, and during the course of his remarks, thanks the local attorneys 
for not having availed themselves of the rights provided criminal defendants 
in a ease called In Re Smiley, even though they could have done so. [In Re 


Smiley, 58 Cal. Rptr. 579 (1967), provides that where the record is silent as to 
whether a defendant has been advised of his right to appointed counsel or has 
waived his right, he is deemed to have suffered a denial of his constitutional 
rights.] When the judge adds that the appellate courts have gone crazy in extend- 
ing the rights of criminals, (even though under our legal system, he is bound 
by law to respect and follow their rulings) some of the attorneys present may 
resolve not to make "unnecessary" work for the judge, even though they are 
under a professional duty to fully represent their clients' interests. And then, 
possibly, the judge may be more favorably disposed toward them in other cases. 
While I am not suggesting that the judge would i-each a different conclusion 
in such cases, there are many other ways he can be favorably disposed to "law- 
yers who are cooperative," by speaking to counsel in a friendly voice in a jury trial 
or by not holding counsel to the requirement that he submit a memorandum of 
points and authorities along with his petition for preliminary injunction, and 
so forth. In this county, you mig'ht say, the bench and the bar operate as some 
kind of club, and although the judicial machinery runs more smoothly, the rights 
of criminal defendants may be compromised. 

Case No. 3. 

In a town of 3,000 in the San Joaquin Valley lives a justice court judge who 
is a close relative of the local chief of police and one of the major owners and 
managers of a local collection agency and loan business. While the judge is 
careful to see that no collection matters involving his agency come before his 
court, many of the debtors doing business with this collection agency come before 
his court on other matters. Oan we suppose that the judicial process appears 
as a neutral, impartial presence in this small community? The judge's collection 
agency, we are told, has a high rate of successful collections, and is doing a 
lucrative business. 

Case No. 4- 

Directly to the south, in another county, the county welfare department sent 
out a directive providing that welfare recipients would be cut off welfare unless 
all children in their families 10 years of age or older reported to work. It is true 
that federal and state child labor law provide that no child under 12 can work — 
requirements invalidating the department's directive, but nonetheless, the order 
was enforced and some 15 families were cut off welfare when their small chil- 
dren failed to report for work. After some pressure was brought on the welfare 
department by our local attorney and a law suit was filed by us, the welfare 
benefits were restored. It was just a misunderstanding, the welfare department 
said. And yet, we and our clients are often told, "ignorance of the law is no 
excuse." Especially the child labor law, which virtually everyone knows forbids 
children under 12 from working. . . . Especially ignorance by public officials. 
. . . Five months later in another welfare dispute in the same coimty. the local 
district attorney prosecuted a female welfare recipient for welfare fraud. His 
reply, in part, to her argument that she didn't realize that she was putting down 
figures wliich were incorrect, was : "Ignorance is no excuse." 

Case No. 6. 

In a wealthy agricultural county adjoining the Sacramento Valley, where law 
and order is regularly discu.ssed in the newspapers, one of the county's largest 
farmers is notorious for repeatedly hiring illegal aliens. Two weeks ago, the 
Border Patrol apprehended nine illegal aliens who were on the grower's prop- 
erty, after we requested the Border Patrol to do so. Before they were deported, 
the illegal aliens told us that they had informed the grower at the beginning of 
their employment of their illegal status. During the fiscal year 1968, 151.705 illegal 
aliens were apprehended in the United States by the Immigration and Naturaliza- 
tion Service. For every illegal alien apprehended, at least two go undetected, 
officials of the Department of Labor have estimated. Thus, in any given year, 
there are approximately 450,000 wetbacks working primarily in American agri- 
culture, constituting approximately 20 percent of the primary agricultural work 
force. Of the illegal aliens who our investigators have been able to interview, at 
least 40 percent state that they are working for employers who know they are 
illegal aliens. Federal law specifically exempts employers from prosecution for 
hiring illegal aliens, although the illegal aliens themselves are subject to prosecu- 
tion. However, the federal exemption deals only with the mere employment of 
illegal aliens, and not with the transporting, feeding, and housing of illegal aliens 


by employers — services which were provided by the employer of the nine aliens 
who were apprehended. Nonetheless, federal prosecutors have i^ersistently failed 
to prosecute in such areas becauj-e, one has argued, such cases fall into a "gray 
area" of the law. One federal prosecutor has also admitted to a reporter of a 
California newspaper that such prosecutions would be politically unwise : there 
are just too many wetbacks hired by too many employers, he said. While care in 
launching prosecutions is to be commended, we feel that there is a solid basis for 
federal prosecutors to commence action against employers who knowingly hire 
and harbor illegal aliens. We doubt whether these same prosecutors would indi- 
cate a similar diffidence in prosecution, were students, black or Mexican-Amer- 
ican activists involved in such a comprehensive breakdown of law and order. 

Case No. 7. 

In 1968 and 1969. CRLA attorneys and investigators uncovered more than 5,300 
instances where California agricultural employers were in substantial and con- 
tinuing violation of health and sanitation requirements. Under California law, 
all of these employers are committing criminal misdemeanors. Nonetheless, in 
the three counties where violations were most rampant, criminal prosecution of 
such violators were almost unheard of ; very few investigations were even con- 
ducted by public agencies ; and where violations were found, local public health 
officials usually sought compliance by conducting "educational campaigns" in 
which they urged the growers to do better by their workers. As one of our clients 
commented, "The employers get educational campaigns when they break the law, 
but their employees get pro.secuted when they are in violation." It is our ex- 
perience that such educational campaigns had very little effect. Only after we had 
filed a number of civil complaints against these growers, had attempted to cut 
off all labor referrals to them from the Farm Labor Service, and had filed a 
series of written complaints the public agencies themselves, did local 
law enforcement efforts become more extensive. One state investigator told us : 
"If you guys weren't putting pressure on us, we wouldn't be out here investi- 
gating all of the.^e violations." And if we cease to apply pre.ssure, he and other 
officials indicate, many of the enforcement efforts would peter out. 

Case No. 8. 

A significant number of employers whom we found to be in violation of health 
and sanitation laws are now receiving agricultural subsidies from the U.S. De- 
partment of Agriculture. 

Case No. 9. 

Twice, in the last two weeks, a number of farm workers have been sprayed by 
crop dusters while they were working in the fields of a strawberry grower. Their 
employer does not make a practice of telling his workers what he sprays his 
field with, nor does he take various safety precautions to insure that they will 
not be subjected to such accidents, as he is required to do by various provisions 
of the California Labor Code. Moreover, when informed of such accidents, the 
State Department of Agriculture and the local Agricultural Commissioner have 
refused to release information as to what pesticides and fertilizers the grower has 
been using, even though such refu.sals are in violation of California's Freedom 
of Information Act. Not knowing what they have been sprayed with, the farm 
workers are unable to secure proper medication from local doctors ; for, as several 
leading medical experts have recently testified, doctors cannot provide adequate 
treatment for pesticide injury when they do not know what the ailing worker 
has been sprayed with. The result? An average of two farm workers die each year 
from pesticide poisoning in California, and the agricultural indu-stry in Cali- 
fornia has an occupational rate which is 50 percent higher than that of 
the next highest industry, and almost three times as high as the average disease 
rate of all industries. A significant number of these fatalities and injuries have 
occurred, medical exi>erts say, because of the lack of safety precautions by em- 
ployers (even those such precautions are required by law) and because of the 
general lack of information about i>esticides (even though the State Department 
of Agriculture is required to release such information). Violations of the law 
can be costly. 

Case No. 10. 

In almost all of the instances cited above, we have filed some sort of legal 
action on behalf of California farm workers. Largely because of our efforts to 
attack these recurrent violations of the law, I believe, we are said to be "harass- 


ing local farmers," according to certain powerful interest groups in California, 
and last week, one public official described us as "a bunch of beatniks" and "a 
force for social revolution," while calling on OEO to cut off our funds. The 
message is clear : If you are a legal aid agency in a large urban area, with a 
substantial black population, you will probably be able to vigorously represent 
your clients without endangering your federal funding; but if you are a legal 
aid agency in a rural area, where the poor are less organized, and where few 
powerful interest groups are involved, you may be cut off. Whether or not 
South Florida Migrant Legal Services is refunded — and this is still an open 
question — its staff has been decimated because of delays in funding, delays 
which have occurred because of attacks on that program. AVill the same thing 
happen to usV We trust that it will not, that is if "law and order with justice" 
has any meaning in 1969. 

What lessons can we draw from these ten cases? I wish we could conclude 
that simply by providing tougher criminal laws. Congress will ensure that the 
rights of the rural poor will be better upheld. But how can we reach this 
conclusion when laws now on the books are not adequately enforced on behalf 
of the poor? 

Nor can I say that money for more law enforcement officials would be help- 
ful to our clients when many of those officials fail to show commitment to law 
and order for the poor, as well as against the poor. 

Legal representation for the rural poor, from organizations like South Florida 
Migrant Legal Services and California Rural Legal Assistance, can prove help- 
ful, in bringing pressure to bear on illegal employers and recalcitrant public 
officials ; but we too are limited in what we can do. We can reach but a small 
percentage of the rural poor, probably less than 5 percent ; and besides, even 
when we do represent a client, our bargaining power is often dependent on his. 

We know, from three years of experience, that the law is, in some sense, a 
service, like any other service. The quantity and quality of service that is pro- 
vided to people is dependent upon what they can demand. In order to demand 
effective service from our judicial system, they must have power, power to 
demand of employers that they respect health and safety laws and rules for- 
bidding the hiring of illegal aliens ; power to demand of public officials that 
they will prosecute employers importing wetbacks, that they will release in- 
formation pertaining to dangerous pesticides, and that they will diligently 
enforce the field sanitation laws ; and power to demand of attorneys that they 
will fairly and fully represent the rights of the clients. 

Without such power, we will experience more of what we have now, where 
powerlessness breeds injustice, weakness invites others to violate the law, and 
people who are victims are continually victimized. 

In order for the rural poor to achieve some modicum of power and justice 
in this society, they need lawyers and laws, to be sure, but they need far more 
than this. They need steady jobs, which are protected from the threats of auto- 
mation and foreign competition. They need money to buy farms and houses and 
machinery. And they need the right to organize themselves into effective correc- 
tive bargaining units. Congress can provide these benefits, which constitute the 
sinews of power and the foundation of justice. But will Congress do so? Will 
Congress do more than hold hearings? The question rests with you. 

tFrom the Los Angeles (Calif.) Times, July 4, 1969] 

Unsanitary Conditions Cited — Coukt Upholds Jobless Man's Right To Refuse 

Farm Work 

(By Harry Bernstein) 

Superior Judge Irving Perluss ruled Thursday that a jobless worker was 
within his rights when he refused to accept farm labor work on grounds that 
most of such jobs are in volation of state health and sanitation laws. 

The court ruled that Mauricio Munoz, 31, of Salinas, is entitled to unemploy- 
ment benefits even though he refused to accept a farm job offered him through 
the California Department of Employment. 

The precedent-setting case held that the state agency has the primary respon- 
sibility for making sure that farm jobs are in compliance with health and sani- 
tation laws before requiring jobless workers to apply for such jobs. 


The unusual legal action was brought by California Rural Legal Assistance, 
a federally financed legal aid agency. 

Robert Gnaizda, CRLA counsel ^^aid "if the court decision is not api>ealed or is 
upheld as expected, it will mean the Department of Employment will have to 
simply certify that farm jobs do have one toilet for every 40 workers, for in- 
stance, sanitary drinking facilities, and in other ways comply with the law." 

A spokesman for the Department of Employment said no decision has been 
made on whether to apiieal Judge Perluss' ruling but that it could impose a 
serious problem of enforcement if the ruling is allowed to stand. 

Munoz, an insurance salesman, was referred for work at Salinas Strawberry 
Co., Inc., when he lost his insurance job. 

AVhen he turned down the referral, the state rejected his request for unem- 
ployment benefits because workers have to ac-cept "suitable employment" to 
qualify for jobless pay. 

Munoz, a former paratrooper and Korean war veteran, went to CRLA for 
help and the test case was filed. 


CRLA gathered statistics alleging that more than 90% of California farm 
jobs violated state health and sanitation laws. 

The legal aid group made a survey of 107 farms in the Salinas area and found 
1,869 violations ranging from lack of toilets to one drinking cup for entire crews 
of workers. 

Judge Perluss said that in industrial and business jobs, "actual participation 
through trial and exi>erience" by a worker is used to determine whether the 
jobs are in compliance with state health and sanitation laws. 

But this presumption cannot apply in agriculture, he said, because of the 
alleged widespread violations of the law and the long distances a worker must 
go from the job placement office to a farm to check on job suitability. 

Therefore, he said, because the state agency has more easily obtainable infor- 
mation about such work, the agency rather than the individual should make 
sure that the jobs comply with state laws before the individuals are sent out for 
such work from state employment offices. 

Munoz, who is married and has three children, is now employed by the Salinas 
School District as a counselor. 

[From the Los Angeles Times, July 31, 1969] 

Farmworker Caxnot Be Fired for Uniox Activity, Court Rules — Precedent- 
Setting Appellate Decision Handed Down in Case in Which Nine Brought 
Suit Against Salinas Growers 

(By Harry Bernstein) 

California farm workers cannot be fired for union activity, the State Court of 
Appeal ruled in a precedent-setting decision "Wednesday. 

Farm workers are now excluded from federal labor laws which, among other 
things, prohibits employers from discharging workers who form or join unions. 

Cesar Chavez' AFL-CIO United Farm Workers Organizing Committee con- 
tends that one major obstacle to organizing farm workers is their fear of being 
fired if they join him or his organization. 

Growers deny this but in August, 1967, nine farm workers brought suit against 
a group of Salinas area growers through California Rural Legal Assistance, 
contending they were fired for union activity. 

CRLA said the alleged discharges were illegal under a section of the state's 
labor code which, in general terms, declares it is the policy of California to en- 
courage collective bargaining. 

The men sought not only reinstatement, but damages from the growers 

If this is not overruled by the Supreme Court on a further appeal, CRLA notes 
that for the first time California farm workers will have protection against dis- 
charge for union' activities, just as nonfarm workers have under federal law. 

ORLA counsel Robert Gnaizda said, "It also will mean that California farm 
workers will have even greater protection because if they are fired, not only will 
they get reinstatement but they can sue the growers for damages. 

"The means the California Labor Code will actually afford more protection 


to the farm workers than if they were covered by the federal labor law," 
Grnaizda said. 

The case involves the Growers Farm Labor Assn., the Grower-Shipper Vege- 
table Assn., and Martin Produce Co. 

Martin entered into a settlement agreement which was itself unprecedented. 

The company agreed to guarantee lifetime employment to the workers in- 
volved in the case at the Martin farm subject only to "disicharge for good cause ; 
a guarantee of $4,500 a year annual minimum wage, and punitive damages of 

But the cases against the grower associations were not dropped, and it was on 
these cases that the Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday. 

The case now goes back to a lower court to decide whether the wx^rkers dis- 
charged were actually fired for union activity. 

[From the Los Angeles Times, July 23, 1969] 

CouET Opens Door for Challenge on Employing of Illegal Aliens 

(By Harry Bernstein) 

Unprecedented legal action has been started to punish growers who use 
Mexican aliens as farm workers. 

The California Court of Api^eal ruled Tuesday in Sacramento that attorneys 
for California Rural Legal Assistance (CRIA) may take statements from illegal 
aliens to show whether growers knowingly hired them. 

And the court also said the unusual legal procedure invoked by CRLA is "at 
least an open question" which could end up in forcing growers who use the aliens 
to pay damages and fines. 

At present, when growers or other employers are found using illegal aliens, 
the aliens are deported but there is no furtlier action. 

The CRLA, however, has decided to seek action against the growers in such 
cases by invoking California's civil code which prohibits "unfair competition" 
by businessmen. 

CRLA contends that it is "unfair competition" for a U.S. farm worker when 
he applies for a ,iob where an illegal alien (or wetback, as those from Mexico 
are called) is employed. 

A decade ago, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans crossed the Rio Grande 
along the Texas-Mexico border every year to work on U.S. farms throiughout the 
Southwest, while hundreds of thousands more crossed at other border points, 
including the California-Mexico line. 

This source of labior was sharply curtailed when the United States agreed to 
set up a legal Mexican farm labor import program which, in 1964, brought in 
about 100,000 Mexicans for farm jobs in California alone. 

That program, however, was killed in 1964, and since then growers have relied 
on U.S. workers, along with some so-called "green carders" who are Mexicans 
with U.S. work permits, and on the illegal aliens. 

Last year, the Department of Immigration's border patrols caught 151.705 
illegal aliens, but it is estimated that for every one caught in this country, at 
least one goes free. 

Robert Gnaizda, assistant counsel for CRLA, said in California alone, 37,945 
wetbacks were caught and deported by the border patrol. 

"We contend that if the wetbacks were not allowed to work on farms, all 
jobless farm workers could have been employed, and millions of dollars (would 
have been) saved in welfare costs which go to unemployed U.S. citizens," said 

In the past, he said, the failure of the government to take any action against 
growers who use illegal aliens, in effect, encouraged the growers to use the 

As a test case, two U.S. farm workers. Pedro Hernandez and Julio Martinez 
Alvarado, "have brought a class action suit on behalf of all American farm 
workers against Zukerman Farms, in San Joaquin Valley, where the two men 
were rejected when they applied for jobs early this month," Gnaizda said. 

"At the same time, we allege that Zukerman was knowingly employing wetbacks, 
nine of whom were caught in border patrol raids July 15," he said. 


CRLA is asking for $20,000 in punitive damages from Zukerman contending 
that tlie use of illegal aliens kept CRLA's clients out of work and also depressed 
their wages and working conditions when they are employed because the Mexican 
illegal aliens will work for less money than U.S. citizens. 

Gene Livingston, CRLA attorney from Modesto, said "The latest ruling from 
the Court of Appeal means any farm worker in California can bring charges of 
unfair competition against growers who employ illegal aliens." 

Management has denied knowing the Mexican aliens were in this country 
illegally. Those found on the Zukerman farm, near Stockton, are scheduled to 
be sent back to Mexico this week. 

[From the Nation, New York, N.Y., July 7, 1969] 
To Him That Hath . . . 

The National Council on Hunger and Malnutrition in the United States reports 
that the Department of Defense plans to spend nearly $4 billion in fiscal 1970 to 
feed an average of slightly under 3.5 million servicemen. A major part of this 
sum goes for labor, capital items, etc. For food alone the allowance is $1.7 billion, 
which breaks down to about $500 per person per year. Even allowing for the 
government's purchasing power this does not seem excessive, but the government 
has the same advantage in purchasing food for the poor, and under the Nixon 
Administration's present allocations the poor stand to get only $77 per person 
per year. 

The ratio of 6.5 to 1 may be regarded as reflecting the solicitude of any pru- 
dently managed, normally predatory government for its armed services ; but in 
another, purely civilian, area an even more more atrocious discrimination is 
practiced. Confronted with statistics on malnutrition in the United States, the 
average well-meaning citizen comforts himself with the thought that at least 
the poor kids get a good hot lunch at school. But do they? A story by Gene Blake 
in the June 4 Los Angeles Times, and some nationally collected data, indicate 
that they don't. 

According to a suit brought in federal court in San Francisco by the California 
Rural Assistance League on behalf of needy children in three counties, the state 
last year received $25 million in federal funds and commodities to subsidize an 
average of about 825,000 lunches daily in participating school districts ; but school 
ofiicials arranged to supply to all the children a lunch worth 55^ at a reduced 
price of 35^. Those who have the 35^ eat, those who haven't go without. The 
papers set forth that in one Monterey school district, one out of every two 
wealthy or middle-class children benefits by the program, but only eleven of the 
district's 803 needy children receive a free or reduced-price lunch, and three 
times as many teachers and other adults eat the cut-rate meals. 

The National Council on Hunger and Malnutrition estimates that since the 
National School Lunch program was inaugurated in 1946, more than $4 billion 
has gone to help the children of the well-to-do instead of the needy. Of more than 
$500 million expended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last year, it is said 
that $375 million, or 75 percent, subsidized the more prosperous children. It looks 
like yet another case of "to him that hath shall be given," although the author 
of that sad aphorism may have thought, in his innocence, that the very young 
might be spared. It would be refreshing if, just once, a program of this sort were 
operated for the benefit of those for whom it was intended. 

[From the Salinas Californian, Salinas, Calif., July 4, 1969] 
Court Rules Salinas Man Can Refuse Job Because of Unsanitary Conditions 

A Sacramento County Superior Court judge yesterday made a decision which 
could shake California's farm labor referral system to its foundations and compel 
statewide upgrading of field sanitation. 

Judge Irving Perluss ordered the State Department of Employment to pay 
two weeks' unemployment benefits to a Salinas man who refused to report to 
a farm job because he contended farm work in Monterey County is dangerously 
and consistently unsanitary. 



Judge Perluss, a former director of the State Department of Employment, 
reversed a decision by the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board 
and issued the i^eremptory writ of mandate sought by Maurice Munoz Jr., 30, of 

Munoz, a community counselor for the Salinas Union High School District, had 
been unsuccessful at the administrative level. His claim for unemployment was 
denied by the Salinas office of the Employment Department and by Unemploy- 
ment Insurance Appeals Board referee R. S. Heyer before the board itself ruled 
last November. 

Judge Perluss' ruling makes new law. The Attorney General's office has said 
it will appeal. 


Munoz was referred to work as a foreman for a Salinas Valley strawberry 
firm on April 25, 1968, by the Salinas farm labor office. But even though tem- 
porarily unemployed, he refused to accept the position. The denial of unemploy- 
ment benefits was based on his refusal, which came before, not after, an inspec- 
tion of the field to which he was referred. 

During the June hearing before Referee Heyer, Munoz rested his refusal 
squarely on his belief — based on past experience on Monterey County farms — 
that prevailing field sanitation conditions in the county are so poor that they 
endanger health. 

Munoz also said that had he been assured by the farm labor office that the firm 
to which he was referred complied fully with all field sanitation laws, he would 
have reported to work. He didn't get that assurance. 

The Employment Department, through the Attorney General's office, said a 
claimant such as Munoz has a legal obligation to investigate working conditions 
at a job to which he is referred before turning it down. It was also argued that the 
Employment Department has neither the investigative nor enforcement author- 
ity — or even the obligation — to make certain farm employers comply with state 
sanitation regulations before referring workers to them. 

Judge Perluss conceded that the burden of proving unfit \vorking conditions 
is usually up to the claimant in an unemployment insurance case. But he said 
the burden shifts in the case of agriculture. 


"The burden of going forward and ascertaining the suitability of agricultural 
employment should rest with the Department of Employment by virtue of the 
scattered fields of the prospective employer and the allegations of widespread 
sanitation violations," he said. 

Judge Perluss said the State Department of Employment had been violating 
its own rules. 

The decision, on its face, means that the Employment Department will have 
to be able to certify farm employer compliance with all state sanitation regula- 
tions before referring workers to them. 


Theoretically, the decision could shut down operations such as the Salinas 
farm labor office's day haul on Front Street until the referring agency can 
learn whether the farm employer to whom it refers v^^rkers is in sanitary 

The Attorney General's office may request a stay of execution of Judge Perluss' 
writ until the appeal process has been exhausted. 

California Rural Legal Assistance Attorney Robert L. Gnaizda, who, with 
colleague Martin R. Glick, represents Munoz, said today that "we \\'on't agree 
to a stay." 

Gnaizda said he believes the decision in the Munoz test case means that 
"growers will have an incentive to comply with the law. If they don't comply, 
they can't get workers." In any case, he said, "if everyone knows they have to 
comply, they will comply." 


[From the Los Angeles (Calif.) Times, July 4, 1969] 

Court Upholds Jobless Man's Right To Refuse Farm Work — Unsanitary 

Conditions Cited 

(By Harry Bernstein) 

Superior Judge Irving Perluss ruled Thursday that a jobless worker was within 
his rights when he refused to accept farm labor work on grounds that most of 
such jobs are in violation of state health and sanitation laws. 

The court ruled that Mauricio Mufioz, 31, of Salinas, is entitled to unemploy- 
ment benefits even though he refused to accept a farm job offered him through 
the California Department of Employment. 

The precedent-setting case held that the state agency has the primary respon- 
sibility for making sure that farm jobs are in compliance with health and sani- 
tation laws before requiring jobless workers to apply for such jobs. 

The unusual legal action was brought by California Rural Legal Assistance, 
a federally financed legal aid agency. 

Robert Gnaizda, CRLA counsel, said "if the court decision is not appealed or 
is upheld as exi>ected, it will mean the Department of Employment will have 
to simply certify that farm jobs do have one toilet for every 40 workers, for 
instance, sanitary drinking facilities, and in other ways comply with the law," 

A spokesman for the Department of Employment said no decision has been 
made on whether to api>eal Judge Perluss' ruling but that it could impose a serious 
problem of enforcement if the ruling is allowed to stand. 

Munoz, an insurance .salesman, was referred for work at Salinas Strawberry 
Co., Inc., when he lost his insurance job. 

AMien he turned down the referral, the state rejected his request for unem- 
ployment benefits because workers have to accept "suitable employment" to 
qualify for jobless pay. 

Munoz, a former paratrooper and Korean war veteran, went to CRLA for help 
and the test case was filed. 


CRLA gathered statistics alleging that more than 90% of California farm jobs 
violated state health and sanitation laws. 

The legal aid group made a survey of 107 farms in the Salinas area and found 
1,869 violations ranging from lack of toilets to one drinking cup for entire crews 
of workers. 

Judge Perluss said that in industrial and business jobs, "actual particiaption 
through trial and experience" by a worker is used to determine whether the 
jobs are in compliance with state health and sanitation laws. 

But this presumption cannot apply in agriculture, he said, because of the 
alleged widespread violations of the law and the long distances a worker must 
go from the job placement office to a farm to check on job suitability. 

Therefore, he said, because the state agency has more easily obtainable 
information about such work, the agency rather than the individual should make 
sure that the jobs comply with state laws before <^he individuals are set out 
for such work from state employment offices. 

Munoz, who is married and has three children, is now employed by the Salinas 
School District as a counselor. 

[From the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, Calif., June 14, 1969] 
The Two-Thirds Rule for School Bond Issues 

yuba city 

The State constitutional provision requiring a two-thirds majority for passage 
of municipal and school district bond issues was challenged here yesterday by 
three farm-worker families. 

iln es.sence, the suit filed against the seven members of the Yuba City Unified 
School District charged that because of the two-thirds majority requirement for 
bond issues in California each No vote is given twice the weight of each Yes vote. 

36-513 O— 70— pt. 4-B- 


Accordingly, contended Ascession Larez and Angle and Nacho Castillo, their 
vote has been diluted and debased and their constitutional rights violated under 
the Fourteenth Amendment and the "one man — one vote" rule. 

Attorney John Moulds of Marysville, a California Rural Legal Assistance 
council, said their case arose from the defeat of a $47 million school bond issue 
on May 20. 

Moulds filed the suit on behalf of the three, contending that as a result of the 
bond defeat, the children of the petitioneers are now receiving a "grossly in- 
adequate" education because of double sessions and school overcrowding. 

Then bond issue — ^which failed by a bargin of 57 per cent Yes to 53 per cent 
No — would have financed new school construction in the district. 

The suit asked that a writ of mandate be issued which would require the school 
board to certify that the school bond issue actually passed. 

The petitioneers "are entitled to have the bonds certified because to do other- 
wise would debase and dilute their votes in violation of the Fourteenth Amend- 
ment of the Constitution of the United States," the suit said. 

A hearing on their petition was set for July. 

Attorney Moulds said 96 school bond issues failed in California last year be- 
cause of the two-thirds majority requirement and that 79 of these would have 
passed if only a simple majority were required. 

Thity-two states now require a 50.1 per cent majority for the passage of bond 
issues, he said. Only three other states require such a restritciv^e majority as 
California does. 

[From the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., May 15, 1969] 

56 Counties Now Use Federal Food Aid Plan — Butte and Sierra Only Ones 
TO Turn Down Program for Poor 

(By Harry Bernstein) 

Federal programs to provide food for the poor have now been accepted in 
56 out of 58 California counties, a survey showed Wednesday. 

Court suits brought by the federally financed California Rural Legal Assistance 
spurred 19 counties to accept the food programs in recent weeks in addition to 
37 which already had them before the court actions were filed. 

This week Orange County joined other previous holdouts such as Riverside 
and San Bernardino counties in agreeing to use the federal food-help plans for 
the poor. 

iBut the food assistance was rejected by 3 to 2 votes in both Butte and Sierra 
counties Tuesday. 


CRLA attorneys Wednesday were still pushing a contempt of court action 
against U.S. Agriculture Secretary Clifford M. Hardin because he has not com- 
plied with a federal court order aimed at putting the food programs in effect in 
all California counties. 

Robert Gnaizda, CRLA deputy director, said "despite all the talk about sup- 
porting law and order Mr. Hardin still has refused to abide by the court order 
telling him to go ahead with the foQd plans in those counties where the super- 
visors have rejected it." 

Ironically, even though CRLA will continue to press the contempt case against 
Hardin, Gnaizda called President Nixon's recent food-for-the-hungry proposals 
"the most dramatic and specific commitment to end hunger ever proposed by an 
American President." 

SOME exclusions SOUGHT 

Butte County supervisors, in rejecting the food plans, did agree to look into 
the possibility of a "limited food-aid program which would exclude single col- 
lege students and hippies." 

Supervisor Jere Reynolds, who made the suggestion, did not define the 
"hippies" Butte County wants to keep out of the program. Chico State College 
is in the county. 

Butte County, about 50 miles north of Sacramento, has a 100,000 population, 
and CRLA estimates that a fourth of the entire population would be eligible for 
federal food help if the programs were in effect there. 


Butte now has an unemployment rate of 11%, and last winter it jumped to 23%. 

Gnaizda said it would cost the county about $15,000 to administer the federal 
food programs which county officials have rejected generally because they dis- 
approve of federal interference in local affairs. 

But, the CRLA official said, "just 14 growers in Butte last year received 
$127,179 in federal farm subsidies for not planting crops with no complaints of 
federal interference from the suiiervisors." 


Sierra County, the other holdout, said its tax base is depleted because two- 
thirds of the land is federally owned, and the government pays no taxes to the 

The Sierra County supervisors did agree, however, to consider putting the 
program into effect next year. Administrative costs of the program there would 
be about $1,000 a year. 

While CRLA officials praised Mr. Nixon's proposed food-for-the-poor programs, 
they called for "important modifications and expansion." 

At present, a family of five which needs an estimated $120 worth of food each 
month can get food stamps worth $100 if they put up $72 in advance, Gnaizda 

This leaves them short of their basic need, he said, and "Mr. Nixon's proposals 
would help because he proposed giving them the full $120 worth of food for $60. 

'^But even this is too much, and it has to be paid in advance." 

[From the Sacramento Bee, Sacrajnento, Calif., Apr. 24, 1969] 
TJNKUH Pleads fok Farm Worker Unemployment Insurance 

Assemblyman Jess Unruh, one of the state's most powerful politicians, harked 
back to his days as a cotton picker in Texas as he pleaded for approval of his 
bill bringing an estimated 260,000 farm workers under the state's unemployment 
insurance program. 

He made his plea yesterday afternoon before a subcommittee of the Assembly 
Finance and Insurance Committee. 

The subcommittee took his bill, AB 1204, under submission. This is the same 
treatment the subcommittee gives all such bills every year. Eventually, it is 
expected to approve one of the bills — or a combination of the bills. 

Last year the full Assembly approved a bill similar to AB 1204, but the legis- 
lation died in a Senate committee. 

URGES national SCOPE 

Unruh, former Assembly speaker and a potential Democratic candidate for 
governor next year, took note of recommendations from farm groups that Cali- 
fornia should not go it alone in granting unemployment insurance to farm 
workers because this would cost farmers more money and put them at a com- 
petitive disadvantage with farmers in other states. 

Farm groups say such legislation should be on a national basis. 

Unruh called for California to take the lead in offering the benefit to the farm 
workers. He was joined by a fellow Los Angeles County Democrat, Assembly- 
man Bob Moretti, a committee member, who said "California has been first 
before and I would be proud if we could he first on this." 


Moretti said Hawaii has a program of unemployment insurance for farm 
workers but he called it a "farce — you can only get it at harvest time, when 
there's work and you don't need it." 

The subcommittee chairman, A.ssemblyman William M. Ketchum, R-San Luis 
Obispo County, a farmer, said he hopes a bill can be put together by the sub- 
committee which will be acceptable to farmers, the Teamsters — who are sup- 
porting Unruh's bill — and the AFL-CIO, which is supporting a similar bill. 

Farm workers from Sacramento and Tulare County spoke in support of Unruh's 
bill, as did representatives of the California Church Council and California 


Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., which has gone to court to try to force the state 
to offer unemployment insurance to farm workers. 

Speaking agains it were representatives of California Employers and the 
California Farm Bureau Federation. 


Tom Harris, representing the Teamsters, said farmers get more money in sub- 
sidy payments from the government than farm workers would get in unemploy- 
ment insurance. 

Harris and others also spoke of the savings which would accrue in welfare 
payments if farm workers could get unemployment insurance. The CRLA esti- 
mated the savings could run as high as $20 million. 

Willard Z. Carr Jr., of California Employers, however, contended nearly all 
of those on welfare are not capable of farm work. 

[From the Register-Pajaronlan, Watsonville, Calif., Apr. 12, 1969] 
Issue Focuses on Field Sanitation — Toilets too Filthy to Use 

A suit pending in federal court in Sacramento could make drastic changes in 
sanitation facilities for farm workers provided by Pajaro Valley's growers. 

On April 30, in the court of Judge Gordon D. Schaber, the State Department 
of Employment must show cause why it should not be prohibited from referring 
workers to farms which do not maintain proper sanitary conditions. 

A suit filed by Mauricio R. Munoz, 31, a former Salinas farm worker and field 
foreman, triggered the hearing. 

Munoz, represented by Robert Gnaizda of the California Rural Legal Assist- 
ance, said he had been denied unemployment compensation because he insisted 
on a guarantee of adequate sanitary facilities before he accepted a farm field job. 

The worker's complaint explains he did accept an assignment on a Salinas 
Valley farm three weeks before he made his demand for proper sanitary facilities. 

"That employer turned out to be in flagrant violation of field health and sanita- 
tion laws," according to Munoz. "The toilets were too filthy to use. Dogs shared 
with 60 workers the only faucet providing water." 

Munoz said that because of his complaint that employer was cited by the 
Salinas Health Department, but "the grower continues to use the services of the 
Department of Employment." 

Gnaizda cited figures which asserted Salinas Valley growers last year violated 
health and sanitation laws in 1,869 instances. 

The worker's complaint states, "The (State) Farm Labor Office is fully funded 
by the U.S. Dei>artment of Labor which specifically prohibits the department from 
referring any farm workers to any grower in violation of any federal, state or 
local law, including health and sanitation laws." 

Munoz said he had been told by the manager of the Salinas Farm Labor Office 
that in more than 20 years experience he could not recall denying farm workers 
to any employer "no matter how many worker health violations he committed." 

[From the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, Calif., Apr. 5, 1969] 

A Fired Teacher's Victory in Court — Job Restored 

(By Michael Harris) 

Federal Judge Alfonso I. Zirpoli ordered Gonzales Union High School officials 
yesterday not to dismiss a young Teacher Corps trainee who helped her students 
form a chapter of the Mexican-American Youth Association. 

Paula Alvarez, who was fired last month, prote.sted that her troubles started 
when militant students in the rural Monterey county community began .'Jhowing 
up in class last November with buttons saying, "Boycott Grapes" and "The 
Grapes of Wrath Revisited." 

The school board promptly passed a resolution banning the wearing of buttons, 
badges or ribbons "that might be considered infiamraatory or indecent in nature." 

In her complaint, Mrs. Alvarez said she and her husband, Mario, also ran into 


trouble with school authorities when they took students for visits to San Jose 
State College in an effort to persuade them to continue their educations. 

She was told by her superiors, she said, there had been "complaints by several 
teachers of the changing attitudes of the students who had gone on the trips." 

Mrs. Alvarez said she stopped taking potential college students to San Jose 
State during school hours but made trips on weekends and in off-hours during 
which 35 Gonzales High School students applied for college. 

"I'm afraid you're rocking the boat," Mrs. Alvarez quoted a school authority 
as telling her. 

She complained she was also criticized for encouraging students to participate 
in skits stressing their pride in their Mexican-American heritage. 

The .school's enrollment is approximately 70 percent Mexican-American. 

Mrs. Alvarez and her husband, who was fired last month from his duties as a 
school-home liaison representative, are represented by San Francisco Supervisor 
Robert Gonzales and California Rural Legal Assistance. 

They went to court, said Ralph S. Abascal, a California Rural Legal Assistance 
lawyer in Salinas, only after appeals by students and parents to rehire the couple 
were rejected by the school board. 

In granting a temporary restraining order in Mrs. Alvarez' case. Judge Zirpoli 
said the school authorities were "re.strained . . . from refusing to restore plain- 
tiff Paula Alzarez to her former position as a Teacher Corps intern." 

A full hearing on whether to make the order permanent will be held in San 
Jose on April 15. 

School Superintendent Richard G. Force said he didn't know whether Judge 
Zirpoli's order meant he would liave to restore Mrs. Alvarez to her job when 
school reoi>ens Monday. 

"When we went into the Teacher Corps program, we were told a district could 
request a transfer of an intern at any time without giving any reason whenever 
we felt it was in the best interests of the school," Force :;aid. 

"I feel the people of our district, esi>ecially the Mexican-Americans, are behind 
our trustees." 

Force said all five trustees are, as he described them, "Anglos." 

Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez are also asking for $25,000 punitive damages each. 

[From the Independent, Long Beach, Calif., Mar. 28, 1969] 
Time To End "Don't Work" Welfare Rule 

No man should be penalized by government for working at an honest job. 

Yet Francisco Tarin, a 46-year-old father of 12, is suing federal, state and 
Santa Clara County officials on a charge that the welfare system does exaclty 

Tarin received $424 a month in welfare payments when he was out of a job. 
In February he began to work full time picking mushrooms, earning $308. Even 
though that is $116 less than he would have received for staying at home, he 
now faces a total cut-off of welfare assistance for himself and family. 

The reason is the notorious "Don't Work Rule" which prohibits medical or 
welfare aid to needy children whose fathers work full-time. 

According to the complaint filed by California Rural Legal Assistance and the 
San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation, the rule for admin- 
istering Aid to Families with Dependent Children amounts to "arbitrary and 
invidious discrimination without any basis in logic or in fact." 

We do not presume to pass on the merits of this particular lawsuit, but there 
is obviously something wrong with a system that rewards job evaders. The argu- 
ment that public welfare should not guarantee minimum earned income is 
nonsense. Public welfare .should mean as much to hungry children when the 
head of the household is working as when he is jobless. 

Perhaps the ban on supplementary aid will come before the Assembly Com- 
mittee on Health and Welfare, which has scheduled hearings on welfare 
reforms. The "Don't Work Rule" is just one of many welfare conflicts and defects 
which deserve the attention of federal as well as state lawmakers. 


[From the Imperial Valley Press, El Centro, Calif., Jan. 1, 1969] 
OBLA-IID Suit Top '68 Stoey — Quake, Animals Highlight Yeae 

(By Jim Cooper) 

In the Valley 1968 has left its mark. The day-by-day result of its passing has 
been reported in the pages of this newspaper ; and now that all 366 days have 
passed (it was a Leap Year) it is only natural that a review be made of the 
effects of 1968 upon the Valley. 

Probably the most important single event transpiring in the Valley in 1968 — 
the event which could conceivably have the most far-reaching effects upon Valley 
residents — occurred Monday, Nov. 25, when the Galifornia Rural Legal Assistance 
filed suit against the Imperial Irrigation District. 

The ORLA's suit listed three causes of action against the district : they claimed 
that the IID's five electoral divisions were illegally proportioned and that people 
were not getting equal representation ; they claimed that people receiving IID 
services were being illegally deprived of their voting rights simply because they 
resided outside of the established electoral divisions ; and they claimed that the 
resulting malapportionment of voters meant that water and ix)wer rates bene- 
fited large rural landowners, with power rates being considered too high, and 
water rates too low. 


The II'D has not as yet filed an answer to the suit. 

[From the San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco, Calif., Dec. 31, 1968] 
U.S. Court Demands Food for Hungry Californians 

U.S. District Judge Stanley Weigel has ordered federal and state oflScials to 
immediately provide a food stamp program for all needy Californians. 

His order yesterday sets up a panel of three federal di.strict judges to study 
constitutional questions involved in setting a precedent tiiat may apply to all 
other states. 

In a hearing Dec. 23, attorneys for the California Rural Legal Assistance pro- 
gram argued 16 of the state's counties have no food stamp iwogram. 


Judge Weigel's order was based on stipulated findings that : 

There is substantial hunger in California counties not implementing federal 
food programs. 

Federally owned surplus food is available to feed the hungry in the state. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a surplus of $300 million which can 
be used to feed the hungry throughout the United States. 

Attorneys for the CRLA said Judge Weigel's order marks the first time such 
action concerning the food stamp program has been taken, although petitions 
have also been filed in 26 other states. 

Thirty San Benito County farm workers and their families and others sup- 
porting the program took part in the local hearing. 


According to the attorneys the evidence at the hearing showed there was 'a 
substantial amount of hunger in California counties Avithout federal food stamp 

One witness, Alejo Hernandez, a farm worker and father of nine testified he 
earns less than people on welfare receive and has less available for food for his 
children than is spent in the state annually for seeing-eye dogs. 

Another witness, Mrs. Alta Hernandez, a widow and mother of five, said she 
spends 65.9 percent of the family's limited income for food, while the average 
middle class family spends only 20 peiT-ent of its income. 

Judge Weigel's order set no date for the three-judge panel to meet, but his 
order was effective immediately. 



The CRLA attorneys petitioning the court are Robert Gnaizda, Martin Glick 
and Don Kates, Jr. 

Eariy this month, Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman announced in Wash- 
ington the food stamp program will be liberalized so the poor can buy more food 
for less cash. 

He said that more than 500,000 per.=ons would be affected and that the policy 
changes would cost an additional $14 million during the rest of the fiscal year 
ending June 30. 

A family of four in the South, with a monthly income of under $30, now can 
buy $48 worth of food for $2 in stamps. This ranges up to $G0 in food for $26 
worth of .'Stamps for a family in the $60-$70 monthly income category. 

Beginning in February, the range will be increased from $58 worth of food for 
$2 in stamps, to $62 worth of food for $24 in stamps. 


In the North, a four-person household with monthly income less tlian $20 
now receives $52 worth of food for $2 in stamps, or $66 worth of food for $28 
in stamps at the top of the range. 

Under the liberalized plan, $2 in stamps will buy $60 worth of food for the 
poorest families. Those in "higher income" brackets of $60-$70 a month will be 
able to buy $66 worth of food for $26 in stamps. 

In the past, the 16 counties without food programs have contended the decision 
on using federal food supplies rests witli the county board of supervisors. 

During the court argument. Judge Weigel said the fact of discrimination ap- 
peared obvious when federal food was supplied to a needy person in Santa Clara 
County but not to a similar iierson in San Benito County. 

[From the Modesto Bee, Modesto, Calif., Dec. 15, 1968] 
Minimum Wage Order Creates Dilemma 

Although courts have ordered California growers to pay back wages to make 
up the difference in a new minimum wage ordered last Feb. 1, millions of dollars 
may never reach the farm workers' pockets. 

The new minimum wage of $1.65 an hour for women and $1.35 an hour for 
minors was ordered last month after most of the harvest was completed and 
the transient labor force had returned home. 

Most farmers who did not pay the minimum wage are not i>articularly anxious 
to pay the back wages, and the state agency charged with enforcement of the 
new minimum wage is not equipped to enforce the back payments. 

Rae Codoni, secretary-manager of the Growers Harvesting Committee of 
Stanislaus and Merced Counties, feels, as do most grower's representatives, that 
most women and minors were paid at least the minimum wage for most farm 
work in the San Joaquin Valley last .season. 

But last season officially escaped the new wage minimums when several 
growers associations sought and won injunctions preventing enforcement the day 
after the State Industrial Welfare Commission ordered the new higher wages. 


The injunction was lifted last month by an appeals court decision, the result 
of action by the Modesto office of California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., and 
the state attorney general's office. The CRLA represented two women on behalf 
of women farm workers in the state, said to number 100,000. 

The enforcement dilemma has just begun. 

The Division of Industrial Welfare, charged with enforcing the three new 
wage orders and 11 other wage orders, has only 48 field workers working from 
19 offices to cover the state's nearly 3 million workers and 400,000 employers. 

This actually is the first time the division has had to enforce a minimum wage 
for farm work. In 1963, when the minimum wage for women and children was 
set at $1.35 an hour and $1.05 an hour respectively, the same grower associations 
sought and won an injunction preventing enforcement. 


The appellate court in San Francisco, which heai*d testimony on the 1963 order 
last month, is expected to hand down a decision covering the past five years 
soon. If the court rules in the state's favor, and upholds the minimum wage order, 
millions of dollars and thousands of other workers may be involved. 

Virginia Allee, chief of the division, said, "it is impossible to tell" how many 
workers may be affected. She said she is "reasonably sure" employers have been 
paying the minimum wage or more. 


Miss Allee said estimates of the number of agricultural employers in the state 
range from 67,000 to 100,000. 

Tom Richardson, secretary of the California Farm Bureau Federation ; said 
agricultural employers were warned in advance to be prepared to pay the 
differentials in case the decision went against them. 

Richardson, in an article in this month's California Farm Bureau Monthly, 
warns growers "only the Division of Industrial Welfare has the authority to 
enforce these orders." He said the reminder was necessary because several 
County Farm Bureaus had been contacted by CRLA staff members. 

John P. Kelly, co-directing attorney for the Modesto CRLA, said his oflSce has 
not contacted individual growers, but has taken the role of an enforcement agenc.y 
by making an efifort to obtain claims from individual farm workers who may have 
been underpaid last season. 

Kelley said one woman in Patterson listed eight growers who employed her 
last season for less than the $1.65 hourly minimum. 


In Stanislaus County there are about 2,100 agricultural employers. Stani.'jlaus. 
San Joaquin, Tuolumne, Calaveras Amador and Alpine Counties are covered by 
the Division of Industrial Welfare Stockton ofiice at 31 E. Channel St. 

The six counties are served by one agent, Thomas Hardwick. The office has 
one vacancy created by the retirement of another agent. Miss Allee has indicated 
additional agents may be hired to help try to enforce the new wage order. 

Hardwick is in Modesto on W^ednesdays in the Beaty Building at 1016 J. St. 
to receive and service claims by farm workers. 

A claim from one farm worker entitles Hardwick to open the books of the 
grower involved and demand back payments to all employes who were not paid 
the new minimum. 

However, another problem of enforcement is record keeping by some growers 
and farm labor contractors which does not show the hourly rate for piece work. 

The new order says 80 percent of the workers in a field on piece rates should be 
paid the minimum hourly wage. 


Hardest hit by the new minimum will be berry growers. 

[From the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif., Nov. 15, 1968 ]i 

Pay Women More, Growers Ordered 

(By Habby Bernstein) 

California growers were ordered Thursday to boost their minimum wage for 
women by 35 cents an hour, retroactive to last Feb. 1, and the order could quickly 
affect male farm workers, too. 

Sheldon Greene, counsel for the California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), 
predicted that the order will mean "between $5 million and $10 million in back 
wages for California farm workers." 

The order was issued by the 3d state Court of Appeal in San Francisco. It 
affects only women and minors covered by the minimum wage laws of California. 
Men are not covered by the state law and the federal minimum wage law and 
the federal minimum wage law which affects both men and women is now just 
$1.15 an hour, going to $1.30 in January. 


The state minimum wage now is $1.30, but goes to $1.65 under the new order. 

Greene .said while only 100,000 women and an undetermined number of minors 
are now involved by the latest order, CRLA is planning to try to force coverage 
of male workers as well under federal antidiscrimination laws. 

"Federal laws say it is illegal to discriminate against a person because of 
sex. and we .say it is discrimination to require growers to pay $1.65 an hour 
minimum to women and not men," Greene said. 

Mrs. Virginia Allee, head of the California Industrial AVelfare Division, said 
Thursday night that growers will be expected to pay immediately any back 
wages owed to workers. 

The orders apply to workers in commercial packing sheds in towns, sheds in 
the fields, and field workers. 

The rate for boys and girls under 18 is $1.35 an hour, not $1.65, but in most 
cases all women and minors are entitled to overtime pay after eight hours a 
day or 48 hours a week. 

One exception is for minors working in the fields. They are not entitled to over- 
time pay Avhen they work beyond eight hours a day or 48 hours a week. 

Legal Services Gkoup Sues to Aid Farm Workers 

Sax Francisco. — A suit seeking to bring an estimated 1.5 million domestic 
farm workers in the U.S. under the protection of unemployment compensation 
laws has been filed in the U.S. District Court here by the California Legal As- 
sistance, a poverty-aid legal group. 

The suit was a class action technically brought on behalf of farm workers 
across the country, though it bears down heavily on California conditions where 
agricultural laborers are currently engaged in a bitter unionization drive. Listed 
as specific plaintiff — representatives of all farm workers were two Castroville, 
Calif., men, Antonio Dorado, 56, and Ramon Romero, 53. 

Named as defendants were U.S. Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz, California 
Employment Director Peter Weinberger, and four other federal oflBcials. The 
suits requests an injunction to compel the U.S. government to collect federal 
unemployment tax funds for farm workers. 

District Judge Albert C. Wollenberg set November 27 for a show cause hear- 
ing on a preliminary injunction. 

The legal assistance group said in the complaint that farm workers were 
not covered when the original federal statute was encated in 1935 because 
agriculture was then a predominantly small — family affair. Today, the com- 
plaint added, farming is a mechanized business dominated by million-dollar 
farms to which rules applicable to other industries should apply. 

It is economically feasible to cover farm workers, the complaint added, since 
the federal unemployment fund has an asserted $10 billion surplus, including 
$1 billion in California. This means, the complaint continued, that if farm 
workers are included in unemployment compensation, California, for example, 
would still have a surplus of about $75 million in its share of the fund. 

Basically, the suit calls for a reinterpretation of the controlling federal law 
to allow coverage of farm laborers. 




1212 Market Street 
San Francisco 94102 

September 1969 


I ABLE OF C P n T E n T S 












One Saturday night in early December 1968, three 
teen-age Mexican boys are busy driving around the small tov/n 
where they live, looking for something to do. Like the town 
of 1500 where they live, filled as it is with the acrid smell 
of nitrate chemicals and decaying cow manure, the names and 
addresses of these boys would not come to our attention, 
except for a series of incidents which occur this evening. 
Observing a number of people in front of the town fire house- 
gas station, the boys alight from their automobiles, join the 
gathering, which turns out to be a party. Obtaining permission 
from the hostess, they commence eating chicken — until the 
host arrives, accuses the boys of being members of a gang 
which has been vandalizing his trucks, (the host is a grower, 
the boys are farm workers) and an altercation ensues. The 
host swears at the boys and they swear at him. He telephones 
the deputy sheriff, and signs a complaint for the arrest of 
the most vocal of the three boys, whom we shall call Manuel 
Ybanez. (As his attorneys, we withhold his real name in order 
to furnish him some measure of privacy.) Apparently in the 
view that Ybanez ' s ascerbic language is somehow more dangerous 
to people than that of the host, Ybanez is charged v;ith the 
use of profanity in front of children and women, an offense 
which is punishable under the California Penal Code, and is 
locked up for the weekend. When he is arraigned In Justice 

- 1 - 


Court the ensuing I^Ionday , the Justice Court judge denies him 
bail and orders him incarcerated until his trial the follov;ing 
week, noting that Ybanez, previously adjudged guilty of petty 
theft, has violated the terms of his probation. At his trial, 
Ybanez pleads guilty, and is sentenced to 180 days in jail. 
The record of the trial indicates Ybanez is provided v;ith a 
translator and a lav;yer at the trial, but does not reflect the 
comments of the judge who, fulminating about juvenile 
delinquency Mexican-American youths in Ybanez 's town, 
declares his intent to make an example of Ybanez. As he 
leaves the courtroom, Ybanez v/onders if he is being punished 
for the Saturday night incident or for various unspecified 
offenses by persons not then present before the judge. One 
hundred eighty days in jail for having sworn at a grower? 

Finding her son in jail, Ybanez 's mother requests 
help from an attorney employed by California Rural Legal 
Assistance (who we shall call "Jones"). Jones is surprised when 
he investigates the facts of the case. According to the re- 
cords of the Justice Court, Ybanez's probation expired two mionths 
before the Saturday night arrest, which means that his subse- 
quent incarceration for violation of probation is patently 
illegal. Moreover, when Jones mentions the Ybanez case to 
the lawyer who was reported to have represented Ybanez at 
trial, the other lawyer says, "Ybanez? I have never heard 
of him." Thereupon, Jones files a petition for habeas 
corpus with the local Superior Court judge, wno is empowered 

- 2 - 


to review the actions of the lower level Justice Court; the 
petition is granted, on the basis that Ybanez's legal rights 
have been violated; a new trial is ordered, and Ybanez' is 
free to spend Christmas with his mother and two younger 
brothers, whom he helps to support. 

The Justice Court judge is sufficiently upset by 
the Judgment that the following Monday he announces he will 
regularly appoint Jones to represent indigents in criminal 
cases if Jones is so fired up about protecting them. 
Jones protests as courteously as he can. The county has 
already hired two public defenders to provide criminal 
representation to Indigent defendants, he points out; the 
Office of Economic Opportunity forbids OEO funded lawyers like 
himself from duplicating such local efforts by getting involved 
In criminal cases; although the petition for habeas corpus 
concerned the legality of a criminal hearing, it is a civil 
proceeding which is not normally taken by local public 
defenders, and therefore, while he is permitted by OEO to 
take an habeas corpus petition, he cannot handle criminal 
cases. When the Justice Court judge remains adamant, Jones 
again appeals to the Superior Court judge, and is upheld for 
a second time. 

This is the end of the matter for Ybanez and the 
two judges, but not for Jones and CRLA . Because his salary 
is paid by the government and he is thereby beholden to 

- 3 - 


demonsti'ate that he is not frittering away the public treasury, 
and because he represents poor people, who are often called 
upon to Justify themselves as well as their actions, he is 
requested to Justify his representation of Ybanez in a memo 
to OEO; to describe what he feels he has accomplished, and to 
categorize and count Ybanez and a hundred other clients whom 
he may represent during the year. "What are the major causes 
or conditions of poverty in the community? . . ." he is asked 
on Community Action Program (CAP) Form No. 8l, as promulgated 
in August 1968 — which is not to be confused with CAP Forms 7 
and 7b, also published (in revised form) in August I968, which 
call for accounts of the attorney's "work program" and 
"supplementary work program" respectively. "In what category 
of legal problem does the Ybanez case fall?" "What is the 
significance of the case?" ''How many people were benefited 
by your agency's service?" "What other agencies in the 
community are dealing with problems related to the program 
account?" "What arrangements do you have with these agencies 
to coordinate their programs with the activities of the 
program account?" 

"Coordination," "functions," "target area groups," 
"expression of their needs and interests related to the 
program," "arrangements," "approaches," "effectiveness," 
"information" — these are some of the circumlocutions which 
may be culled from a mere two pages of CAP Form 7. And the 

- 1| - 


the forms are endless. During the past two years, the number 
of questions asked on OEO forms has trebled. In 1968 alone, 
CRLA employees expended over 8OO man and woman hours keeping 
track of what they did, when they did It, how long It took 
them and what they called It. 

If we are not careful, we can become turned around 
by these questions. In speaking of the lawyer, as we are 
encouraged to do when we report to the government, we can 
underestimate the participation of the clients, who are 
supposed to be telling us, the lawyers, what to do. When 
speaking of "our" purposes, as we are often asked to, we can 
make our clients sound like means to our ends, which indeed 
they are not and cannot be, under the ethics of our profession, 
In discussing what we plan to do in the future, we can suggest 
that our purposes precede the problems of the clients, and, 
indeed, create those problems, which cannot be the case, 
either. The clients must be the starting place . . . which 
is good to keep in mind when trying to answer the questions 
that the government asks us, as v;e try to do in this report. 

- 5 - 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 7 



On July 28, I969, four California Congressmen 
called for the cut-off of federal funds to California Rural 
Legal Assistance.— One described the organization as a 
"bunch of beatniks" and a "force for social revolution." 
Another said he believed, "CRLA simply hasn't solved the 
problem" and had in many cases aggravated it by not being 
available to the poor because its force was "out on other 
matters." CRLA's lawyers were bent on social change, not on 
helping people, the Congressmen continued (thereby implying 
that "social change" and "help to people" are somehow 
antithetical to each other, or are at least mutually exclusive); 
and as evidence of that fact, they pointed to the number of 
persons who have not yet been assisted by CRLA attorneys 
(thereby suggesting that if the attorneys were doing their 
Jobs properly, all of the people who want help would receive 
help) . 

The charges seem clear enough and straight forward, 
but we find them curious. We shall try to explain why. 


San Jose Mercury, San Jose California, July 28, I969 

- 6 - 



There are about 296,000 lawyers in the United 
States, or approximately 1 for every 6^0 persons. Assuming 
that this ratio represents an adequate namber of lawyers, 
which it probably does not, there should be ^9,000 lawyers 
for the l6.5 per cent of the population — or 33 million 
people — who are members of families making less than 

$3,000 per year. Yet, in fact, not more than 4,000 lawyers 


are available to serve these 33 million people.— 

In the l6 rural California counties served, in 
whole or in part, by California Rural Legal Assistance 

attorneys, there reside at least 550,000 people who are 


members of families making less than $3,000 per year.— If 

legal services attorneys are to be made available to these 
people according to a 1 to 640 ratio, a minimum of 859 
free lawyers are now needed in rural California. And yet 
there are now only 73 attorneys available in these 
counties, 36 salaried attorneys in CRLA and approximately 
36 salaried attorneys in other legal services 

2/ Silver, "The Imminent Failure of Legal Services for 

the Poor: Why and How to Limit Case Load," 46 J . of 
Urban Law 21? (1968) . 

3/ i960 U. S. Census 

- 7 - 


programs.— (There are also 110 public defenders in these 

counties, but they provide virtually no assistance in civil 

cases . )- 

The case load statistics of other legal services 
programs confirm these observations. V/hen we reviewed the 
quarterly statistical reports of fourteen legal services 
programs (including five rural programs and nine urban pro- 
grams), we could not find a single program which provided 
representation to every eligible person who applied for 
service.— In three of these programs, for example, one 

V This figure is based ipcn a survey of the OEO grants 
which were made to legal services programs based in 
rural counties, and included: Merced Legal Services 
Association; Legal Aid Society of Monterey County; 
Sacramento Legal Aid Society, Legal Aid Society of San 
Joaquin County; Legal Aid Society of Santa Clara County; 
Legal Aid Society of Santa Cruz County; Stanislaus County 
Legal Assistance; and Kern County Legal Aid Society. 

5./ This figure is based on a telephone conversation on 

September 10, 1969, between Sandra Rogers, a law student 
working for CRLA, and the public defender offices in 
Sacramento, Yuba, Sutter, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, 
Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Merced, Kern, San 
Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties. 

6/ Surveyed were the quarterly reports of the following 

programs: Alaska Legal Services Corporation; Fresno County 
Legal Services; Napa County Legal Assistance Agency; 
Legal Aid Society of Orange County; Sacramento Legal Aid 
Society; San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance 
Foundation; Legal Aid Society of San Joaquin County; 
Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County; Legal Aid Society 
of Santa Cruz County; Legal Services Center of Ventura 
County; Washoe County Legal Aid Society; Legal Aid Com- 
mittee of Multnomah County; Seattle King County Legal 
Aid Services; Pierce County Legal Assistance Foundation. 
A complete summary of the reports of these programs is 
included in Exhibit I, attached to this narrative. As 
of September 8, 1969, none of the quarterly reports for 
July 1, 1968 to June 30, 1969 had been received by OEO 
from the forty-odd other legal services programs in the 
Western region, which is the reason why our survey is 
limited to fifteen programs in the Western region. 

- 8 - 


person was refused service for every person who was provided 


with aid.— (In CRLA, one person in every six who applied 

for help was turned down.) 

In view of these figures , there can be little question 
concerning the ability of legal services attorneys to 
minister to all of the poor people who presently apply to 
them for help. Indeed, to suggest that this is possible is 
to present a very misleading picture about what is possible 
and to raise false expectations among the poor, who have 
already been disappointed by many Federal and state programs. 
Such claims may also have the unhappy effect of delaying 
efforts to increase the legal representation available for 
poor people, through such devices as Insurance, mediation 
and arbitration, and the training and accreditation of lay 
advocates, as well as through increased expenditures for 
legal services attorneys. 

Instead of assuming that all the poor cannot be 
served, we should attempt to calculate the number of people 
who can be reached and how more can be served within existing 
resources without diminishing the quality of representation 
which they receive. 

IJ Those programs were the Reno and Tacoma legal 

services programs. 

- 9 - 



The Legal Services Division of the Office of 
Economic Opportunity has never established guidelines as to 
how many problems legal services attorneys are expected to 
handle. OEO does conduct annual evaluations of legal services 
programs and, presumably, lets the programs know whether they 
are handling too few (or too many) problems, but OEO does 
not make these evaluations public; and insofar as we can 
determine, the blue ribbon panel which advises OEO and which 
is called the National Advisory Committee for Legal Services, 
has never sifted through OEO ' s hundreds of evaluation reports 
in order to lay down guidelines of how much will be expected. 
Since OEO has funded programs which have handled as few as 

200 problems a year, as well as those in which each attorney 


has processed more than l800 cases per year,— there seems to 

be a considerable range as to what OEO permits. 

Four years ago, the National Legal Aid and Defender 
Association, the official confederation of legal services 
programs in the United States, advocated an annual case load 
of no more than 900 cases per attorney; but of late, this 
figure has been criticized by numerous commentators, who have 
pointed out that "lawyers handling 900 cases a year are not 


See, The Legal Aid Society of San Francisco, 
Statistical report - Calendar Year 1965 (printed 
brochure ) . 

- IQ - 


likely to be giving 'resourceful and imaginative' advice 


to anyone."— NLADA is now considering stricter guidelines, 

to be discussed at the 1969 Annual Meeting of that body, 

which provide that "no lawyers should handle more than 500 

cases or matters each year." — According to a study conducted 

in New York several years ago, only 2 per cent of the private 

attorneys surveyed handled more than 500 cases per year, — 

so it is not coincidental that the NLADA now speaks of 500 

cases as the outside limit, noting that the work load might 

be less than this. As NLADA states in its I969 Proposed 

Guidelines : 

"One possible approach, which deserves 
serious consideration, would limit or 
focus the work of the organization on 

a) the handling of cases that deal 
with the problem or grievance 
shared by a large number of persons 
served by the organization or about 
which such persons feel strongly; 

b) the handling of cases that offer the 
possibility of enhancing the ability 

of the persons served by the organization 
to participate in the solving of 
neighborhood or community problems; 

9/ Silver, op. cit . , at 248, 

10/ NLADA, "Preliminary Draft on Case Load Limitations" 
CmLmeo) 0-969), p. 1. 

11/ See Carlin and Howard, "Legal Representation and Class 
Justice," 12 UCLA L. Rev. 38I (1965). 

- 11 - 


c) the handling of cases that offer the 
possibility of increasing community 
understanding of a problem or issue and 
of advancing the knowledge of the 
person served by the organization with 
respect to their legal rights and 

d) the handling of cases that foster or 
assist the development of leadership 
among the persons served by the organi- 

e) the handling of cases that offer the 
possibility of enhancing the income 
potential and economic growth of 
the person seeking assistance or the 
area where the person served by the 
organization resides; 

f) the handling of cases that offer the 
possibility of eliminating the 
practice or rule that affects a 
large number of the persons generally 
served by the organization. 

Such criteria as listed above are only 
illustrative and are in no way intended to 
be exhaustive. They do, however, incorporate 
a common thesis about the relationship of 
law and legal service to poverty. Unless 
the limited resources of legal aid services 
are focused upon approaches to the elimina - 
tion of the causes of poverty and to the 
enhancement of the ability of poor people to 
resolve their own problems, individually 
and as a group, there will be no end to the 
need for rno^e, and more resources ." (Emphasis 
supplied. )1±-^ 


NLADA, op. cit., pp. 2-3. 

- 12 - 


There are at least five different ways in which 
CRLA attorneys supply legal representation to clients. An 
individual person may receive help on a problem (the 
"individual client situation"). Or a number of identified 
people with related problems are assisted at the same time 
but are provided with separate individual representation 
(the "multi-client situation"). Or an organization 
of people is represented as an organization, and what- 
ever relief Is secured runs directly to the organiza- 
tional entity, and not to the members (the "organiza- 
tion situation"). Or a large number of people with 
Identical interests, commonly called a "class," are repre- 
sented along with certain named clients, and although the 
members of the class are not known at the outset, 
some or all are by the end of the case, when some sort 
of relief Cusually in the form of money) is made available 
to them (the "identifiable class situation"). Or a 
class of unidentified people is represented along with 
certain named clients, and although the members of the 
class may be tangibly assisted by the outcome of the case, 
they are never identified, contacted or given a tangible 

- 13 - 


portion of the relief (the "unidentified class 

All OEO asks for in its statistical forms is the 
number of legal problems handled, as well as the number of 
groups represented. Sometimes It is easy to determine what 
are "separate legal problems," but sometimes it is not. 
What about the "individual client" who obtains a divorce in 
January and then in September asks the attorney to obtain 
a restraining order against her husband to stop him from 
beating her? (Since the restraining order relates to the 
circumstances of the original divorce action, or, to use 
the time-honored phrase of the Federal Rules of Civil 
Procedure, is involved in "the same transaction and occur- 
rence" and is filed as part of the same court proceedings, 
the order and the divorce would be lumped together as the 
same legal problem. ) Or what if the attorney who originally 
sued the Industrial Welfare Commission to validate a minimum 
wage order is now filing individual claims against 
various employers for back minimum wages which have become 
due pursuant to the IWC order? (Here, each wage claim 
would be counted separately and apart from the original 
Industrial Welfare Commission suit, since each claim would 
involve a different claimant, different facts, a different 
employer in most cases, and would therefore require a 
separate work product by the attorney.) And how should 
the "multi-client," "group client" and "identified class" 

- 14 - 


situations be categorized, where work which an attorney 
does for one client is of benefit to other persons but where 
he must also contact clients separately, take account of their 
separate interests, and argue for the separate interests as 
well as for the group interest? (Here, in this especially 
gray area, the statistical analyst is advised to exercise 
discrimination, and determine how much separate work is 
Involved for each client before deciding whether to count 
the work as one legal problem or a series of problems.) 

Gradually, through trial and error, a standard has 
developed: if an attorney interviews a person and does 
at least twenty minutes of work for him which he does not do 
for any other client, then work on a separate legal problem 
is recorded. 

This tabulation of separate legal problems does 
not take account of many people who are deeply involved in 
a legal action, whose rights are determined by it and who 
receive tangible, measurable benefit from it (such as the 
receipt of "X" dollars) but who do not receive individualized 
work products from a CRLA attorney — those people, 
in other words, who are involved in the 

"organizational," or "unidentified class" situations, as 
well as those who are part of an "identified class" but 
are not individually contacted by an attorney and do not 
receive a separate, distinct work product from him. Yet 

- 15 - 


clearly, all of these persons are in some way represented by 
CRLA attorneys, and often receive benefits from this repre- 
sentation. Unless sone T.eans is developed to report their 
cases, a serious problem of underreporting and distortion 
can occur, and a program which filed five lawsuits on behalf 
of three hundred people would actually appear to be repre- 
senting ten times fewer people than a program, which filed 
fifty lawsuits on behalf of fifty people, even though it 
was actually serving six m.ore people. To avoid such 
underreporting, we have not only counted and categorized 
the numiber of clients whom, we served individually, but also 
the num.ber served who were m.em.ters of 

"organizations," "unidentified classes," and "identified 
classes" whose m.em.bers vrere not individually contacted and 
assisted by CRLA attorneys. 

Once we consider these latter categories of 
clients, we should be able to determ.ine whether our attorneys 
realized any substantial imioact beyond the various indi- 
vidual problems which they handled. If they did, our 
yearly figures would show that they directly represented 
more people than they provided with separate, distinct 
work products, and benefited more people than they directly 

From July 1, 1968 to June 30, 1969, 36 
salaried CRLA attorneys worked on 15,^23 separate legal 
problems, or a yearly average of 429 legal problem.s per 

- 16 - 


attorney . — 

13 / This figure understates the number of problems handled by 

CRLA attorneys and cormnunity workers, due to the failure to 
report many little problems which are handled. As esti- 
mated by the Directing Attorney of CRLA's Santa Maria 

'Approximately 300 problems handled each year by the office's 
two community workers go unreported. This represents ap- 
proximately three cases per v;eek per worker. Both com- 
munity workers are in daily contact v/ith clients in the 
field ajid discuss legal matters v;ith them and perform 
legal or para-legal services and are not able to report 
it because they do not have the forms available. Such 
services include: Interpretation in court, translation 
of documents; assistance in making reports to the Depart- 
ment of Immigration; advise only as to Workmen's Compensa- 
tion claims or criminal charges (such as the nature of the 
person's rights and liabilities and the procedure which 
he might follow in exercising his rights). 

About 150 problems handled during the year by our 
intake Interviewers go unreported. This represents 
approximately three cases per week. Such cases 
usually arise because a client is calling by telephone or 
the office is extremely busy and the intake interviev/er 
is able to advise the client properly, after brief con- 
sultation with the attorney, but does not have time to 
record the case on our statistical forms. Advice of 
this sort usually involves: A. The small claims court; 
B. Criminal charges; C. Claims for child support, etc. 
CWe might add incidentally that while we realized many 
cases in the Santa Maria office v/ent unreported by the 
community workers and intake interviewers, we were rather 
surprised to find this large a number. The staff was 
questioned rather thoroughly on this ajid they assured us 
that their estimates were very much on the conservative 
side. ) 

About 100 cases undertaken during the year by the office's 
attorneys have gone unreported. This represents ap- 
proximately one case per week per each of the two attorneys 
during the year. Usually cases of this sort would arise 
by way of a telephone conversation from a welfare worker 
or som.e other professional v/ho has a client at his side. 
We are able sometimes to offer proper legal advice by 
telephone — although we will never do it if there is any 
problem posed by telephone communication — and because of 
telephone communication, there is no time to record 
the case. (Footnote contined on page 18.) 

- 17 - 


The CRLA case load of ^29 legal problems per attorney 
compares with the average annual case load of 232 legal pro- 
blems per attorney in the Anchorage, Alaska legal services 
program, 239 legal problems per attorney in the Reno, Nevada 
program, 328 in the Napa County, California legal services 
program, 326 in the Tacoma, V/ashington program, 380 in Seattle, 
Washington, h3^ in the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal 
Assistance Foundation, 466 in the Ventura County program, 486 
in the San Mateo County, California legal services program, 
717 in the Sacramento program, 753 in the Portland, Oregon 
program, 640 in the Fresno County legal services program, 827 

in the Santa Cruz County program, 858 in the Orange County 

program and 1,224 in the Stockton legal services program. — 

13/ (Continued) 

Approximately 50 cases handled during the year by our 
summer law clerks go unreported. This represents field 
sanitation investigations during the first part of the 
summer of I969 . Because there was not always a one-to- 
one correspondence of grower to client, these cases went 
unreported on these statistical forms, although they none- 
theless represent a useful expenditure of staff time on 
behalf of various farm worker clients. " 

Since these unreported problems often involve less than 
twenty minutes of an attorney's time (although they may 
consume substantially more of a community worker's day), 
we have not attempted to include them in the official 
tabulated statistical summaries for the year. The existence 
of these unreported problems should be noted, however — 
and we estimate the over 2,700 were handled by community 
workers alone from July 1, 1968 to June 30, 1969 — if 
an accurate picture of CRLA's work is to be conveyed. 

14/ These figures are based upon the 1968-I969 quarterly 
reports of these legal services programs . 

- 18 - 


As these figures Indicate, nine of these fourteen 
programs — CRLA, Seattle, Alaska, Napa, Tacoma, San Mateo, 
Ventura, San Francisco and Reno — were within the recom- 
mended 500 limit matters per year which is now being considered 
by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association as an 
absolute maximum. 

In approximately 13,820 of the 15,^23 legal 
problems handled — or 89 per cent of the total problems — 
one individual client was represented by a CRLA attorney. 
These "individual client situations" consumed over 75 per cent 
of the CRLA attorneys' time. The remaining 1,603 problems, or 
11 per cent of the total cases, involved representation of more 
than one person, even though, according to the standard 
discussed previously, each of the cases was counted as only 
one legal problem. 

The total number of persons involved in this latter 
category of cases -- and consequently the total number of 
people represented and benefited by CRLA attorneys — was 
far larger than we had previously supposed and in fact was 
not known to us until we made a detailed survey in August, 
1969. The survey revealed the following: From July 1, 1968 
to June 30, 1969, CRLA attorneys represented 135 organizations 
with a combined membership of some 1^,588 persons. 46 of 
these organizations were represented on 10 or more occasions. 
Attorneys drafted by-laws, articles of incorporation, and 
filed applications for tax exemption for 48 groups, were 

- 19 - 


involved In litigation on behalf of 2^ groups, undertook 
drafting of leases, contracts and other agreements and 
undertook negotiations on behalf of l6 groups, and provided 
legal advice and training to 57 organizations. 

Since it is too time consuming to describe all of 
the organization problems handled by CRLA attorneys, we 
Include here an excerpt from a report from CPLLA ' s Modesto 
office describing the legal work undertaken for four groups, 
as an indication of what CRLA attorneys do on a routine 

Case 1: 

"Assistance rendered to both 
Patterson and Salida Self-Help Housing 
[composed of 230 families] was legal advice 
on potential property litigation problems. 
In both cases, we assisted Self-Help Housing 
in reaching an agreement with the Patterson 
City Council and the property owner adjacent 
to the Salida sub-division ... [Another] type 
of assistance given to the Salida group was 
communication with the office of Congressman 
McFall in an attempt to speed up [loan] checks 
from Farmers Home Administration. Finally, 
the office has assisted several members of 
Salida Self-Help Housing in clearing up 
their deed problems so they could obtain a 
Self-Help loan." 

Case 2: 

"From October 1, 1968, until 
April 1, 1969, one community worker from the 
Modesto office spent full-time assisting 
the Stanislaus County Buyers Coop. In addition, 
two separate attorneys have assisted the Coop 
in drafting the Articles of Incorporation, the 
by-laws, the Permit to Sell Shares of Stock 
and the property lease. The Co-Directing 
Attorney, John Kelley, is presently serving on 
as general counsel for the Co-op in advising on 
any potential legal problems. The number of 
occasions in which the Co-op has been assisted 

- 20 - 


is difficult to estimate, but a rough 
estimate would be one hundred occasions." 

Case 3: 

"Initially, we assisted Steve 
Haberfeld in preparing Articles of Incor- 
poration for the Livingston Community Action 
Council. Further assistance was rendered in 
negotiating with the City of Livingston and 
the County of Merced in obtaining a zoning 
permit for the LCAC's building. .. [and] in 
obtaining approval to function as a state 
delegate Day Care Center." 

Case 4: 

"The Riverbank Community Center is 
a center for all residents of [the] River- 
bank community - approximately 4000 indi- 
viduals. There are approximately 1000 low- 
income people in Riverbank who were not being 
allowed the use of the center when it was 
opened. We appeared at the Riverbank City 
Council meeting and talked with administration 
from HUD to assure that the Center would be 
open to low-income people. Since that time 
low-income persons in Riverbank are allowed 
to use the Center." 

In addition to the organizations which were repre- 
sented, CRLA attorneys filed 63 class actions, 42 on behalf of 
persons who later became knov/n to the attorneys, and 21 on 
behalf of unidentified members. 

Eight class actions were filed on behalf of approxi- 
mately 15,600 different consumers. In Vasquez v. Karp , for 
example, 60 allegedly fraudulent contracts involving the sale 
of home appliances were nullified on behalf of some seventy 
consumers at a saving to them of some $20,000. In a second 
action, which must remain unnamed here because of the terms 

- 21 - 

36-513 O - 7(1 - 


of the final agreement, a large Los Angeles corporation 
agreed to dismiss actions and Judgments for a total of 
$656,000 against 1,650 different low-Income consumers. 
Commenting on the use of class actions in consumer fraud 
cases, the San Jose Post Record stated on June 10, 1969: 
"The California Rural Legal Assistance began the trend two 
years ago in the Golden State. Santa Clara County's Legal 
Aid Society and similar agencies throughout the nation 
financed through the Office of Economic Opportunity copied 
the concept." 

In thirty class actions, a total of l80,000 
farm workers residing in California were represented; and five 
actions were filed on behalf of 1.5 million farm v/orkers 
throughout the United States. In Munoz v. Unemployment 
Insurance Appeals Board , and in a series of other lawsuits 
filed against agricultural employers, pressure was placed 
on the State and on agricultural employers to enforce field 
sanitation regulations, resulting in the doubling of toilet 
and handwashing facilities which were made available to 
California farm workers in I969. (The pressure became so 
intense. In fact, that The California Farmer , the monthly 
publication of the California Farm Bureau, published a 
five-page supplement in June listing field sanitation 
regulations, along with the names of all portable toilet 
sellers and lessors in the state and editorialized: "... 
it behooves us as farmers to keep our skirts so clean that 

- 22 - 


we are above reproach. We must v/ork to see that... Cali- 
fornia Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., can find no instance 
in which we are not in complete compliance with every one 
of the laws and regulations pertaining to farm workers.") 
In Ybarra v. Fielder, the State' Director of Agriculture 
was required to make available to farm v;orkers information 
regarding the use of pesticides which might be injurious 
to them. In Alaniz v. Wirtz , as a consequence of complaints 
filed with the Department of Labor in August and September, 
1968, some 5,000 foreign agricultural workers were 
refused entry into the United States, and approximately 
$2,250,000 in wages was preserved for Ajnerican workers, and 
some $300,000 in welfare costs were saved California tax- 
payers. In Gooch v. Clark , the employment of some 80,000 
commuter aliens in the United States was attacked as having 
an adverse and illegal effect upon domestic workers. In 
Hernandez v. Zuckerman Farrns , Rios v. Harder Packing Co . , 
Breunig v. Orr , Rios v. Williams , and Zabala v. Steak 
Mate , the use of illegal aliens ("wetbacks") by domestic 
employers was challenged, in an effort to reduce the flow 
of some ^50,000 aliens from Mexico into the United States 
and to preserve thereby the jobs of American workers who 
were displaced by such illegal competition. In Romero v . 
Wirtz , the exclusion of 1.5 million U. S. farm workers from 
unemployment insurance benefits was challenged as a viola- 
tion of the equal protection provided by the U. S. 

- 23 - 


Constitution. In Rivera v. Division of Industrial Welfare , 
an order vias upheld increasing the minimum v/age for 50,000 
women and children, resulting in benefits of from 15 to 
20 million dollars for those workers. 

Five class actions were filed on behalf of 2^40,000 
welfare recipients. In Hacias v. Finch , CRLA attorneys 
challenged Federal and state rules prohibiting welfare payments 
to families in which the father is employed full-time. If 
successful, the suit might augment the income of recipients by 
as much as ^ million dollars. In . Diaz v. Quitoriano , county 
welfare departments were required to inform, applicants of 
their right to appeal decisions declaring them ineligible for 
welfare benefits. And in Hernandez v. Hardin , the U. S. 
Department of Agriculture was ordered to institute food pro- 
grams in nineteen California counties which had refused to 
sponsor them; and as a result of the order, food programs 
were instituted in all nineteen counties at a benefit of 
approximately 20 million dollars to some 85,000 people. 

In three class actions, approximately ^,500 
housing residents were represented, and in one action, some 
80,000 low-income public housing residents were repre- 
sented.. Recovery and grants-in-aid secured exceeded $3,600,000 
In Valtierra v. Housing Authority of San Jose , 
for example, the California constitutional requirement that 
the voters in a community most approve any low-income housing 

- 24 - 


project prior to its erection is being challenged. If 
this requirement is held unconstitutional, this case will 
pave the way for the construction of thousands of units of 
decent, low-cost housing for hundreds of thousands of poor 
Calif ornians . 

In nine class actions, a total of 185,000 school 
children were represented. In Alvarez v. Force , a Federal, 
judge ordered Gonzales Union High School not to dismiss a 
Teacher Corps trainee who helped her students form a chapter 
of the Mexican-American Youth Association. In Marquez v . 
Hardin, CRLA attorneys sought to require the U. S. Department 
of Agriculture to make free school lunch programs available 
to needy children in California instead of using the funds to 
lower the cost of lunches sold to those who may not be needy, 
as the Department has done in the past. (Since 19^6, when 
the National School Lunch program was begun, more than 4 billion 
dollars has gone to help the children of the well-to-do 
instead of the needy. Commenting on CRLA's suit. The Nation 
said on July 7, 1969: "It would be refreshing if, just once, 
a program of this sort were operated for the benefit of those 
for whom it was intended.") 

Five class actions were filed on behalf of 
approximately 2,320,000 underrepresented voters. In Girth v . 
Thompson , CRLA attorneys sought to reapportion the largest 
irrigation district in the Western Hemisphere, the Imperial 
Irrigation District, on behalf of some 42,000 people whose 

- 25 - 


votes have heretofore been badly diluted. In Castro v . 
State of California, et al . , some 60,000 U. S. citizens 
who speak only Spanish challenged the California Consti- 
tution provision requiring voters to be able to read the 
Constitution in English. In Larez v. Shannon , a Yuba City 
Superior Court held unconstitutional California's require- 
ment that school bond Issues must be approved by two-thirds 
of the voters, deciding that this requirement violated 
the one-man, one-vote principle of the U. S. Constitution. 
Since 79 of the 96 school bond issues in California that 
failed last year received majority approval, the decision, 
if upheld on appeal, will have the effect of validating 
the wishes of all the voters in the State who constituted 
a majority in favor of school bond issues but who failed 
to reach two-thirds majorities, or about 2,220,000 voters 
in 1968 alone. ^^ 

Of the total number of 63 class actions filed 
by CRLA attorneys from July 1, 1968 to June 30, 1969, 28 
have not yet been decided, l8 were decided in favor of 
CRLA clients, another 7 were settled on terms favorable to 
CRLA clients, 6 were decided against CRLA clients in lower 
courts but aj'e noM on appeal, and 2 were decided against 
CRLA clients and are not now on appeal. 

15/ More complete descriptions of many of the class 

actions handled by CRLA are included in Exhibit III, 
attached to this report. 

- 26 - 


In trying to estimate exactly how many different 
persons were represented in these class actions, we have to 
recognize, first of all, that where the same class of 
persons may have been represented in a number of actions 
they should not be counted more than once. Second, we should 
remember that even where the classes are described differently, 
such as "farm workers" and "consumers," a. number of people 
may fall into both categories and likev/ise should not be 
counted more than once, although the separate recoveries 
they receive, as farm workers and consumers, can both be 
considered. Third, it is clear that the nature and extent 
of benefits realized by different classes may differ 
considerably, depending upon whether they are represented more 
than once, whether a decision favorable to them is reached, 
and whether a tangible measurable remedy, such as money, 
is delivered to them. We have tried to estimate the total 
number of persons represented by CRLA attorneys, and the 
total benefits obtained. Based upon the statistical reports 
of all nine regional offices and in-depth client surveys con- 
ducted by two offices, we v/ould venture the following summary. 

From July 1, I968 to June 30, I969, ^08,000 
different people were represented on more than one occasion, 
in organization cases or in class actions, or an average of 
11,333 persons per CRLA salaried attorney; and another 
2,^33,000 people were represented on at least one occasion. 

- 27 - 


And a total of $^8,000,000 in benefits was obtained, as well 
as various non-monetary benefits and protections. 

In addition, as stated previously, 13,820 persons 
were represented individually by CRLA attorneys. V/hen this 
number is added to the ^108,000 persons who were represented 
more than once in their class capacity, a total of 421,820 
persons were provided with individual legal representation or 
with class representation on more than one occasion. This 
figure is in addition to the 135 organizations that CRLA 
attorneys repiresented. 

By dividing the number of persons represented by 
the number of legal problems handled, v;e can form some idea 
of the leverage which CRLA attorneys v;ere able to generate: 
for every legal problem which was handled, an average of 27 
people were assisted. And by dividing the amount of money 
appropriated to CRLA in I968 ($1,527,889) by the number of 
legal problems handled and the number of people served, we 
can estimate the efficiency of the program: for each legal 
problem taken, an average of $199.00 was expended, and for 
each person represented, an average of $3-62 was spent. 

These figures provide an interesting comparison 
with other legal services programs. The attorneys in the 
Orange County and Stockton programs handled more individual 
legal problems than did CRLA attorneys, but did not report 
representing a single organization or filing a single class 

- 28 - 


action. The Ventura and Santa Cruz programs, which also 
reported processing a slightly higher number of individual 
legal problems than did CRLA, each reported no more than six 
organizational class actions taken during the year. Of the 
fifteen other legal services programs surveyed, six averaged 
one hundred to four hundred more legal problems per attorney a 
year than did CRLA but ended up representing four to twenty- 
eight fewer persons per legal problem handled. 

Indeed, with the exception of the San Francisco 
Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation (which seems to have 
reached a number of people comparable to that assisted by 
CRLA) , the average number of people represented by each CRLA 
attorney was at least three times the number of people repre- 
sented by attorneys in every other legal service program in the 
Western Region; the number of organizational problems taken by 
CRLA attorneys was at least two times the number taken by any 
other program, and the number of class actions was three times 
as great. In fact, only the San Francsco, Sacramento, Alaska 
and Portland programs reported representation of more than 
5,000 people during I968-I969. 

These comparisons are not exact, despite the specific 
figure used, because of the paucity of figures from a number of 
other programs. The great difference between CRLA and other 
programs may be explained by the fact that we have expended 
more effort than have other programs in analyzing the number of 
people who have been reached by class actions which we have 

- 29 - 


filed. But this is only a partial explanation, we feel — 
were the other programs providing more statistical analyses, 
those analyses would shov; that most of them were restricting 
their work to cases which reach only one person at a time. 

- 30 - 



How a program represents and aids the largest 
number of persons with the limited amount of money, man- 
power and time available to it is, in the argot of the 
management consultants, a question of "resource allocation." 

As we have indicated, the class action is one 
method of maximizing resources, by benefiting a large 
number of people at one time. It is not the only method. 
Legal assistance to organizations at a critical stage in 
their growth may enable them to grow strong enough to bargain 
for themselves later on. (According to surveys made in three 
CRLA regional offices, for example, over half of the groups 
represented by CRLA attorneys were able to operate largely 
on their own, once they had been given some legal 
assistance.) Concentration on cases which receive wide 
publicity and attention in the poverty community tend to 
Inform more people of their legal rights and to' encourage 
them to vindicate those rights. (In 1968, 1,120 newspaper 
stories about CRLA cases were carried in 150 California 
newspapers and 11 national publications with a combined cir- 
culation of about 12,000,000 readers.) More efficient use 
of resources, such as the employment of non-professionals to 
do work normally undertaken by more highly paid attorneys, 
helps to squeeze more service out of the limited dollars 
which are available. (In 1968-69j 26 legal secretaries and 

- 31 - 


22 community workers were trained to assist attorneys In 
Interviewing clients. Investigating facts, and handling 
simple kinds of welfare, wage, and automobile claims.) 
Various outreach programs can assist in supplementing the 
help which CRLA lav/yers provide, including distribution of 
pamphlets discussing legal rights, involvement of volunteers, 
and establishment of separate services programs for Calif- 
ornia's rural poor. (In 1968, CRLA staff members dis- 
tributed 30,000 copies of a 30-page booklet entitled, "Farm 
Workers Demand Your Rights;" enlisted the aid of 931 volun- 
teers who supplied more than 2^,119 hours of volunteer time; 
received 703 different legal memoranda from 63I law students 
enrolled at eight different California law schools; and 
established the California Indian Legal Services Program, 
with annual funding of $269,000; the Rural Development 
Corporation, with annual funding of $650,000; and the 
Senior Citizens Project, with funding of $85,000, to reach 
persons not already served by CRLA.) Finally, priorities 
can be established to focus attorneys' attention on those 
kinds of cases which are most likely to be of lasting 
benefit to the client community. 

The issue of priorities is central to the question 
of resource allocation. If we decide, for example, that a 
person's poverty is essentially a function of his lack of 
money and ability to secure money, then we should emphasize 

- 32 - 


those cases which put money in his pockets. Or, if we 
determine that poverty can be characterized as a state of 
powerlessness or the inability of the poor to demand equal 
treatment from government agencies and private institutions, 
we should stress those cases which help to increase the bar- 
gaining power of the poor. Or, if we decide that the 
government has more capability to generate money and power 
for people than have private individuals, then we should 
place emphasis on cases which seek to encourage or compel 
the government to act on behalf of poor people. 

In fact, CRLA has adopted all three of these 
strategies. Early in the development of our program, in 
September, 1966, our Board of Trustees formally resolved 
that CRLA should pay first attention to employment problems, 
since they concern a person's ability to make money, as well 
as the amount of money which a client receives or is able to 
retain; and that civil liberties and voting cases, while 
dealing with non-monetary interests, should also be 
considered as high priority matters, in that they may 
Involve a man's basic liberty, as well as his influence in 
the community. Domestic relations problems, which are the 
most usual problem handled by most legal services .programs, 
were deemed to be of a lower priority, not necessarily 
because they are less important to the people involved than, 
say, employment problems, but because they are not as likely 

- 33 - 


to generate Income for the poor — the goal which, after 
much discussion, the Board decided was the most important 
for CRLA attorneys. (There was at least one other reason 
why domestic relations were not given high priority: of all 
the legal problems which poor people have, domestic relations 
are most likely to be handled on a part-time basis by private 
attorneys at minimum fees which some poor, people can afford 
to pay. ) 

The CRLA case statistics for the past year reflect 
these priorities. Four thousand, six hundred eighty-five in- 
volved employment matters (including 2,520 wage claims, 121 
Workmen's Compensation issues, and 177 unemployment insurance 
claims); 3,863 involved welfare claims (including 2,935 
state and local welfare matters, 179 social security claims 
and numerous veterans administration matters); 3,l64 involved 
consumer problems (including 2,012 wage garnishments and 
attachments, l,0l8 sales contracts, and 13^ bankruptcies); 
1,238 involved housing disputes (including 515 private land- 
lord and tenant disputes, 110 housing code violations, 107 
public housing disputes, and 713 housing financings); 1,835 
Involved torts, juvenile, school, commitment, and criminal 
cases before arraignment, and 892 involved family problems 
(including 375 divorces and annulments, 50 separations, 75 
non-support actions, II8 child custody and guardianship 
actions, 38 paternity suits and ^6 adoptions). — 

16/ A complete summary of statistics concerning legal problems 
handled by CRLA attorneys from July 1, 1968 to June 30, 
1969 is included in Exhibit II, attached to this report. 

- 3^^ - 


A glance at statistics from other OEO legal services 
programs shows that CRLA's priorities are not shared or 
practiced by all. In 8 of the l4 programs surveyed, divorces 
and other related family problems constituted at least 50% 
of the case load, while at the same time, employment problems 
made up less than 5%. In Ventura, that percentage reached 
55?, while in Stockton it was ^9%, and inTacoma and Orange 
Counties it was hT%. 

Which kinds of cases are likely to produce the 
greatest impact on behalf of poor people is a difficult 
Judgment question which depends, in part, on one's view of 
what are the underlying causes of poverty, and in part on 
an assessment of how those causes may be attacked most 
effectively. (As the failure of many Community Action Pro- 
grams indicates, it is easier to talk about increasing the 
"power of the poor" than to actually do it.) Since there is 
a good deal to argue about, we can feel a sense of confidence 
about the priorities we arrive at only if we do so in con- 
sultation with the people to be served. 

- 35 - 



If numbers of cases handled and people affected 
were the only measure of a program, then the vast array of 
legislative bills passed, programs started, dollars spent, 
and Viet Cong killed would mark the Great Society as a 
decided success. But such was not the case, as three years 
of war casualties and urban riots will attest. Something 
more was and is required of us. It is partly a sense of 
proportion and a feeling of humanity, intangible virtues 
which can hardly be made to happen or be proved to exist 
merely by talking about them; and it is partly a sense of 
quality, of the dispatch, precision, assurance, and help- 
fulness with which a Job is done — characteristics we can 
talk about a little more easily, since they fall within the 
concept of "professionalism" which lawyers are supposed to 
be concerned about. 

Even "professionalism" is difficult to assess, 
however. How is good lawyering measured, anyway? Unless one 
has personal contact with him it is hard to say, and even when 
there is contact, lawyers are reticent about publicly 
Judging each other, which may or may not indicate the extent 
to which the legal profession is a private club or interest 
group intent upon protecting itself. 

It may be easier to answer the question of how well 
our lawyers have performed (as well as the question, "how 

- 36 - 


much for how many?") If we first consider what it Is that 
they should not be doing. And countless legal commentators, 
from Justice William Brennan of the United States Supreme 
Court to Bernard Segal, President-elect of the American Bar 
Association, have agreed that what they should not be doing 
is acting like old-fashioned legal aid lawyers. For old- 
fashioned legal aid usually dispenses a decidedly inferior 
brand of legal representation. Fifteen to forty-five people 
were likely to be crowded into the office everyday to see 
the attorney, who spent seventy-five per cent of his time 
interviewing them, referring them to other agencies, and 
making phone calls on their behalf to try to arrange quick 
settlements with creditors, landlords, and complaining 
spouses. Handling as many as 300 open files at one time, 
the attorney was hard-pressed to keep track of what was 
going on, and in more than a few cases, time would run out 
before he could file necessary papers in court. Not having 
time to draft original complaints, cross-complaints, counter- 
claims and interrogatories, as well as to subpoena documents 
and take depositions, he could not find the strengths and 
weaknesses of his opponents' cases, he did not know where to 
attack and defend, and could not necessarily estimate what 
a fair settlement would be. Because he was never exerting 
counterpressure on those persons suing his clients, he had 
little bargaining power jWas often unable to obtain fair 

- 37 - 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 


settlement for his clients, and had to choose between 
making an unfair settlement and going to court. He was 
rarely able to plan ahead for his clients and take pre- 
ventive measures for them. Always putting out last-minute 
emergencies, he could rarely reach some of the underlying 
causes of some of those emergencies. In point of fact, 
he was likely to feel as powerless, as frustrated, and 
as resentful as his clients did, perceiving the legal system 
as a machine which constantly beat his clients down. And 
like his clients, he became trapped in a cycle where his 
ineffectiveness encouraged more legal actions against him, 
actions which put him even more on the defensive and took 
even more of his time, and made him even less effective. 
In order to retain some modicum of self-respect, he usually 
ended up handling a substantial number of cases which were 
not likely to be opposed, particularly divorces and bank- 
ruptcies, knowing that at least with these, he could not lose. 

Four years ago, OEO officials estimated that 
approximately 70 per cent of the legal aid organizations in 
the country bore a depressing resemblance to the situation 
described. Now that more than $ 90 million of Federal funds 
have been injected into legal aid programs, the quality of 
service has improved considerably, and, again according to 
the same OEO people, not more than 20 per cent of the country's 
programs are considered to be as bad as the old legal aid 
programs. An additional ^5 per cent, however, 

- 38 - 


are still ajudged to be providing professional services 
which are less than satisfactory, and only 20 to 25 programs 
in the country are now furnishing "high quality" represen- 

According to OEO evaluations made in 196? and 1968, 
one of those high quality programs was CRLA. In December, 
1968, in fact, the National Advisory Committee on Legal 
Services presented CRLA with an award for being the best 
program in the country with seven or more attorneys. San 
Francisco, Cleveland and Dallas were also given special 
mention by the Committee. Since we doubt whether anyone 
could say with assurance that CRLA was superior to these 
other programs, the Committee's award should be viewed as a 
recognition of special merit which, in the next few years, 
will be extended to various programs deserving particular 

From the beginning of CRLA in I966, one of the 
stated goals of the program has been to furnish clients the 
same quality of professional advice which is dispensed by 
good private law firms. In monitoring the quality of the 
work done by our attorneys, as we have done since June, 
1967, we ask our attorneys at least seven questions. Do they 
limit the case load to insure enough time to undertake in- 
depth interviews, complete factual investigations, legal 
research, discovery, preparation of court pleadings and such 
other work as each case may require? Do they provide diff- 

- 39 - 


eren't kinds of services according to the different needs of 
the clients? Are they able to satisfactorily settle cases 
without going through time-consuming trials? Do they render 
service quickly to clients? When necessary, are they willing 
to go to court? Do they, in fact, adequately prepare their 
court cases? Do they win a substantial portion of the con- 
tested cases which they handle? 

The answers to these questions which we have 
received are revealing. Throughout 1968 and 1969, most 
CRLA attorneys maintained no more than 50 open files at any 
one time. Largely as a result of this restriction, the 
number of cases closed by CFtLA attorneys during any quarter 
of the year was never less than 90 per cent of the number of 
cases accepted during any quarter -- indicating a steady 
turnover of cases. Of the non-litigation matters handled by 
CRLA attorneys, l6 per cent were resolved on the same day 
that the client came to the office with his problem, 9 per 
cent within one week, 12 per cent within one month, 38 per 
cent within three months, 12 per cent within six months, and 
8 per cent within one year. 

According to surveys made in two CRLA regional 
offices, a minimum of thirty minutes was spent interviewing 
clients in approximately 70 per cent of the problems 
accepted by CRLA attorneys. Written reports pertaining to 
factual investigation were prepared by attorneys or investi- 
gators in 55 per cent of the cases handled, and legal 

- 40 - 


memoranda were prepared for 35 per cent of the cases. For 
every hour which CRLA attorneys spent in interviewing clients, 
2 hours were spent doing factual investigation and preparing 
documents, 1.5 hours in legal research and a third of an 
hour in court proceedings . 

Seventy per cent of the matters undertaken by CRLA 
attorneys were resolved short of going to court or administra- 
tive hearings, and 78 per cent of these in a manner satis- 
factory to the interests of the clients. Of the 790 times 
that CRLA attorneys went to court during the last year, 
interrogatories or depositions or both were taken on more 
than 91 occasions or 12 per cent of the time, and a total 
of $12,^400 was spent in depositions alone. CRLA attorneys 
represented plaintiffs in 491 of these actions, and defendants 
in the remaining 298 actions. In 97 of the latter cases, 
cross-complaints and counterclaims were filed. 

In the 396 court cases in which decisions were 
rendered during the year, CRLA clients received favorable 
judgments on 330 occasions, or 83 per cent of the time. Of 
these 790 cases filed during the year, approximately 56O 
were contested, and 230 were uncontested. Of the 66 
unfavorable decisions received, 13 were appealed. One hundred 
sixty-five actions were settled, about 122 of which, or 7^ per 
cent, on terms favorable to CRLA clients. Two hundred, 
twenty-eight matters were pending at the end of the reporting 

- ill - 



CRLA attorneys also filed approximately 4,300 actions 
with administrative bodies, of which about 1,600 were 
decided or acted upon by the end of the year. In approximately 
1,450 of these 1,600 matters, or 90 per cent, determinations 
were reached which were favorable to CRLA clients. In 
addition, about 1,900 favorable settlements were reached 
out of 2,005 settlements entered into. About 695 administra- 
tive matters were pending at the end of the year. 

Thus, out of a total of 3,396 court and administrative 
decisions rendered during the year, CRLA clients were 
ultimately upheld in approximately 3,060 cases, or 89 per 
cent of the time. And out of a total of 2,170 settlements 
reached in court and administrative cases, favorable resolutions 
were obtained in 2,022 cases, or 92 per cent of the time. 

The figures on the performance of CRLA attorneys 
stand in sharp contrast to those of some other legal services 
programs surveyed. The Orange County program reported that 
each of its four attorneys maintained an average of 393 pending 
cases at one time and during at least one quarterly period, 
accepted four times the number of cases they closed, and 
worked on six times the number of cases they completed. The 
total number of hours spent by the Orange County attorneys 
interviewing clients was 17 per cent more than the number of 
hours spent in working on clients' problems, two times the number 
of hours which they spent in court, and five times the number of 

- 42 - 


hours devoted to legal research-, which may explain why they 
were able to complete so few of the cases which they 

The Seattle legal services reported a number of 
pending cases which was three times the number of cases closed 
during a particular quarterly period. Portland, Oregon 
attorneys averaged over 200 pending cases apiece, while three 


Stockton, California attorneys maintained an average of 233 
pending cases apiece. 

Two of the ten programs telephoned took no depositions 
in the past year; and six programs took not more than three 
apiece, despite the fact that each of these programs handled 
at least 200 cases in court, and two programs handled more 
than 500.—^ 

17/ This information is based on telephone interviews made 
by Sandra Rogers with the heads of the following pro- 
grams: Brett Dorian, Fresno County Legal Services; 
Ben Barton, Napa County Legal Assistance Agency; 
Joseph Amato, Legal Aid Society of Orange County; David 
Bllcker, Sacramento Legal Aid Society; Walter Hastings, 
Legal Aid Society of San Juaquin County; Bruce Bailey, 
Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County; James Popin, 
Legal Aid Society of Santa Cruz County; Earl Dunn, 
Tulare County Legal Services Association; Legal Service 
Center of Ventura County; San Francisco Neighborhood 
Legal Assistance Foundation. 

- i»3 _ 



How the attorneys handle their cases is primarily 
a professional question which attorneys must decide. What 
cases they take, who they serve, where they put their offices, 
and what kind of program they participate in are policy 
questions which have to be considered by the people served 
by the CRLA program. But who are they? There are more than 
550,000 people in rural California who are potential clients, 
another 2^8,000 who make between $3,000 and $^,000 a year and 
often can't afford a private lawyer, and at least 260 
organizations that they belong to. CRLA reserves fourteen 
positions on its main policy making body, the Board of 
Trustees, for people with low-incomes, and sets aside another 
150-odd positions on local advisory committees, which are 
supposed to advise CRLA regional attorneys about what they 
feel should be done. This totals nearly l60 trustees and 
advisors, out of a total client population of more than 

Obviously these low-income trustees and advisors 
can't be considered formal representatives of California's 
rural poor. As representatives of organizations composed of 
a good many poor people (and we are speaking of the Community 
Service Organization, the Mexican-American Political 
Association and the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, 

_ i|4 - 


for example) or as low-Income people themselves, however, 
they can speak with some authority about what our clients 
want and need in the way of a legal services program. To 
the extent that anyone knows, these people should — and so 
we have asked them. In March 1969, the Trustees and repre- 
sentatives of local advisory committees met together to 
evaluate CRLA's past performance and to make recommendations 
for its future program. In August and September 1969, they 
held more meetings to consider these same issues. Here is 
what the people say they want : 

Practically everyone is critical of the provision 
in the Economic Opportunity Act which bars legal services 
attorneys who are funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity 
from handling criminal cases. Some rural counties still 
do not have public defenders, our advisors say, and in other 
counties which do, the public defenders are badly overworked. 
Therefore, they ask CRLA to do all it can to lift the 

The chairmen of four advisory committees are 
critical of CRLA offices for not getting more Involved in 
community organizing. At the March meeting, people said that 
CRLA should do more to fight the "welfare establishment," 
should investigate pesticide poisonings of farm workers, 
should form welfare rights organizations, should assist the 
people in lobbying i,--! Sacramento, should focus more on the 

- 45 _ 


employment problems of poor people, "since a decent Job is 
important for a man's feeling of self-worth and his ability 
to provide himself and his family with the necessities of life," 
and should give "top priority ... to cases involving farm 
workers in the field." This August, advisory committees 
drafted more detailed priorities for CRLA attorneys. The 
Gilroy advisory committee wants its local CRLA attorneys "to 
eliminate tracking and misplacement of Chicanos in classes for 
the mentally retarded," to encourage the hiring of more 
Spanish-speaking teachers and bi-lingual counsellors to 
"check why kids aren't coming to school." The Madera committee 
requests its attorneys "to improve the education that our 
children are receiving in the Madera schools" and to handle 
more Juvenile cases. The Modesto committee asks its attorneys 
"to bring class actions which will improve the housing 
situation in the area," "which will discourage the fraudulent 
practices of salesmen, repairmen, etc., who take advantage 
of Spanish-speaking and low-income people," and which will 
require "federal, state and local agencies to retrain persons 
displaced by mechanization. ..." The McFarland committee 
feels its attorneys should handle more welfare cases while 
the Marysville committee wants more domestic relations cases. 

The Gilroy and El Centro advisory committees feel 
that the location of the CRLA offices in their area are 
Inconvenient, Gilroy because it is on the second floor of an 
office building and has to be reached by a steep set of 

_ 46 _ 


stairs, and El Centre because it is situated in a downtown 
business area. 

Seven advisory committees fee] they should include 
more members, although three committees recommend that people 
be dropped from the advisory committee roles if they miss 
more than a certain number of meetings. The Madera advisory 
committee, for example, feels that poor people from neighboring 
Fresno County should be invited to participate. 

All of the advisory committees say that their offices 
needed at least one more attorney apiece. The Gilroy advisory 
committee wants more attorneys to staff a permanent office in 
Hollister in San Benito County; the Madera committee wants 
attorneys for Chowchilla and Firebaugh in Fresno County; the 
Marysville committee wants attorneys for Butte County; the 
Modesto committee wants attorneys for Newman and Crows Landing; 
the Santa Maria committee wants attorneys for San Luis Obispo; 
and the Santa Rosa committee wants attorneys for Geyserville, 
Jenner and Sonoma. 

The Marysville and El Centre committees both feel 
that CRLA attorneys are spending too much time on cases 
which benefit only one individual and not enough working with 
„roups of people. Madera says, "We feel that the staff 
should concentrate their efforts on cases that effect large 
numbers of people, rather than get bogged down with service 
cases. However, it Is important that Individuals needing 

- 47 - 


help not be neglected." McFarland feels that the office 
staff "should spend 60 to 70 per cent of its time on service 
cases and 30 to ^0 per cent of its time on cases which 
effect large numbers of people." Modesto says: "In the event 
the service cases become so great that they are unable to 
bring the cases we have described as important, they should 
advise us and we will decide at that time whether to restrict 
further the service cases or whether to advise them to post- 
pone . • . the bringing of certain cases we have described 
as important. We understand that numerically service cases 
constitute at least 90 to 95 per cent of the matters handled 
by the attorneys. It might be appropriate under such cir- 
cumstances for the attorneys to spend half of their time on 
service cases and half of their time on class actions. This 
50-50 allocation is noted only as a possibility. . . ." Four 
different advisory committees feel that CRLA people should 
take more trouble to tell the community how many cases they 
can handle, and what kinds. Six advisory committees want a 
special newsletter circulated among the committees to let 
them know what is going on. 

- 48 - 



However much we talk about the help CRLA attorneys 
provide people from time to time, we cannot forget that the 
problems of rural poverty which we began with almost four 
years ago are still with us. Workers are being replaced by 
machines. Welfare recipients are being shunted off welfare 
rolls in order to appease unhappy taxpayers. Approximately 80 
per cent of the growers in the state are still in violation of 
basic field sanitation regulations. Farm work has an 
occupational disease rate which is twice as high as that of 
any other industry. The Agricultural Extension Service of 
the University of California provides multitudinous services 
to farmers, but not to farm workers. Farm workers are still 
not covered by the National Labor Relations Act and are not 
eligible to receive unemployment compensation. At least 
150,000 wetbacks are working illegally in the state. Bi- 
lingual children are forgotten about in many rural schools. 
Agribusiness corporations continue to grow in size while 
small farmers go out of business. People continue to crowd 
into the cities in disturbing numbers. 

The problems of the farm worker, of the individual 
consumer, of the senior citizen, of the small farmer do not 
stem initially from a lack of legal services or of other 
public services. They do not result from bad breeding or 

- H9 - 


lack of Intelligence or "cultural deprivation." They are not 
even a consequence of a lack of education, which some people 
still see as a panacea for everything. The problems of the 
farm worker, the consumer, the small farmer stem originally 
from a lack of bargaining power, power to demand a fair 
share of the resources of this society. 

This is as true of the legal system as it is of 
any other system in our society. If people are to receive 
fair treatment from the courts, the legislature, the 
administrative agencies, and from other private citizens and 
groups, they must have power, power to demand of employers 
that they respect health and safety laws, pov/er to demand 
of public officials that they will prosecute employers 
employing wetbacks, power to demand of legislators that they 
will pass favorable laws. Without such power, they will 
experience more of the situation which we have now, where 
powerlessness breeds injustice, weakness invites others to 
violate the law, and people who are victims are continually 

- 50 - 



By Sheldon Greene, General Counsel, 
California Rural Ler/al Assistance Program 

In 1950 Americans paid 8.1 billion dollars for liquor 
and 10.5 billion for education... 

In 1967 5-3 million families, 21 million people were 
below the poverty level with incomes under 3,500 per 
year. 29 million single persons earned less than 1,605- 
dollars. New Republic , Feb. 1, I969. 

8-1/2 million Americans received public assistance. 
Another 18 million Americans are unassisted by welfare 
but are at the poverty level. 

"We will press urgently f orward . . . ( in pursuing the goals 
of) full employment, better housing, excellence in educa- 
tion; in rebuilding our cities and improving our rural 
areas ..." 

Equality before the lav\r, the pronounced goal of 
legal service programs, is an abstraction. Policemen, 
administrators, jurists, being human are incapable of the 
detachment necessary for pure impartiality. Being human, 
their judgments are replete with the sets, attitudes, 
biases and political expediencies of time, place and 

The poor go into any hassle with the law with two 
strikes against them. Our success-oriented American society 
regards poverty with something less than Christian charity. 

Inaugural Address of President Nixon 


Since poverty is contrary to the material success orientation 
of our culture, the poor are considered unfit and lazy, 
if not stupid and dishonest. This latent negative attitude 
is compounded by the coincidence of poverty and minority 
status, calling into play attitudes of racial or ethnic 
inferiority, not to mention problems of communication. 
While a low-income person dealing with a policeman or a 
magistrate is treated politely or patronizingly, he still 
receives a smaller quantum of equity than a v;ell-dressed , 
clean-shaven representative of a solid middle class back- 
ground. A policeman taking an accident report from a 
lower Income person is apt to ignore or minimize material 
facts and find him at fault. A justice of the peace, who 
will release a fellow Kiwanian on his own recognizance, will 
deny that right to a low-income person with equal longevity 
in the community. As a witness or a defendant the lower 
income person's credibility in the eye of the judge and the 
jury is generally lower than that of the finance company 
manager and the policeman. At the worst, the poor are 
victims of borderline extortion by lawyers and petty 
judges. One small town justice of the peace also owned 
the only finance company in town and the only bail bond 
agency. Low-income traffic offenders, always in the majority, 
were free to borrow the money for the fine. 



A cause of inequality equal to the negative 
stereotype in effect and more easily remedied is simply 
that the low-income person's historical relationship to 
the law has been entirely defensive. He is the traditional 
recipient of the traffic citation, summons, wage attachment, 
repossession, and eviction notice. His remedy was default 
and his rights atrophied from disuse. The low-income 
litigant could not afford the luxury of plaintiff law 
and since his defenses were infrequently asserted, their 
existence was often forgotten. A qualified creditor's right 
soon became routine and absolute. 

When legal services were first introduced to rural 
areas, the bar on occasion acted as if the poor had even 
lost the right to make an affirmative appearance. The submis- 
sion of a lengthy series of interrogatories to the creditor 
in response to a wage attachment occasionally prompted 
the creditor's attorney to donate his services gratis to 
equalize the advantage that the indigent defendant had in 
the person of a free legal service lawyer. So completely 
had the values of some lawyers been eroded by the failure 
of the poor to assert their statutory and substantive rights 
that it was not uncommon in Califor'nia for law firms to 
process default judgments in a Jurisdiction some distance 
from the actual situs of the transaction in order to 
assure themselves of a default judgment. 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 10 


The presumption underlying these Irrational 
reactions is that access to the courts is a commodity and 
that a person who doesn't pay for it is, most charitably, 
a licensee or a trespasser. The insertion of a virtual 
handful of inexperienced poverty lawyers between the 
"establishment" and thirty to sixty million poor Americans 
is both a creditable and dramatic departure from a 
deplorable failure of the law to accommodate the large 
segment of our population, yet is still like treating a 
hundred headaches with a half dozen aspirin. Since their 
inception, legal service programs have been virtually swamped 
with potential litigants. Moreover, the applicants them- 
selves represent only a fraction of those eligible and in need 
of services since the majority of the poor are so insulated 
from society's institutions as to be unaware of the availa- 
bility of legal assistance, while others are too apathetic 
to initiate action. 

The poor who seek legal aid come with problems 
which are Immediate and important to them individually 
but which will not materially change their circumstances 
in that their solution will not provide a better job, better 
housing, make the fire department come any sooner, or 
increase access to a doctor. Every legal services lawyer 
is exposed to a steady stream of applicants, each of whom 


has a problem which merits the lawyer's attention. Most 
problems can be resolved with a normal expenditure of 
time, a telephone call or a letter. The smaller proportion 
requires the filing of a lawsuit, protracted negotiations 
or extensive investigation. Still others draw on intoler- 
ably, sapping the attorney's time and increasing his frus- 
tration level. In a relatively short period of time a legal 
service attorney who accepts clients indiscriminately finds 
himself working fourteen hours per day and accumulating a 
growing file of matters forgotten, unattended to, or 
superficially dismissed. 

A classic example of this scatter-shot approach 
to legal services exists in a wealthy rural California 
county of l80,000; 40 percent of which are low income. 
The legally indigent are served by two public defenders 
who provide services in 7 justice courts, 3 municipal 
courts and 4 superior courts. Because of the impossibility 
of accommodating all that require their attention, the 
attorneys do little more than browbeat a client into enter- 
ing a plea or make a superficial appearance based upon a 
hasty review of the police report. 

On the civil side, legal service programs have too 
often either circumstantially or out of conviction fallen 
into the same pattern of service. Some prominent programs 
are philosophically committed to serving everyone who 
comes in the door. Policy makers derive a certain masochistic 


satisfaction in confessing that their staffs are worked 
to the point of inefficiency and exhaustion. Some will 
even admit that their services, except where matters are 
routinized and virtually automated, are low quality and that 
the attorneys have neither the time nor the energy to pur- 
sue matters of community-wide significance susceptible of 
a judicial solution. 

These weaknesses could possibly be accepted if 
the goal of serving everyone could thereby be reached, but 
in no case does the open door achieve that result. To 
the contrary, client intake is often limited by a number 
of contradictory but inadequate devices such as restricting 
the hours the office is open, and on occasion closing down 
services entirely for a week so the staff can devote itself 
exclusively to the backlog. In .both cases the determination 
of which client is served and which is not, and of course 
the allocation of the attorney's time to a specific problem, 
is arbitrary and circumstantial. Often clients in need of 
emergency service are arbitrarily deprived of assistance. 
It is unnecessary to recount specific illustrations of 
the total breakdown of legal service offices which has 
resulted when this system is pursued. They are available 
in OEO files. 


If a prime purpose of the Economic Opportunity 
program is to effectively utilize government funds to 


materially alter the circumstances which perpetuate poverty, 
the expenditure of the limited funds available to provide 
legal services Is wastful and Ineffectual unless a substan- 
tial portion of those funds pays for legal action directed 
at the causes rather than the varied symptoms of poverty. 
Maximizing the Impact of action directed at the causes of 
poverty necessitates analysis of problem, areas , the develop- 
ment of expertise, the formation of programs within projects 
specializing in specific substantive areas or socio-economic 
problems, the preparation of legal attacks in key areas in 
which low-income rights are found to be deficient, and 
finally, the extension of that campaign to any arena in which 
the lawyer can effectively function including courts, public 
agencies, and legislative bodies. 

To maximize its impact on basic problems of poverty, 
California Rural Legal Assistance employs a balanced selectiv- 
ity in caseload composition. Several equitable devices are 
employed by local offices to limit and define caseload. 
Local advisory committees representing the client community 
are asked to assist the local office in formulating a set 
of priorities or guidelines for evaluating the importance 
of types of problems. Similarly, guidelines are prepared 
reflecting negative priorities; categories which are 
deemed to be of little importance to the client community. 
The application of such priorities usually results in the 
restriction of intake of domestic relations cases and bank- 
ruptcies, the most common sources of orthodox service work. 
Arrangements are generally made with members of the bar. 


who. absorb rejected cases. Similarly, intake of new clients 
Is restricted to the number of cases that each attorney can 
reasonably absorb into his ongoing caseload. The limitation 
on the number of client interviews per week, of course, is 
qualified since an attorney is always available for consul- 
tation and service in the event of an emergency situation. 

The Initial gain from this procedure of limiting 
the number of clients served is an increase in the quality 
of legal service in the traditional matters accepted by 
the office. Attorneys have the opportunity to deviate 
from routine remedies and adequately prepare pleadings, brief 
questions of law, thoroughly utilize time-consuming dis- 
covery tools. The result is a substantial increase in the 
standard of service, and the leverage which the office 
enjoys in its relations with fellow attorneys in concluding 
conflicts on terms favorable to the client. 

In connection with the establishment of priorities 
and selective caseloads, CRLA attorneys often attempt to 
apply the role of the corporate attorney, extending to the 
client community the same preventive and palliative law 
services which business lawyers traditionally afford to 
ongoing clients. A corporate lawyer has the responsibility 
to screen new developments in the law and new policies of 
administrative agencies which effect his client's interest 
and to counsel the corporation as to the utility of modi- 
fication of corporate policy, initiation of litigation. 


and other steps to avoid the adverse effects of action 
taken by competitors, banking Institutions and government. 
It Is the corporation attorney's duty to apprise his client 
of legal matters which affect him of which he is not aware, 
and to counsel him to take action in his best interest. 
Similarly, the poverty lawyer has the obligation to evaluate 
areas in which his client's rights are being disregarded, 
to counsel him to seek changes in the law, and to engage in 
litigation to amplify his rights. 

It is a valuable off-shoot of resulting major 
institutional litigation that the poor learn that the courts 
and the legislative corridors are an avenue for beneficial 
change in their Interest, at their initiation, and that they 
possess the means to attain a significant economic or social 
goal through the law. Last year CRLA obtained a Writ of 
Mandate against the California Industrial Welfare Department 
requiring the retroactive enforcement of the new minimum 
wage for agriculture which had been abated pending final 
disposition of grower-commenced litigation challenging the 
validity of the order. The Writ granted by the California 
Court of Appeals was sustained by the California Supreme 
Court in a matter of months facilitating payments by 
growers of up to $800,000 in retroactive wages to possibly 
20,000 female farm workers. Nearly $ilOO,000 of this amount 
cleared through the California Industrial Welfare Division 
for disbursement to farm workers. Ironically, final resolu- 


tion of the new wage order came a full nine months ahead 
of final disposition of the protracted litigation challenging 
the legality of the 1963 minimum wage. Thousands of farm 
workers received with this case a tangible demonstration 
of the efficacy of the judicial process. 

The foundations of rural poverty are regional, if 
not nation-wide, and CRLA being a statewide organization 
has greater opportunities for a coordinated broadside attack 
on regional problems basic to the rural poor. Concerns 
such as labor and education are made the subject of inter- 
office task forces, which pool resources and coordinate 
effort to avoid duplication and increase the quality of 
overall performance. 

Currently, task forces are functioning in several 
areas including education, immigration and working conditions 
In immigration, for example, five lawsuits have recently 
been filed in various parts of the state against growers 
employing illegal entrants but refusing to employ qualified 
domestic farm workers. The suits endeavor to establish 
grower responsibility for damages to displaced farm workers 
driven to depend on welfare as an alternative to employment. 
They employ both statutory and equitable principles pre- 
viously applied in analogous areas pertinent to this 
fact situation. One court has already ruled that farm 


workers have a right to sue growers employing wetbacks 
under the unfair business practice statute. In another 
arena, CRLA attorneys are working with Congressional staff 
members in the preparation of statutory modifications to 
the immigration laws to discourage the widespread use of 
illegal entrants in agricultural and unskilled employment . 

The poor are frustrated in their contact with the 
law throughout the legal spectrum. Legislation undertaken 
to benefit the poor is either not implemented at all or 
warped at the administrative level so as to negate or 
minimize the benefit accruing to the low-income class. 
Similarly, substantive rights deriving from litigation have 
been negated through legislative action prom.pted by interest 
groups affected. Since the poor, and for that matter the 
middle income group, have no ongoing presence In legislative 
bodies, the product of legislatures is often heavily weighted 
in favor of economic Interests which carry out Intensive 
legislative advocacy programs. An illustration of legis- 
lation which resulted from intensive lobbying by the National 
Rifle Association is a recent California statute which was 
calculated to deprive the City of San Francisco of the right 
to enact local gun control laws. The same session, respond- 
ing to another private interest, contradicted Itself in 
according to municipalities the right to regulate topless 
nightclubs. The only consistency in these two bills was 


effective legislative advocacy. 

Accordingly, extending to the poor the same level 
of legal services available to business necessitates more 
than an occasional amateurish appearance at a legislative 
committee session to give testimony against a particular 
bill. Recognizing that the Legislature is often the Court 
of Last Resort in significant issues, CRLA initiated a 
legislative advocacy office utilizing the services of two 
attorneys, each of whom had past experience in working 
with the Legislature. 

Legal services attorneys, even though skilled in 
legislative advocacy, cannot hope to initially win many 
battles, particularly the big ones against powerful, deeply 
entrenched lobbies. However, the presence of the profes- 
sional advocate consistently representing the interest of 
the poor, and similarly the consumer, both sensitizes 
legislators to their responsibilities to this group, and 
on occasion provides information and support which shifts 
the balance in favor of the low-income community. 

Recently, the Legislature passed a law requiring 
counties to impound the personal property of a party evicted 
from a dwelling at the expense of the county. If implemented 
throughout California, the provision would have worked a 
hardship on lov/-income tenants and would have cost California 
taxpayers millions of dollars in county administrative costs. 
CRLA lawyers challenged the provision and two jurisdictions 


finding it to be unconstitutional, enjoined its enforce- 
ment. Real estate interests returned to the Legislature 
with the proposal tailored to contain a similar object, 
circumventing the constitutional objections. CRLA 
legislative advocates followed up in the committee consider- 
ing the bill and helped to kill it, to the surprise of the 
real estate interests. 

Administrative agencies are often rightfully 
criticized for subordinating the interests of the general 
public ^including the poor, to those of the regulated 
industries. The romance of the Federal Pood and Drug 
Administration with the pharmaceutical industry, resulting 
in the introduction on the market of more than one untried, 
if not deleterious drug, is an example. The blame for this 
gradual perversion of purpose however lies not only with 
well-intentioned administrators, but is also due to the 
failure of the public to treat the agency as a forum, to 
hold it accountable to the public for its actions and 
require more than formalistic ex post facto public disclosure, 
It is not surprising that the agencies are often seduced, 
since the industry which they were established to watch is 
usually the only attractive suitor. 

More than one cause of poverty is partially attri- 
butable to the failure of an administrative agency to 
engage in vigorous law enforcement. The Justice Department 
fails to take the initiative to control the illegal entry 


of alien workers displacing domestic workers. The 
Department of Agricultire ignores legislative intent 
in operating food programs, minimizing the access of 
beneficiaries to surplus foods and school lunches. 
The Labor Department lacks sufficient investigators to take 
the initiative in wage and hour enforcement, relying rather 
on sporadic complaints. Slums fester although the local 
building department lacks the resources for consistent 
housing code enforcement. Urban renewal only half succeeds 
because insufficient attention is given to the relocation 
of displaced residents. 

Accordingly, a high percentage of impact litiga- 
tion must be against administrative agencies reflecting 
the intensity of involvement of agency inaction and mal- 
feasance in the conditions of poverty. 

In that CRLA often focuses on the role of the 
administrative agencies in aborting valuable rights, it 
is engaging in a process of exposing public officials to 
their basic obligation and accountability to the public. 
In this regard, legal services to the extent that they 
have entered this field are carrying a load for the silent 
majority as well as the poor ,' neither of whom have had 
an effective consistent professional vehicle to maintain 
on-going advocacy relationship with pertinent administrative 
agencies . 

Judges, like administrative agencies, lose 


perspective through repeated exposure to one point of view. 
The Judge who spends ten years on the bench processing low- 
income default judgments and enforcing non-support decrees 
can't help but formulate some definite ideas about the 
financial Irresponsibility of the poor, although the statis- 
tics of finance companies prove that the poor are more 
dependable than their middle class counterparts. It is no 
wonder that judges who are first exposed to legal defenses 
in creditor situations often tend to regard them with skep- 
ticism. Judges, similarly, are prone to condescendingly 
regard affirmative litigation initiated on behalf of the 
poor as test cases. Critics of legal services deprecatingly 
use this label to characterize litigant's rights as an 
attempt to legislate or interject political issues into 
the Judicial system. This label camouflages an unexpressed 
attitude that the poor should not take up the time of the 
Xjourts with controversial and potentially embarrassing 
litigation. The same critics v;ould have no qualifications 
about a dispute between a steel com.pany and the federal 
government interpreting an amendment to the Internal Revenue 
Code. Government and industry are continually redefining 
the limits of statutes and regulations and clarifying 
ambiguities in decisions through litigation, a function 
considered both reasonable and necessary. Judges, like 
administrators, can and are being sensitized by increasing 
exposure to significant litigation commenced on behalf of 


the poor, and the credibility of suits Involving the asser- 
tion of dormant rights extends as the body of case-made 
poverty law grows . 


GRLA is considered by many to be the representative 
of the view that legal service attorneys are unable to 
assist everyone, and should therefore devote their exclusive 
attention to the so-called law reform cases, ignoring the 
day-to-day needs of the client community. The unusual 
attention given by news media to cases having significant 
public interest has fed that image. It is a fact, however, 
that the majority of an attorney's time is devoted to 
matters affecting one or a few clients of a traditional 
nature . 

The organization however strives to handle 
individual matters so as to maximize the impact of the 
case on relevant problems of the low income community. An 
illustration of this point of view is an attachment case 
brought to a GRLA attorney with little prior experience. 
A welfare recipient's pickup truck used by him to haul 
scrap was attached by a general creditor. The client had 
hoped to use the scrap collection as a means of ultimately 
becoming independent of public assistance. The collection 
agency attempting the attachment had the reputation of 
being the most unethical in the community, engaging with 
impunity in indefensible practices. The young attorney 


sought to vacate the attachment on grounds the truck was 
exempt as a tool of the client's trade. When the Superior 
Court refused to hear an appeal from the adverse finding 
of the Justice Court, the attorney successfully obtained a 
Writ of Mandate from the Court of Appeal, establishing for 
the first time in California a definite right of appeal 
in forma pauperis from a Justice Court to the Superior 
Court. Needless to say the case involved laborious research 
and brief writing as well as even a trip into the hills 
to interview people who had sold scrap to the defendant. 
The process also provided him with a rapid growth in his 
skills as a litigating advocate. 

His next significant case grew out of a complaint 
by a farm worker that an employer had failed to provide 
sanitary facilities for field workers. An extensive factual 
investigation, research, brief writing and argument resulted 
in a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction 
and a stipulated decree establishing the legal responsibility 
of the grower for the failure of a labor contractor to 
comply with pertinent labor laws. The farm workers who 
joined in the suit also received punitive damages which 
the grower agreed to pay in lieu of going to court. The 
suit, widely publicized, stimulated administrative agencies 
usually lethargic in this area to commence enforcement 
disclosing numerous field sanitation violations and 
culminating in the rare criminal prosecution of a labor 


contractor for Labor Code violations. Growers' compliance 
with field sanitation standards increased substantially in 
the region affected by this suit. 

Neither case would have been possible had the local 
CRLA office not practiced selective caseload restriction 
enabling the attorney to devote weeks to preparation and 
development of these cases. In both instances the time 
expended returned a benefit to the low-income community 
which far exceeded the disposition of a myriad of isolated 
small disputes. 

Through selective caseload composition, CRLA is 
attempting to substitute for the default and defensive 
approach to poverty law an assertive policy in which certain 
low income clients affirmatively seek to establish rights 
and favorably define the duties and obligations of their 
adversaries; the landlords, employers, creditors and public 
officials . 

Effective advocacy for the poor in high impact situ- 
ations is more often than not beneficial to the middle 
income community as well. A CRLA regional attorney recently 
obtained an injunction declaring unconstitutional a provision 
of the California Constitution which required a two-thirds 
vote for the passage of a school bond issue on grounds that 
it conflicted with the "one-man, one vote" principal 
recently enunciated by the United States Supreme Court. 
The case Involved a school bond proposal defeated, although 


56^ of the electorate had supported the bond issue. On 
appeal CRLA will be joined by the conservative League of 
California Cities. CRLA has been supported in past suits 
by the Attorney General of the State of California, the 
State Department of Education, and in one critical negotia- 
tion involving the fate of day care centers for the children 
of migrant farm workers, by a growers harvester committee. 
A preponderance of the major litigation undertaken by the 
program serves the goals of conservatives in that it is 
calculated to alleviate dependence on public assistance 
and increase the self-sufficiency of low-income workers by 
placing the burden of their support on the employer rather 
than the taxpayer. 

While prejudice undermining equality cannot be 
readily eliminated, the maximization of impact occurring 
from litigation and negotiation, the use of every forum 
available to the lawyer to advance his clients' interests 
tends to reduce that factor of inequality v/hich has resulted 
from the simple failure of the poor to use the judicial 
and legislative process. 

CRLA attorneys can site concrete and substantial 
instances in which administrative agencies have initiated 
enforcement in long dormant areas of their responsibility 
following litigation and in which judges initially skeptical 
of low-income sponsored litigation have developed greater 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 11 


willingness to entertain such suits. Finally, broad-based 
success in the courts, agencies and even the legislature 
have shown at least some of the poor that in a democracy 
power can be hoarded by a few but not monopolized. 


Poverty is not just a lack of money 

or education; 

it is racial discrimination, 

it is cultural difference, 

it is a state of mind. 

Most of all, it is a position of 


the symptoms of which are apathy, 


lack of organization and involvement, 



It is self-denigration. 

The poor see the law and lawyers 
as oppressors. 

They come in contact with lawyers 
when they are being sued, 
when they have been arrested, 
or when their children are in trouble. 
The poor see the law as benefitting 
those with money 
and with power. 

The poor have little faith that the 
agents of the law 
—the judges, police, lawyers- 
will protect them, 
the poor. 

The poor see laws meant 
for their benefit ignored 
and unenforced. 

Most of us see a different world— 

Lawyers are officers of the court; 

the judges (who sit on courts) 

uphold the law. 

The policemen enforce the law. 

The law is meant to be a 

protector of the weak 

and of the common good. 

Society cannot exist without laws 

and without the enforcers of these laws 

including lawyers. 

California Rural Legal Assistance . . . 

The poor whom we have represented 

have seen that the law can be a friend; 

that the law can be a vehicle 

for protecting the rights 

of the poor; 

that the laws meant for the 

protection of the poor 

can be enforced; 

that the powerful, too, 

can be accountable. 

These insights can be the beginning 

of hope among the poor 

that the law and lawyers 

will serve man 

irrespective of station or wealth. 

Cruz Reynoso 


California Rural Legal Assistance 


A few observations 


A perspective of the law 

"Growers and contractors should be made to have 
sanitary facilities out in the field for the workers. If 
there is such a law that these facilities have to be 
provided, I can't understand what the hang-up is. 
If it's a law, it's a law. And it should be obeyed. 
CRLA should help here. Mostly the law is to protect 
the growers and the rich. Most of the time, when 
a farm worker is in contact with the law it is because 
he is in trouble with the law, or the law is being used 
against him. And that Isn't right." 

Rosendo Montana, Farm Worker 
McFarland, Rose Capital of the World. 

California has one of the most extensive series of laws 
designed to protect the health and safety of farm 
workers in the nation. Government agencies charged 
with their enforcement have been derelict in their 
enforcement duties. CRLA has brought a number of 
suits, only some of which have been successful, 
seeking to compel the government to apply the 
standards set by the law to the rich as well as the poor. 

A perspective on the war on poverty 

"The government has a lot of programs, like the War 
on Poverty. I do believe that they are going wrong 
because they are trying to cure poverty without getting 
rid of the thing that causes poverty. Can you see what 
I mean? Like you're trying to cure cancer with an 
aspirin. I think that one of the biggest problems is 
we got to take into consideration the people as a 
people, and we should try to teach the people their 
rights as a human being." 

Hector Reyes, Community Organizer 
Imperial County, Carrot Capital of the World. 

Most Federally-funded programs perpetuate depen- 
dence rather than encourage independence. Although 
most of CRLA's cases are service-oriented and 
designed solely to treat the symptoms of poverty, a 
number of its class action cases seek to deal with 
the causes of poverty. In addition, it has helped design 
various farm worker controlled corporations to 
produce housing and jobs. 

A perspective of dependency 

'I have worked for the same employer for more than 
a year. He grows artichokes, and I have no complaint 
with him. He is fair with me. Last year because of 
the rains I could not find work for about three months 
during the winter. This year when the rains come, 
I guess I won't be able to find work again. I don't like 
to have to get help from welfare. I want my self 
respect. I need unemployment insurance before the 
rains come so that I can have enough to give food 
and shelter to my eight children." 

Antonio Dorado, Farm Worker 
Castroville, Artichoke Capital of the World. 

Every major occupational group but farm workers is 
covered by unemployment insurance. CRLA has a 
pending case seeking to provide this basic protection 
to every American farm worker. 


Characteristic problems encountered by CRLA 


Rural poor need better 
educational opportunities. 

College for farm workers. In Gonzales, California, in 
a school district with a 50% student enrollment of 
Mexican descent, a young Mexican-American National 
Teacher Corps teacher was fired, and her husband's 
job as a school-home liaison representative eliminated, 
when she helped local high school students form a 
chapter of the Mexican-American Youth Association 
(MAYA). The primary function of MAYA was to 
encourage in Mexican-American students a pride in 
their cultural heritage, and to stimulate interest in 
further education among some who previously had 
accepted farm work as an end in itself. In part, the 
program attempted to awaken the students' interest 
in professional careers, such as medicine and law, 
and at least to encourage them to secure their high 
school diplomas. As a result of this dual emphasis, 
|farm worker parents, who had always assumed that 
[their children would be farm workers by the age of 17, 
Ibegan toencouragethem to apply for college. A 
record number of Mexican-American students (35) 
thereafter applied under special minority-group 
programs at several local colleges. CRLA, after failing 
:o convince the local school board to reinstate the 
fired teachers, was successful in securing a Federal 
Court order of temporary reinstatement. CRLA. was 
■oined in this suit by the Mexican-American Legal 
[Defense and Educational Fund. (Alvarez v. Force, 

S. District Court for Northern California, 
No. 51089) 

Equal education for rural poor. Although an equal 
education forall children is guaranteed by California's 
Constitution, local taxpayers are forced to absorb 
70% of the costs of this State-guaranteed education 
without regard to their financial ability. Beverly Hills 
taxpayers therefore, are able to provide their children 
with free musical instruments, intensive medical and 
psychiatric care, and remedial education, while rural 
taxpayers do not even have sufficient funds to secure 
an adequate numberof teachers or to provide children 
with school transportation even when they reside 
three hours walking distance (10 miles) from the 
school. CRLA filed suit to alter this by requiring a 
more equitable rate of taxation and distribution of 
such sums throughout the state. However, as the 
result of a recent U. S. Supreme Court case, it 
dismissed its lawsuit without achieving the desired 
result. The Governor of California has recently 
proposed a plan whereby some of these tax inequities 
will be eliminated. (Silva v. Atascadero, California 
Superior Court, San Francisco County, No. 595954) 

Majority rule on school facilities. California school 
children are denied adequate school facilities unless 
their parents can convince two-thirds of the voters 
in the school district to approve such facilities. 
Asa result of this requirement, the will of the majority 
of voters favoring additional school facilities has 
been frustrated in 155 out of 218 instances in the 
last two years. In reliance on the Supreme Court's 
"one man, one vote" principle, CRLA brought 
suit seeking to prevent a small minority from frus- 
trating the educational needs as determined by the 
majority. The court recently ruled in favor of CRLA. 
{Larez v. Shannon, California Superior Court, 
Sutter County, No. 2657) 



Farm worker failure to participate 
in the community stems from a lack of 
stable, adequate employment. 

Minimum wage. Farm workers are condemned to 
poverty and public dependence upon welfare institu- 
tions as a result of hourly wages which are less 
than half the prevailing industrial average. The State 
of California attempted to partially close this gap 
by raising the minimum wage for women in agriculture 
to $1.65. Industry-wide pressure from agricultural 
interests caused the State to suspend enforcement. 
CRLA. in a legal action affirmed by the California 
Supreme Court and joined in by the State Attorney 
General, had the legality of the minimum wage upheld 
and enforcement immediately commenced. As a 
result, 20.000 farm workers received approximately 
$800 thousand dollars in retroactive benefits, and 
payrolls for farm workers are expected to increase by 
at least $4 million in the year 1969. (Rivera v. 
Division of Industrial Welfare, California Court of 
Appeals, 3 Civil 12023) 

Illegal foreign competition. Virtually every occupa- 
tional group has restrictions, either by statute or 
professional code, on the number of persons who can 
practice their occupation. Farm workers are not only 
denied such benefits, but are faced with a continuous 
supply of cheap foreign labor competition. A number 

of CRLA lawsuits have sought to prevent illegal and 
unfair foreign competition without obstructing 
growers from securing an adequate supply of labor. 
Until CRLA brought a successful lawsuit on September 
8, 1967, hundreds of thousands of foreign laborers 
(braceros) had been imported into California each 
yearto compete with local farm workers. Asa result, 
American citizens were forced upon welfare and 
deprived of work. Subsequent to CRLA's success in 
Federal Court, the U. S. Department of Labor on 
September 11, 1967, entered into a formal agreement 
with CRLA in which for the first time domestic farm 
workers were given a voice in determining future 
farm labor policies. Thus, in 1968 for the first time 
in 25 years, the U. S. Secretary of Labor announced 
that no foreign workers (braceros) would be imported 
into the United States. It is estimated that this 
decision provided $3 million dollars in additional 
income for local farm workers, a minimum of 
$1 million dollars in additional income to local 
merchants, and a $750 thousand dollar savings to 
local welfare departments. (Alaniz v. Wirtz, U. S. 
District Court for Northern California, No. 47807) 

Working conditions. In 1965, California passed 
legislation which for the first time"protected the farm 
worker's health and safety. Because of the inability 
of the appropriate government agencies to enforce 
the law, farm workers were compelled to go to court 
in a series of suits seeking what the law ordered: 
toilets, handwashing facilities, and drinking water. 
As of the summer of 1969, neither the law of four 
years before, nor the conditions that the law sought 
to improve, had substantially changed. {Manriquez v. 
Mosesian, California Superior Court, Kern County, 
No. 105175; Garcia v. Kovacevich, California 
Superior Court, Kern County, No. 105072: Perezv. 
Morales, California Superior Court, Stanislaus 
County, No. 100602) 


Both local communities and the poor are 
often ignored by the government. 

Food for the hungry. Congress has provided two 
Federal food programs to assist the poor: the Food 
Stamp and the (surplus) Commodity Distribution 
programs. As of December, 1968, 16 of California's 
58 counties had refused to institute such programs. 
CRLA secured an injunction, before a three-judge 
Federal Court, to compel the U. S. Secretary of 
Agriculture to institute Federal food programs in 
each of these counties. On June 2, 1969, State 
Superintendent of Schools Max Rafferty joined CRLA 
in contending that the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture 
was discriminating against poor people and violating 
President Nixon's mandate that all hungry persons 
be afforded an opportunity for a minimal adequate 
diet. The State of California joined CRLA in this 
action primarily because the U.S. Secretary of 
Agriculture ignored the law and refused to comply 
with a binding Court Order to make food available 
for hungry persons in every California county. By the 
summer of 1969, California became the first large 
state in which every county was operating a Federal 
food program. CRLA, therefore, voluntarily dismissed 
its suit. (Hernandez v. Hardin, U. S. District Court 
for Northern California, No. 50333) 

Federal government encourages fathers not to work. 

Perhaps the most striking example of the Federal 
Government's failure to be responsive to the needs of 
the states, local communities, and the poor, is a 
CRLA case presently before a three-judge Federal 
Court seeking to abolish the "don't work" rule. 
a Federal welfare rule which discourages fathers 

from seeking employment and encourages them to 
desert their families. (Fathers can secure assistance 
for their children only if they refuse to work or desert 
their families.) U. S. Department of Housing, 
Education and Welfare Secretary Robert H. Finch 
is at least equally concerned, and has submitted 
certain proposals to the President which could 
legislatively achieve the results CRLA seeks in its 
lawsuit. (Macias v. Finch, U. S. District Court for 
Northern California, No. 50956) 

Divorce or deprivation welfare rule. The Federal 
welfare structure frequently compels unnecessary 
divorces by conditioning welfare assistance for needy 
children on the termination of their parents' marital 
relationship. Presently pending before a Federal 
three-judge Court is a CRLA action seeking to abolish 
this "divorce or deprivation" rule, which prohibits 
welfare payments for 90 days unless a deserted 
mother files for divorce. This welfare rule is believed 
to unnecessarily destroy thousands of saveable 
California marriages. A preliminary order on behalf 
of the clients has been issued in this case. (Jenisch v. 
State of California, U. S. District Court for Northern 
California, No. 48462) 

The "divorce or deprivation" case is presently before 
the three-judge Federal Court as a result of a prior 
CRLA case which was the first successful Legal 
Services case ever brought before the U. S. Supreme 
Court. (Damico v. State of Calilornia, U. S. Supreme 
Court, No. 629 misc., Oct. term, 1967) 


The poor need to be able to speak 
for themselves, not to depend upon 
others to do so. 

The right to vote. Only one major group in America 
is denied the right to vote: the American of Mexican 
ancestry who is literate only in Spanish. As the result 
of special Congressional legislation, even illiterates 
are permitted to vote in certain states. In addition, 
Americans of Puerto Rican ancestry, despite being 
literate only in Spanish, are permitted to vote in 
most states. The irony and the irrationality of this 
is graphically illustrated in California. Despite the 
State's long and uniquely rich Spanish-Mexican 
heritage, and its 1 1 % Spanish-surnamed population, 
Spanish literacy has not been sufficient as a basis 
for eligibility at the polls. The result of this 
inequitable exclusion has been an increasing loss 
of interest in community affairs by a group that 
helped write the California Constitution (in both 
Spanish and English) and which continued to be 
a real part of the California community until recent 
decades when the California Constitution was 
changed. CRLA presently has on appeal before the 
California Supreme Court a case contending that 
it is unconstitutional to discriminate against persons 
who are literate in Spanish, especially since a large 
number of Spanish-language newspapers and radio 
stations serve these people. U. S. Attorney General 
John Mitchell recently suggested legislation (nation- 
wide abolition of literacy tests) that might achieve 
the same result. (Castro v. State of California, 
California Court of Appeals, No. 33529) 

Right to water. Imperial County lies at the southeast 
corner of California. It is part of the Colorado Desert, 
one of the most geologically arid regions in North 
America. Because of water brought from the Colorado 
River, the county has become one of the fifteen 
wealthiest agricultural counties in the United States. 
At the same time. Imperial County has one of the 
highest unemployment rates in California. The 
Imperial Irrigation District, the agency which supplies 
both water and power to the area, has made a practice 
of charging abnormally low water rates to the grower 
and unusually high electricity rates to the consumer. 

It has been successful in continuing this inequitable 
system because it has been unequally apportioned. 
The voters residing in districts serving farm areas 
have 5 times more voting power than their numbers 
would justify. As a result, CRLA, on behalf of Imperial 
County consumers, has brought suit to compel the 
Irrigation District to reapportion. The case is presently 
on appeal. (Girthi v. Thompson, California Superior 
Court, Imperial County, No. 40096) 

Right to freedom of association. Federal law guar- 
antees to every major occupational group except 
farm workers the right to join a labor union. California 
is one of the few states that does protect fa rm 
workers. It prohibits employers from firing any worker, 
including a farm worker, merely for exercising his 
freedom of association by joining a labor union. 
Some growers have recently commenced to negotiate 
with such farm worker unions. On the other hand, 
at least a few growers have not only refused to 
negotiate with farm worker unions, but have pro- 
ceeded to summarily fire workers who have exercised 
their legislatively-protected right to join a labor 
union. In one case, 9 skilled farm workers were fired 
when their employer discovered that they had joined 
the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, 
AFL-CIO. CRLA filed a lawsuit on their behalf, and 
as a result the men were rehired and a full settlement 
was reached. As part of the settlement the farm 
workers were guaranteed a minimum salary of $4,500, 
protected from future firing by an arbitration clause, 
and their rights to join a labor union were fully 
recognized. In addition, the California District Court 
of Appeals, in an unprecedented decision, ruled 
that farm workers, including these 9, cannot be fired 
for union membership. (Wetherton v. I^artin 
Produce, California Superior Court, Monterey County, 
No. 53696) 


Farm workers need to have a share in 
the free enterprise system. 

The problems confronting farm workers and the 
rural poor cannot be resolved by litigation alone. The 
vast housing shortage in California is one graphic 
illustration of the limitations of lawsuits which, at 
best, can only serve to redistribute qualitatively and 
quantitatively inadequate housing. Another example 
is the shortage of job opportunities for seasonally 
employed farm workers. CRLA, in conjunction with a 
number of other community organizations, has 
attempted to use and cooperate with the vast business 
acumen and financial resources available within 
California to resolve some of these problems without 
resort to conflict or litigation. Described below are 
two free enterprise oriented programs CRLA has 
participated in - the first already in operation, the 
second recently proposed. 

Rural Development Corporation. In 1968, California's 
U. S. Senators jointly announced the funding of a 
corporation to provide technical expertise and seed 
money for the construction of low-income housing 
in rtiral areas. The corporation, RDC, while operating 
in a fashion similar to other corporations, would 
seek to develop new methods of design and 
construction in order to facilitate housing at a cost 
within the reach of families at the poverty level. 
Predicated on the philosophy that homeownership 
encourages family stability and community interest, 
most of the corporation's efforts have been in the 
area of home ownership. A major project, involving 
relatively unique design and construction methods, 
has been started in Calexico, a California town 
bordering on Mexico and heavily populated by farm 

Economic Development Corporation. The fertile San 
Joaquin Valley has one of the highest unemployment 
rates in the nation - it exceeds 16% during the 
winter and is as high as 40% for minority groups. 
CRLA, in conjunction with a local community action 
program, has submitted a proposal for an Economic 
Development Corporation to be operated and owned 
by a combination of farm workers and local busi- 
nessmen. It would attempt to capitalize on the 
seasonal nature of employment in this agricultural 
area by establishing seasonal manufacturing 
operations, requiring minimal capital investments, 
in which semi-skilled and unskilled labor is necessary. 
The business community would contribute its 
business and financial expertise, and the low-income 
persons their labor. 

An example of the type of light manufacturing item 
that would effectively utilize unskilled and semi- 
skilled workers without a substantial capital 
investment would be the manufacture of simple 
furniture such as garden furniture. Common stock 
with voting power in the corporation would be offered 
to all employees in combination with a public offering 
to the low-income community at large. The remainder 
of the capital investment would be from the local 
business and financial community. The expectation 
is that in the initial year a corporation would be 
formed employing approximately 30 persons, which 
would commence work on five similar-sized and 
related enterprises. 



What CRLA is 

■^'> . -^^'■^-.:- 

t-}? '1- 




jiB^^|jL^.,,_^_,,^,.. -i 





_ ^ 



California Rural Legal Assistance is a statewide law 
firm, funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity 
to provide free legal many of California's 
rural poor. It was the first OEO program designed 
to assist farm workers, and its initial funding in May 
of 1966 in the amount of $1,276 million dollars 
represented the largest legal services grant ever made 
by the OEO office. 

During the first year of its existence, its central 
administrative office was established in Los Angeles, 
with nine regional law offices throughout the state. 
Despite strong political pressures, the program has 
been refunded each year since. For two years, CRLA 
also maintained a special office to represent Indians 
in their peculiarly Indian problems. Recognizing the 
enormity and the uniqueness of these problems, 
CRLA was successful in securing independent 
funding for a program to exclusively serve indians- 
"California Indian Legal Services." 

In 1968, as an efficiency and economy measure, the 
central office was moved from Los Angeles to San 
Francisco to be substantially closerto a majority of 
the clients served by CRLA's nine regional offices 
and to the agencies and courts where most of their 
problems are sought to be resolved. An office was also 
opened in Sacramento to conduct an advocacy and 
legislative information program which would serve 
State administrative agencies, the Legislature, and 
other rule-making bodies on issues affecting CRLA's 
client community. 

In the same year, the firm was named the outstanding 
Legal Services Program in the nation by the Office 
of Economic Opportunity's National Advisory Com- 
mittee for Legal Services "for its services to the 
cause of justice for the poor, through innovation, law 
reform, legislative work, and test cases." 


Legal services are most effective in rural areas if 
they are provided on a statewide basis. This is true, 
partly because in the sparsely populated regions of 
the State there is often no single county with a 
population large enough to support a program of 
its own. It is also true because clients are frequently 
compelled by their work to migrate from one area 
of the State to another, repeatedly crossing county 
lines, and thus losing touch with attorneys whose 
operations are restricted by jurisdictional boundaries. 
A statewide organization provides a unique oppor- 
tunity for correlation of activities for maximum 
efficiency, and for specialization in problems of 
particular concern to the rural population. 

The CRLA staff, statewide, consists of approximately 
120 persons, of whom about 40 are attorneys and 
25 are liaisons with the community (investigators, 
community workers), plus appropriate secretarial 
and clerical staff. The central office coordinates legal 
and agency matters throughout the State and houses 
the administrative staff for the entire organization. 


Caseload and costs 

During the calendar year, July 1, 1967, to June 30, 
1968, CRLA accepted 10,351 new cases. Despite 
this average of 1 ,000 new cases per office, the 
median number of open cases per office was less 
than 150, indicating that there was a reasonably 
rapid resolution of the majority of the cases. 
Approximately 85% of the time spent on cases by 
CRLA attorneys has been and continues to be on 
conventional "service" cases-such as adoptions, 
wage attachments, and used car problems. 

According to the monthly reports of CRLA regional 
offices, during the same calendar year, 25,877 clients 
were directly benefitted by these cases with indirect 
benefits being extended to as many as one million 
more persons because of the statewide effects of 
some of the cases handled. 

The average cost per case during the same time span 
was under $100 ($96.26). This low cost was partially 
attributable to CRLA's low attorney-per-hour costs- 
$10.93 including overhead per hour as compared 
with a minimum of $25 per hour for associate 
attorneys in most California law firms. It is estimated 
that CRLA annually has produced income, or secured 
savings, to the California taxpayer in an amount in 
excess of one hundred times its yearly appropriation.* 

Philosophy of service 

Since its inception, the philosophy of CRLA has been 
to provide to the poor the same high quality of service 
that the wealthy client would expect from the law 
firm representing his interests. The poor, like the 
rich, are entitled to good lawyers who take the time 
to serve their needs. Just as the best large law firm 
represents business associations and groups of 
wealthy clients, because those groups have similar 
interests, so CRLA has acted as "house counsel" for 
groups of poor people. The problems which a poor 
person faces are not just his individual problems: all 
too often they are problems common to all the poor. 

The wealthy have traditionally used the lawyer as 
an adviser - on what is best regarding his business, 
on what is best regarding his children's education, 
and on what is best regarding his employees. CRLA 
attorneys have attempted to be that type of resource 
for the poor- to advise regarding schools, jobs, 
housing and government. Those clients which CRLA 
has been able to serve, for it is only able to serve 
a fraction of those who need its services, have come 
to see the law as a vehicle for their betterment. 

Poverty often brings despair and cynicism toward 
the possibility of change, individual and collective, 
through the legal order. The philosophy of CRLA 
has been and is that the poor, when served by 
vigorous, competent and high-minded lawyers, can 
have hope amidst poverty. Our short history confirms 
that this philosophy works. 

* For example, $3 million per annum saved by the 
elimination of county subsidies to landlords, Phillips 
V. Davenport, California Superior Court, Monterey 
County, No. 64125: $3 million generated in income 
in 1968 through restrictions on foreign workers, 
Alaniz V. Wirtz, U. S. District Court for Northern 
California, No. 47807: $250 million saved in 1968 by 
the suit to prevent Medi-Cal cuts. Morris v. Williams, 
California Supreme Court, No. SAC-7817: and $10 
million per annum saved by the food stamp case. 
Hernandez v. Hardin, U. S. District Court for 
Northern California, No. 50333. On the other hand. 
CRLA's annual budget is only $11/2 million. 



• • • 
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.•//•••V.V. ....••• ••*.•. 

•••*./...% * •...*..• . ♦ . • 

• • * V- . • • •••*••••♦••••••••*•* 

• ( 

• 4 

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36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 12 


Statistical data 



The number of poor people in rural California 

CRLA has a potential client community of 577,000 


Approximately 890,000 poor persons live in rural 


At least one-third of these persons (300,000) are 

dependent on farm work fortheir principal income.' 

Of this number, about 84% (252,000) earn less 
than $3,000 per year.3 

Of the remaining 590,000 poor persons, at least 55 % 

(325,000) live in agricultural areas and earn less 

than $3,000 per year.'' 

The percentage of poor families in rural California 

is over three times greater than in urban areas of 

the State. 

Urban poor 13.2% 

Rural poor 43.1%= 

California's racial and ethnic composition 

Minority groups constitute a disproportionately high 
percentage of all California farm workers. Almost 
9 out of every 10 farm workers are brown or black; 
although these minority group persons represent 
only one out of every five Californians. 

Population' Farmworkers' 
Anglos 78.8% 12% 

Mexican-Americans 111% 67% 

Others 10.1% 21% 

California agribusiness 

California agriculture is perhaps today's most 

profitable business enterprise. 

Although California's farms account for only 2% of 

the nation's farms, they produce agricultural products 

accounting for nearly 10% of the national gross 

cash receipts from farming. 

In 1968, California's gross agricultural revenue 

exceeded 4 billion dollars, and led the nation.^ 

As part of this abundance, California leads the nation 

in the production of 40 crops, from honey and 

apricots to dairy products and turkeys.' 

California isnolongera land of small farms. Typical 
of the increasing centralization and growing size 
of its farms is the 1968-69 acquisition of 9 Salinas 
Valley farms by United Fruit Company, Boston, 

75% of the state's farm workers are employed on 
large-scale mechanized farms (7% of the State's 

79% of the agricultural land is owned by 7% of 
the farms." 

Farm worker wages 

In 1967, the average California farm workerearned 
$2,024. '2 

However, this does not accurately represent the 
present condition. As a result of collective bargaining, 
unilateral grower efforts to improve the lot of 
workers, and CRLA lawsuits, California farm 
worker wages, although considerably lower than those 
for any other State industry, are the best in the 
nation with the exception of Hawaii. 

$2.00 per hour, general labor in wine grapes.'^ 
(Collective bargaining agreement) 

$1.65 per hour minimum wage, a 25% increase over 
the previous minimum wage of $1.30 per hour.''' 
(Asa result of a CRLA lawsuit, joined by the State of 
California in recognition of its validity and necessity.) 

Most California farm workers, however, are like the 
average farm worker described above. Further, farm 
workers, unlike almost any other industrial group, 
are compelled to involuntary idleness during most of 
the year because of the vagaries of the harvest season. 

Industrial workers average 2,000 hours of work a year. 
Farm laborers average 1.100 hours. '^ 

Farm worker living conditions 

"(The farm worker) remains, as he has since the 

State's early transition to intensive labor use farming, 

among the most poorly paid, poorly fed, and poorly 

housed of California's citizens." " 

4 out of every 5 California farm worker families live 

in dwellings determined to be sub-standard and 

dangerous for their health and safety. 

1 out of every 3 farm workers have no toilet facilities. 

1 out of every 4 lacks even running water." 

Farm worker health 

Farm workers have the highest occupational disease 

rate in California, twice that of all other industries 


25% morefarm workers than workers in general are 

hospitalized for serious injuries suffered on the job. 

36% more babies born to farm worker mothers die 
than is true of other occupational groups." 


Farm workers ignored by the government 

Farm workers are the only major occupational group 
excluded from unemployment insurance coverage 
and other Federally conferred benefits such as 
collective bargaining legislation. 

Frequently, laws enacted for the benefit of farm 
workers are ineffectively enforced. The California 
Legislature has enacted perhaps the most compre- 
hensive farm worker health and sanitation laws. 
Nevertheless, the State's Industrial Welfare Commis- 
sion stated that 90% of all agricultural employers 
violate such laws." And in a survey conducted by 
CRLA, 1869 violations of State field health and 
sanitation laws were noted in one county alone.'" 

Despite some of the most stringent laws protecting 
children, some local school boards have attempted to 
circumvent these laws by closing schools at peak 
harvest so that child labor can be provided for the 
fields. 2' 

Rural education 

The percentage of family heads in rural California 
with only a grade school education is over three times 
greater than in urban areas of the State. 
Urban family heads 12.7% 

Rural family heads 41.7%" 

Rural legal services 

Almost half of California's 58 counties have no free 
legal assistance programs. 

CRLA provides legal services in 17 counties, including 
7 where it is the sole legal services program." 


1. U. S. Census ot Population 1960— General Social and 
Economic Characlerislics, Calitornia, Final Report. 

2. State of Caiifornia. Department of Employment, Research 
and Statistics Section, Report 857, No. 1. Table 1 (1965), 
Report 119-2d (1965). Report 842 (1965). 

3. According to State of California, Department of Employ- 
ment, Report 830, Number 2 (1965), 84.1°i of the persons 
reported as being covered by Disability Insurance earn 
less than $3,000 per year from agricultural and non- 
agricultural employment. 

4. U. S. Census ot Population 1960, op cit. 

5. Ibid. 

6. California State Department of Finance, Financial and 
Population Research Section, Provisional Estimates ot the 
Racial and Ethnic Composition ot Calitornia, July 1, 

1966 and July 1. 1967. 

7. California State Department of Public Health, The 
California Farm Workers Health Services Annual Report, 
1967-1968. p. 4. 

8. California Crop and Livestock Reporting Service, Farm 
Income Situation, February, 1969, p. 11. 

9. Stipulated to by California Attorney General in Hernandez 
V. Hardin, U. S. District Court for Northern California, 
No. 50333. 

■10. Salinas Californian, February 19, 1969. 

11. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 
1964 U. S. Census of Agriculture, Volume ' , Part 48, 

12. Greenwood. Leonard, Farm Labor Trouble: Some Still 
Seek Peaceful Solution, The Los Angeles Times, November 
17, 1968, Sec. G. 

13. United Farm Workers Organizing Committee contract 
with Paul Masson, Inc. Vineyards. 

14. Decision of California District Court of Appeals, affirmed 
by the California Supreme Court. Rivera v. Division ot 
Industrial Welfare, California Court of Appeals, 3 Civil 

15. Greenwood, Leonard, op. cit. 

16. Governor's Advisory Committee on Housing Problems, 
Appendix to the Report on Housing in Calitornia, April, 
1963, p. 656. 

17. Ibid. 

18. California State Department of Public Health, The 
California Farm Workers Health Services Annual Report, 
19671968, p. 5. 

19. Testimony of Industrial Welfare Commission representa- 
tive James Whitehouse. May 1968, Mauricio R. Munoz 

V. Calilornia Department of Employment, Sacramento 
Superior Court. No. 191631. 

20. Razee, Don. Agricultural Work is Unfit. CRLA Contends, 
California Farmer, May 18, 1968. 

21. Madera Daily Tribune, September 20, 1967. 

22. U. S. Census of Population 1960. op. cit. 

23. National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Directory 
of Legal Aid and Defender Services, Chicago, III., 
January, 1969. 


|4 "« - i^i-'^ •'•S32fc'*%:i«3i^^ 


'* •" 


Location of offices 

1212 Market Street 
(415) 863 4911 

Regional Offices 

2. El Centro 
Professional Building 
Fifth and t^ain Streets 
Room 228 

(714) 3530220 

3. Gilroy 

22 Martin Street 
(408) 842-8271 

4. Madera 

529 Soutti'D" Street 
(209) 674-5671 

5. Marysville 
116 7tfi Street 
(916) 742 5191 

6. McFarland 

335 Perkins Street 
(805) 792-2157 

7. Modesto 

405 "H" Street 
(209) 529-8452 

8. Salinas 
328 Cayuga 
(408) 424-2201 

9. Santa Maria 
109 East Cook 
(P. 0. Box 425) . 
(805) 922-4563 

10. Santa Rosa 

1049 4tti Street 
(P. O. Box 879) 
(707) 545-4610 

Legislative Office 

11. Sacramento 
901 T- Street 
(916) 4467901 


Justice for the Rxjkal Poor Through California Rural Legal Assistance 
what is california rural legal assistance? 

CRLA is a state-wide law firm funded by tlie Office of Economic Opportunity. 

After extensive evaluation by OEO, CRLA has been judged to be "one of 
tlie best legal services programs in the United States." 

It is the largest rural legal services program in the country, and the first to 
provide legal aid to farm workers. 

CRLA represents a bold new venture in law : 

Because it seeks to provide the same high quality of service which a wealthy 
client could expect of his lawyer, even though this may mean a decrease 
in the total number of cases that are handled ; 

because it represents groups of poor i^eople, as well as individual indigents, 
recognizing that poverty is a social as well as an individual problem ; 
and because it rec-ognizes the importance of long-term research into the un- 
derlying causes of the farm worker's economic deprivation and political 


During the first six months of 1967 CRLA attorneys handled over 4,000 civil 
case.s. These were some of the results : 

1. A water company which supplied contaminated water to the low-income 
area of a town has purified the water, and refunded more than $4,500 on water 

2. A grower has conceded that wage bonuses — payment of which are contingent 
upon staying until the end of the season — are sums immediately earned, and 
therefore are payable to the employee at the employee's option. 

3. Several finance companies have reduced by 50% their interest charges after 
they were found to be charging exhorbitant interest rates. Over fifty contracts 
have been voided on the grounds that the sellers were guilty of exerting undue 
infiuence on the buyers. 

4. The U.S. Public Health Service has agreed to immediately construct a water 
system for an Indian Reservation, after having originally told the Indians that 
they would have to wait three years to remedy their contaminated water supply. 

5. A farm laborer who was fired as a result of successfully pursuing a complaint 
to the Labor Commission has been awarded $1,500 in damages. 

6. A Rural Development Corporation has been established to assist farm work- 
ers in the planning, financing and management of at least six low-income housing 
projects which will provide new housing for more than 3,000 people. 

7. In three rural counties, actions have been taken to protect the rights of 
Mexican-Americans who wish to qualify and serve as Deputy Voting Registrars. 


Many of CRLA's cases still await decision. Consider, for example, these actions 
which : 

1. Challenge the constitutionality of California's English literacy requirement, 
in an effort to enfranchise thousands of Mexican-American citizens who are 
literate in Spanish but not in English ; 

2. Prohibit the State Department of Motor Vehicles from suspending the 
drivers license of a person involved in an accident who does not have insurance 
and cannot post bond — without first determining whether he was at fault ; 

3. Question the constitutionality of the one-year residency requirement of the 
State Social Welfare Department ; 

4. Appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of rent strikers, challenging 
the right of public housing authorities to evict people without a valid reason ; 

5. Challenge the constitutionality of the Small Claims Court procedure which 
requires a iierson appealing a Small Claims decision to post bond in the amount 
of the judgment against him ; 

6. Request reinstatement of eleven farm workers who were allegedly fired 
because they were supposedly engaging in union activities ; 

7. Seek to compel a school district to provide adequate "compensatory" educa- 
tion to Spanish-speaking children ; 

8. Assist in the prosecution of welfare officials who, by mistreating welfare 
applicants, have continually violated State and Federal law. 



A legal service program covering more than one rural county is indispensable 
if legal aid is to be available in the sparsely populated regions of the state where 
no single county has a population large enough to support a program of its own. 

Multi-county coverage is also indisi>ensable in serving clients who are compelled 
by their work to migrate from one area of the state to another, rei^eatedly cross- 
ing county lines, and thus losing touch with attorney's whose operations are 
restricted by jurisdictional boundaries. 

Because it is state-wide, CRLA has a unique opportunity to correlate its activ- 
ities for maximum eflBciency, and to si^ecialize in problems of particular concern 
to those poor persons whose plight is often hidden by the majestic mountains, 
and green fertile valleys in which they live. 


More than 95% of the decisions made by CRLA personnel are professional 
decisions related to the representation of clients. Of necessity, therefore, most 
of the direction of CRLA falls to its 30 attorneys — in essence, the law firm which 
is CRLA. The law offices are also staffed by 23 community workers, interviewers 
and translators, drawn from the local community, and often farm workers 

CRLA is also a non-profit corporation, in order to be eligible to receive federal 
funds and private, charitable donations. The corporation is governed by a Board 
of Trustees, which establishes general policies relating to hiring and payment 
of i)ersonnel, administration, location of offices, eligibility standards, and referral 
of applicants. 

The Board includes 33 members, of whom 17 are lawyers — 11 selected by the 
State Bar or local bar associations, and 6 selected by CRLA and approved by 
the State Bar. At least 11 members directly represent the poverty community, 
having been selected by organizations of the poor themselves. 

Each area office makes local decisions in consultation with its Citizens Advisory 
Committee, which is composed of poor persons living in the area. 


CRLA offers its services to many of California's rural poor, some 577,000 
persons who cannot afford a private attorney, and who are not served by a local 
Neighborhood Legal Service office, Legal Aid Society, or Public Defender's office. 

These persons represent a wide variety of ethnic groups : Anglos, Negroes, 
Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Arabs, Armenians, Hindustani, and vast 
numbers of Mexican-Americans. Almost half of them are farm workers. 

To be eligible for free legal assistance, potential clients must have a yearly 
income of no more than $2,200 per individual, plus $500 for each deiiendent. In 
addition, they must not have a potentially fee-bearing case which might be taken 
by a local attorney. 

Groups as well as individuals may be eligible for legal services, if a substantial 
majority of the members of the group satisfy eligibility requirements. 


Central Office 

1. New Central Office: 1212 Market Street, San Francisco 94102, (415) 863^911 

James D. Lorenz, Jr., Esq. — Director 
Gary Bellow, Esq. — Deputy Director 

Area Offices 

2. El Centro, Professional Building, Fifth and Main Streets, Room 228, (714) 

3. Gilroy, 80 Fifth Street, (408) 842-8271 

4. Madera, 5 Yo.semite Avenue, (209) 674-5671 

5. Marysville, 116 7th Street, (916) 742-5191 

6. McFarland. 335 Perkins Avenue. (805) 792-2157 

7. Modesto, 405 "H" Street, (209) 529-8452 


8. Salinas, 711 South Main Street, (408) 424-2201 

9. Santa Maria, 109 East Cook, (P.O. Box 1115), (805) WA 2-4563 

10. Santa, 1049 4th Street, Suite F, (P.O. Box 879), (707) 545-4610 

11. Santa Rosa (Indian Seriices), 3700 Montgomery Drive, (707) 542-1221 

It's a mighty hard row that my pore hands have hoed, 
My pore feet have traveled a hot dusty road. 
Out of your dustbowl and westward we rolled, 
Your deserts was hot, and your mountains was cold. 
I've worked in your orchards of i^eaches and prunes, 
I've slept on the ground by the light of your moon. 
At the edge of your city you will find us and then 
We come with the dust and we're gone with the wind. 

WooDKOw Wilson Gutheie. 

Mr. LoRExz. INIy name is James Lorenz. I am a California attorney 
employed by California Kural Legal Assistance. I represent farm- 
workers throughout California. Today I would like to talk about the 
issue of law and order and how it affects our clients. 

Basically our clients feel that law and order is an issue that works 
against them, but not for them. Laws are enforced against them, but 
not for them. Why this is so is set forth, in part, in my written state- 
ment to you, citing 10 cases. We hope to submit a much more detailed 
report of the state of law and order in rural California at a later date. 

Today I would like to depart from my written statement, because 
last niglit I received an investigation report which I think rather well 
illustrates the problem of law and order. 

Two weeks ago in Sonoma County, which is about 90 miles north 
of San Francisco and is mainly an apple-growing tree crop area, an 
apple grower by the name of Donald Orr, was raided by the border 
patrol. Half of the employees working on his property were found 
to be illegal aliens, sometimes called "wetbacks." 

The border patrol had raided Orr's property four times in 1968, each 
time apprehending "wetbacks," so there was a 1.000 batting average 
on his property. 

Li fact, the same illegal alien was apprehended on Labor Day, 1967, 
and on Labor Day, 1968, on INIr. Orr's property. All of the illegal 
aliens who our investigators talked to said that Mr. Orr knew they 
were illegal aliens and that most growers who hire illegal aliens know 
it. The growers know this because anyone who enters illegally doesn't 
have a social security number, which growers are required by law to 
note when they hire the men in order to make social security payments 
to the Government. 

Apparently these workers and few domestic workers who also work 
for Orr further had the distinct impression that Orr preferred "wet- 
backs" to domestic workers. The reason was rather clear. He was pay- 
ing $4 a lug to illegal aliens which for a family of eight of domestic 
workers amounted to 55 cents an hour — whereas he would have had 
to pay more to domestic workers. In fact, Orr allegedly told the 
domestic workers that they had better not demand more money because 
if they did, he would hire "other workers" who would displace them. 
And those "other workers," pretty clearly, were wetbacks. 

Perhaps the clearest indication of the extent to which illegal aliens 
depress the wages in agriculture is that Orr was paying $4 a lug before 
he was raided; he had threatened to lower the price to $3 a lug; 


the day after he was raided, when he was forced to employ nothing 
but domestic workers, he was paying $7 a lug. 

In 1968, 151,705 illegal aliens were apprehended by the border 

Senator Mondale. What is that figure ? 

Mr. LoRENz. 151,705 throughout the United States, and U.S. De- 
partment of Labor officials have told us that for every person appre- 
hended, one to two people go free. That means that if the U.S. 
Department of Labor estimates are correct, there were approximately 
450,000 illegal aliens working in the United States last year, most of 
them in agriculture. Since the total hired labor force in agriculture 
is approximately 1.6 million, that means that last year illegals con- 
stituted 20 percent of the agricultural force in this country. 

I couldn't believe that figure when I looked at it, it seems so astro- 
nomically high, but the figure is based upon the U.S. Government 
estimates. Even if we said it is only 20 percent in the Southwest where 
a great many farmworkers are employed, that is still a very, very 
high percentage. 

Senator Mondale. That definition of illegal alien doesn't include 
green carders ? 

Mr. LoRENZ. That is correct, sir. 

Senator Mondale. And the green carder program is very per- 
missive. It provides that once one green card holder is granted a labor 
clearance, that all of his relatives can have a green card with no labor 
need survey at all. If it is 20 percent who come into the United States 
illegally on no basis whatsoever, and you add to that the number that 
come in freely under the unprotected green card approach, and then 
you add the numbers that are counted as U.S. citizens, it is clear that 
we really do not know the shocking extent of foreign workers in 

One morning I was on the border where I saw for myself that 40 
percent of the people who came through to the United States sub- 
mitted baptismal certificates. I am a minister's son. I know how hard 
it is to get those things. Some of the farmworkers were in their 20's, 
and they had a brandnew certificate. 

As far as I know, we have presented this to the Immigration Serv- 
ice, and they have not even looked at these baptismal certificates to 
see if they are illegal. Most of them are showing no concern about this 
at all. 

So our figures so far only reflect those who come across the border, 
and they make no attempt at all to include all of those that even assert 
any legal basis for their presence here ? 

Mr. LoRENz. That is correct. 

Senator Mondale. So that 20-percent figure, as large as that is, 
could easily be 40 percent ? 

Mr. Lorenz. If you throw in green carders, I would say easily 40 
percent, Senator. Forty percent of people who are working as farm- 
workers in agriculture are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents 
in this country, but are nonetheless taking away wages. 

Let me go on a little further to the extent of that adverse effect 
that illegal aliens are having l^ecause it is considerable. The number 
of "wetbacks" apprehended in California alone in the last 2 years has 


increased 85 percent. That is a rather substantial breakdown in law 
and order. 

At the same time, the agricultural employment of domestic workers 
in some California counties is at the lowest level in 12 years. The un- 
employment rate range is anywhere from 6 to 10 percent, and in fact in 
some of these counties right now it is 16 percent, which is extraordinary 
for the summertime. 

Three j^ercent is the national average of unemployment right now. 
In Sonoma County, wliere we conducted our investigation in the last 
2 weeks and just filed a lawsuit against Mr. Orr, 200 local farmworkers 
were unemployed and were receiving welfare assistance— AFDCU. 
It is estimated that county taxpayers alone in that one county — and it 
is not one of the major agricultural counties in California — spent ap- 
proximately $400,000 on welfare costs because of the number of do- 
mestic workers disj^laced by illegal aliens. 

It is further estimated that California taxpayers spent at least $5 
million in welfare costs because of the illegal alien competition. We 
have no figures about the national costs of AFDCU because of these 
aliens' competition, but we believe them to be substantial. 

The loss of wages, of course, to domestic workers was even more 
enormous. If each "wetback" earned $350 while he was here, and that 
is a very conservative figure, and we estimate that there were 300,000 
"wetbacks" in this country, the lowest estimate by the U.S. Department 
of Labor, then the loss in real wages, which otherwise presumably 
would have gone to domestic workers, was $105 million. 

If we estimate that $750 was earned by each illegal alien in this 
country in the time that he was here, then the loss in real wages was 
over $210 million to domestic workers. 

A vast percentage of these illegal aliens are knowingly employed by 
employers and that is so because if the man were not an illegal alien, 
if he were here legally in this country, he would be eligible for various 
benefits. State and Federal, which the employer would be required to 

In three investigations that we have conducted there is strong evi- 
dence that employers readily and regularly seek out "wetbacks" be- 
cause they are more malleable employees, because they don't protest 
and because, under common practices, they are often brought up for 
2 weeks and then reported to the border patrol just before wage pay- 
ments are made. 

Senator Mondale. Are you saying that occasionally they will be 
deported and receive no pay at all ? 

Mr. LoRENz. That is correct. 

Senator Mondale. Do you have evidence of that occurring? 

Mr. Lorenz. We do have evidence in some counties. 

Senator Mondale. So that the grower will use their labor for a week 
or 2 weeks and just before the pay period, he will call the border 
patrol and have them taken back as illegals, and they have no rights, 
and they can't demand their wages ? 

Mr. LoRENz. I would say that is a more exceptional case. Senator. 

Senator Mondale. You referred to Mr. Orr and the charge that he 
was paying $4 a lug, which works out to 55 cents an hour. If he were 


usin^ domestic labor, he would have to pay $7, which he applied im- 
mediately after he was required to get rid of his illegals. 

He, as you say, has been found several times in recent past to have 
had illegals. As a matter of fact, every time they have raided that farm, 
they have found illegals, haven't they ? 

Mr. LoRENZ. That is correct. 

Senator Mondale. The workers said that he knew about it. What 
kind of remedy exists to prevent this grower from continuing to 
exploit farm labor illegally and bring about these other disadvan- ^ 
tageous factors to which you have made reference ? 

Mr. LoRENz. There are a number of remedies. One is legislative, 
which I would like to get to later. But the more basic is more effective 
law enforcement and so I think it would behoove us to take a look at 
what the border patrol has been doing. 

Senator Mondale. You indicated that border patrol activity is up 
85 percent, so presumably they are doing something. 

Mr. LoRENz. They are catching people, there is no question about 
that. But the problem is, it is estimated that at least 80 percent and 
probably 90 percent and maybe more than 90 percent of the people who 
are apprehended return. That is the problem. 

We talked to one of the illegal aliens who was picked up on Orr's 
property. The investigator, who was a Mexican American by the 
name of Felix Cruz, asked him in Spanish, "Did he want us to help 
him dispose of his automobile since he was being deported." And he 
said, "No, it is no problem. I will be back in 3 weeks." 

At least 90 percent of the people who are apprehended are allowed 
by the Immigration Service to leave the country voluntarily. 

Senator Mondale. So when the illegal is apprehended, he is re- 
quired to go back across the Mexican border, and he turns around 
and comes back ? 

Mr. LoRENz. That's right. 

Senator Mondale. That is the extension of the sanction. It is a crime, 
isn't it, to be here illegally ? 

Mr. LoRENZ. That is correct. And if he is apprehended a second 
time, he is subject to a felony prosecution, but in 90 percent of the 
apprehensions last year, there were no felony prosecutions. And there 
are a number of reasons for that. 

One of the reasons is that the Border Patrol can't tell who is here 
the first time and who is here the second time, because, first of all, they 
don't even take fingerprints when they apprehend the man. This is 
so even though most of the smallest police forces in the country take 
fingerprints and even though the Border Patrol did so through 1965. 
• If they did take fingerprints, the FBI could tell them within 15 min- 
utes whether tlie suspect haid been in the country before and had been 
apprehended. So simple basic kinds of law enforcement practices are 
not used by the Border Patrol, No. 1. So they don't know who are 
pr'ior offenders and so there are no felony -prosecutions. That is one 

The second problem is that they readily take a man's word for who 
he is, so there are literally thousands of fictitious names in their files 
of 'people who have been apprehended. 


Thirdly, they fail to keep any cross-index of emiployers who have 
had illegal aliens picked up on their property. A cross-index would be 
useful for a number of purposes : One, as an aid to law enforcement 
officials in concentrating their efforts on those farms where there are 
most likely to be aliens; and two, as a basis to begin prosecutions 
against, tlie employers. But there is no cross-index. I can only say, and 
here I have no empirical basis for the statement, that the lack of cross- 
index certainly helps the lack of enforcement of prosecutions against 
the employers in this area. 

Next, the Border Patrol has failed at all to computerize the opera- 
tions, despite attempts by officials within the Border Patrol to do so. 
We are informed that computerization has been resisted by officials 
higher up, presumably witliin the Immigration Service, which the 
Border Patrol is under and by officials in the Justice Department. 

Next, the Border Patrol and Justice Department and INS are not 
placing any pressure on local U.S. attorneys to prosecute repeated vio- 
lators for felonies. They say that they don't have time. Of course, one 
answer to that problem "is that right now they are spending a great deal 
of their time running what is a revolving door. 

Eight now, the Border Patrol is probably the largest and most ex- 
pensive public travel agency in the world. So, of course, they don't 
have time to investigate cases to launch prosecutions. And one of the 
assistant UjS. attorneys in San Diego tells us that because there is no 
deterrence in the law against illegal aliens that come in and because 
they have no fear of prosecution, they have no incentive to testify, to 
be forced to testify against the persons who bring them in and who are 
sometimes prosecutecl. And so as a result of this, the prosecution rate 
of transporters of "wetbacks" is also unnecessarily low. 

Finally and perhaps most important, there are no prosecutions 
against employers who employ illegal aliens. There are several reasons 
for this. One is that there is a specific exemption in the United States 
Code for employers, an exemption which says that the mere employ- 
ment of "wetbacks" will not constitute a criminal offense. However, 
that exemption applies only to employment ; it doesn't extend to har- 
boring illegal aliens, feeding them and transporting them, which a 
number of employers do. 

Senator Mondale. Has there ever been a prosecution for the aliens 
that are not exempted ? 

Mr. LoRExz. Possibly one or two. 

Senator Moxdale. Are you aware of any ? 

Mr. LoREXz.We talked to Border Patrol people and INS people 
last year and they told us there has been one or two. 

Senator Mondale. Mr. Orr, the farmer to whom you have made 
reference, on whose farm the Border Patrol routinely finds illegals, 
would presumably be prosecution-proof for having them there as em- 
ployees because that is exempted under the act. But if he harbored 
them or transported them or fed them, then he would be subject to 
prosecution under the act ? 

Mr. LoRENz. We would argue, yes. One U.S. attorney we talked to 
said it is a gray area in the law and he really didn't want to get into 
a gray area. The U.S. Government has gotten into lots of gray areas 


in the law when students are involved in black militants and brown 
militants. There is certainly no diffidence at all in the Spock prosecu- 
tion. So we are not entirely convinced that there is no possibility of 
getting into prosecutions in this area. Furthermore, one man in the 
U.S. attorney's office told one California reporter, "We are not going 
to get into that area." He said, "There are too many wets here, there 
are too many employers who hire them. We would have an enormous 
amount of political i^ressure in the office if we started prosecution 
against the employees." 

That is the state of the law on the border issue in 1969 in the State of 
California. We feel the Border Patrol from our experience is conscien- 
tious, fair, willing to act, and reasonably efficient. The problems I have 
cited on their law enforcement practices, we feel, come from higher up. 

There are policies that could be changed by the head of the INS. 
There are certainly policies which could be changed by the Attorney 
General, Mr. Mitchell, who has made a number of statements about 
law and order in this country. 

Well, at present he has a law and order crisis in his own Department. 
The Border Patrol can be likened to a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta 
in its comedy and ineffectivenfes. It is probably the most expensive 
revolving door ever constructed, and if FBI were as inefficient as 
Border Patrol or as ineffective Its Border Patrol has been allowed to be 
in enforcing laws against the illegal aliens, this country would be 
inundated with crime. 

Senator Mondale. Suppose you were a lawyer for one of the large 
growers that came to you and said : 

Mr. Counsel, I would like to hire some foreign labor. I would like to bring ille^ 
gals up here, because I think I can pay them 20 percent or 30 percent less than I 
have to pay domestic labor. Can I safely do that without fear of civil or criminal 
penalties? What would you have to advise him? 

Mr. LoRENz. First of all, I would do what a number of defense 
lawyers do, I would never make any written memos or any notes of 
conversation. If I had to make an illegal analysis, I would be sure that 
was collected at the end of the meeting and burned. Then, I would say, 
"I can't tell you to violate the law. I think you are running unneces- 
sary risks, but if you were to work through a labor contractor, for 
example, and you had no personal contacts with wetbacks and you 
didn't know whether they were illegal aliens or not, but you used the 
right man as a contractor, you would have no problem." 

That might be my legal advice. Since I haven't been called upon to 
give that advice, I am giving it off the top of my head. 

Senator Mondale. So the result is that although we thought we 
had eliminated the Bracero Program, and though we thought we had 
set up a system where domestic citizens or resident aliens would not be 
exposed to foreign competition, in fact, there is almost an uninhibited 
flow of foreign labor. Unskilled, impoverished Mexicans are freely 
crossing the border, daily, by the thousands, to substitute for and com- 
pete against our own U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens in 
this country. 

It is reducing farmworker wages, it is displacing farmworkers and 
jobs, it is jeopardizing the chance of developing a union, it is increasing 



welfare costs and unemployment costs to which yon have made refer- 
ence, and despite the laws that exist, both Federal and State officials 
are refusing to enforce these laws in any way tliat adversely affects this 
flow, is that correct ? 

Mr. LoRENZ. That is correct, Senator. That is in violation of the law 
and that is what law and order means to lots of farmworkers in 1969. 
And in California, to cite another case very briefly, over a thousand 
cases of pesticide injuries are reported each year and a minimum of 
two fatalities per pesticide and at least 400 employee injuries and it is 
estimated that for every case that is reported of an injury, at least 
three cases go unreported. 

And doctors tell us, furthermore, that the only way they can give 
adequate treatment is to know what pesticide is used on the field and 
that for the Department of Agriculture either at the State or Federal 
level will not divulge. 

Senator Mo:ndale. We had a statistician here recently who testified 
that in his judgment there may be as many as 800 deaths a year from 
pesticides, and 80,000 injuries from pesticides annually, principally 
to the workers and applicators in the field. 

Does that surprise you ? 

Mr. LoREXz. And I think a substantial number of these injuries and 
those deaths must be laid directly at the doorstep of the people who are 
presently charged with regulating pesticides. They don't even make 
the information available to the public by which a doctor can give 
proper treatment. 

Right now, to cite another example, because the problem is not just 
with the Attorney General of the Ignited States, who has law and order 
crises in his own Department, the problem is also with the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture and Secretary of Agriculture. They are 
now suppressing all information which is submitted to them that goes 
into the initial registration of pesticides and demands have been 
made upon them by various groups, including the Environmental 
Defense Fund, including our own organization, and that information 
has been wrapped up in the General Counsel's Office and has been 
totally suppressed. 

We can't even find out as to those pesticides, which of them have 
not yet been registered, where the greatest amount of scrutiny should 
be given. We can't even find out what is going to be on the box that 
the producer is finally required to put on the box so that the public 
will be notified. 

The labels, too, are secret. That is how bad it is That is a clear 
violation of the Free Information Act. That is another state of the 
law and order in 1969. 

Senator Mondale. I regret we can't go on longer, but our time has 
just expired due to an important executive session of the full Senate. 
I do appreciate your coming here and providing us with this informa- 
tion on illegal entrants, as well as other legal issues. 

At this point, I order printed in the record prepared statements 
and other pertinent materials supplied for the record. 
(The information referred to follows :) 


Staff Report ' 
Administration of Justice. 

. . .Right now, tlic man wc are speaking of in Nortliern 
New Mexico does not see the legal process or court 
process... as holding any promise to him whatsoever. 
As a consequence, he is probably quite reluctant 
to even tliink that the government might offer pro- 
tection as well as punishment. Yj 

This characterization of the relationship of Mexican 
Americans to the administration of justice in northern New 
Mexico, made by a participant in a closed meeting last 
spring of the Nev? Mexico Advisory Committee to the Comm.ission 
on Civil Rights, appears to be applicable to many areas in 
the Southv;est. 

The alienation felt by Mexican Americans from the legal 
system has consequences beyond the realm of individual feel- 
ings. In northern Nevj Mexico, for example, the descendants 
of Spanish settlers feel that they have been unjustly deprived 
of their • lands through a legal system vjhicli is foreign to 
tneir tradition and which they do not understand. Many have 
indicated they support the Alianza Federale de Mercedes, 
an organization which says it is dedicated to redress the 
grievances with respect to their lands by legal means if 
possible, but by extra legal means if necessary. There has 
been disorder, fear and repression in that area (see infra). 
The witness before the Advisory Committee thought that all 
this could have been prevented: 

I think if we could begin to demonstrate in 
this Nation that justice is a possibility, and 
that the law and justice is for Alexican 
Ainericans_^/ benefit, that an awful lot could 
be accomplished that v/ould not cost the govern- 
ment millions of dollars ... 2/ 

!_/ Transcript of closed meeting held by the Nck^' Mexico Advisory 
Committee to the Commission on Civil Rights on May A, 1968 
(hereinafter New Mexico T., May 4, 1968) at 243. 

2/ Id. at 243-44. 


The Commission has received many complaints that Mexican 
Americans in tlie Southv.'cst do not receive equal justice under 
lav.'. The Commission has undertaken a study of this subject.' 
In connection wit'n that study, v.'hich is not yet completed, 
and in preparation for the Commission's San Antonio hearing, 
the Commission staff has conducted investigations in five 
Sou thv.'es tern states: Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico 
an.i Texas. During tlie spring of 1968, the New Mexico Advisory 
Ccmniittee to the Commission held two closed meetings to investi- 
gate problems in the administration of justice affecting Mexican 
Americans. The California Advisory Comjnitttee held a similar 
meeting in the summer of 1968. Under contract v;ith the 
Cor.raission, the California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. examined 
the composition of grand juries in 22 California counties to 
determine vj'nether Mexican Americans V7ere being discriminated 
against in the selection of grand jury members. 3_/ The Commission 
also distributed a questionnaire concerning employment practices, 
training programs, complaint revievj procedures and community 
relations problems to 800 law enforcement agencies in the five 
states. To date, more than 200 law enforcement agencies have 
responded to the questionnaire and their answers are being analyzed. 
Comamission staff members have interviewed several hundred 
persons knowledgeable about problems in this area, including 
leaders of Mexican American communities, judges, jury commissioners, 
probation officers, lav; enforcement officers, laviTyers, and 
-individuals vjho have had dealings with the courts or lav.' enforcement 
officers . 

During the course of these investigations and meetings, the 
Commission staff has received many reports alleging discriminatory 
treatment against Mexican Americans. Although the report; varied, 
certain types of complaints recurred. This staff report is 
intended to summarize and illustrate tlie complaints and allegations 
received to date by the Commission. A full report of the Commission's 
study v^;ill be completed and released in about six months. 

1. Police Harassment 

The most cor.unon complaint vjas that of harassment by the police. 
Such alleged harassment inc].udes discourtesy, frequent stopping 
and questioning of Mcx.ican Americans on the street, illegal searches 
and seizures and outright brutality. 4/ Accusations of this kind 
were made in most of the cities and tovms visited by Commission 

3^/ The 22 counties surveyed included the 20 California counties 
vjith the highest Spanish-rsurname population and the 2 counties 
witli tlie highest Indian population. 

4/ Unless otherwise indicated, all tlio complaints and allegations 
discussed in this report are based on staff interviews and on 
transcripts of closed meetings of State Advisory Cormii ttees to the 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 13 


The most shocking stories of police brutality v;ere told by 
residents of small tov7ns v;here, according to many Mexican Americans, 
such occurrences are common. 

A lifelong resident of a California tovm whose population is 
about 20 percent Mexican American told the California Advisory 
CoaTmittee of being beaten by the local police in 1963. _5/ 
According to the complainant, he was in a bar v.'hen three police 
officers told him to come outside to talk to them. At that 
time, tlicrc v;ere many migrant farm workers in town and he thought 
that he v;as mistaken for one of them. He told the policemen 
that "they were barking up the wrong tree." When he refused to 
leave tlie bar, the policemen, according to him, said he V7as 
"just anotlier smart Mexican," threw him on the floor, kicked 
him and handcuffed him. The witness claimed that he made no 
move to resist the arest. He reported that tlie officers threw 
him in a car and, when he could not get in because of the 
narrowness of the door, slugged him and kicked him inside. By 
this time, he told the Committee, a great crowd had gathered 
because he was well-knovm in town, he had never been in jail, 
and people were amazed that he had been arrested. He gave 
this description of the incident to the Commission. 

In the process of trying to get me in they kicked 
me and kicked me and kicked me and I would get up 
and I said why are you doing this to me ... and 
they would say, 'Get in there you damn Mexican I 6^/ 

According to the complainant, the officers subsequently 
took him to jail and charged him with drunkenness. He was 
acquitted on' this charge and, with great difficulty, found a 
lawyer who v.'as vjilling to bring a civil action against the 
police officers. One of the police officers was found not 
liable and a recovery V7as obtained against another. The 
judgment, however, did not end the practices complained of, 
the complainant stated, and lie and his brothers reportedly have 
been subject to constant harassment at the hands of the police 

5_l Transcript of closed meeting held by California Advisory 
Committee to the Commission on Civil Rights on August 17, 
1968, (hereinafter California T.) pp. 264-301. 

6/ California T. at 268. 


ctcpartment because of his suit._7/ According to the 
complainant no disciplinary action was taken 'bj' the police 
department against the officer against whom the judgment vjas 
rendered and since that time he has been promoted to the 
position of lieutenant. 

Currently a Texas IIighv7ay Patrolman is being prosecuted 
by tliG Department of Justice on charges of assaulting a Mexican 
American man, in violation o£ 18 U.S.C. 242, a Federal criminal 
statute proliibiting the infliction under color of lav; of 
sumiiiary punishment on the basis of race, color or alienage. 
The information filed by the U.S. Attorney in the U.S. District 
Court for tlie Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, 
charges "tliat on or abou^t January 7, 1968, ... in the V'Jestern 
District of Texas, /the^/ defendant ..., patrolman of the Texas 
State Highv7ay Patrol, acting under color of the laws of Texas, 
did willfully beat, strike, and assault ..., an inhabitant of 
Texas, VJith the intent and purpose of inflicting summary punisli- 
ment upon him, and thereby did willfully deprive [him] .. .of a right 
secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United 
Statc;s, to \.'it, the right not to be deprived of his liberty 
witliout due process of lavj." 

Similar incidents were reported in larger cities, A lawyer 
V7ith tlie Legal Aid Society in a Colorado city charged that police 
officers in his coirdiiunity abuse Mexican Americans. As an example, 
the lav.'yer cited the experience of an elderly Mexican American 
v;ho sought police assistance one evening after the steering 
wheel of liis automobile became inoperative. Reportedly the 
policemen pulled up alongside the Mexican Ar.ierican ' s vehicle 
and ordered him to leave his car and approach the police car. 
When he explained what had happened, the officers allegedly 
told him that here was nothing VJrong vjith his car and that he was 
just drunk. He denied being drunk. During the discussion, 
according to the complainant, the officer lighted a cigarette 
and the man asked if he could have one. The officer, allegedly 
replied: "There are no cigarettes for you, Mexican." VJhen he be- 
came offended and tried to walk av.'ay, he was arrested and jailed. 
At tbe police station, according to the lavjyer, tlie man was 
verbally insulted, put into the "drunk tank" and beaten by a 
Deputy Sheriff who broke his jaw. 

_7/ The September 1968 issue of "Law in Action," a publication of the 
OEO Legal Services Program, discussed a recent suit filed against 
the city and county lav; enforcement agencies in the area V7here 
this incident occurred. The complaint alleged that a Mexican 
American resident v/as beaten by the police in retaliation for his 
successful challenge of a traffic charge. Tlie plaintiff claims 
that he was beaten to tlic ground, squirted V7ith chemicals in tlie 
face and then arrested, booked and imprisoned. No charge, allegedly 
was pressed against him. ("Law in Action," Vol. 3, No. 5, 
September 1968). 


In a Texas city a middle age licxican American man who has 
often been arorostod for drunkenness and loitering told Commission 
staff members that he spent several months in a Veterans Hospital 
as a result of being beaten and kicked by local police officers. 
This reported incident began when just after he had bought a 
bottle of liquor, a police officer approached him as he was 
walking dovm the street and demanded the bottle. VJhen he refused 
to surrender the bottle, the arresting officer called for 
assistance and, reportedly five police cars appeared. The 
complainant said that he was knocked to the ground, kicked and 
beaten and detained in jail for five days without medical 
assistance although he repeatedly sought medical attention. 
When he was finally taken before a judge, he alleged, the charges 
were dismissed and he was taken to a hospital immediately. 

There have been several incidents reported to the Commission 
involving the use of deadly force, force that resulted in th.e death 
of the individual, by police officers against Mexican American 
suspects. These incidents, unlike the alleged incidents previously 
described, have involved some resistence to arrest by the victim. 
The use of deadly force in these circumstances, hov/ever, has been 
severely criticised by Mexican Americans since they do not believe 
that such force vjould have been used against Anglos. 

One sucli incident reportedly occurred in a small town in 
Southern California. According to one of the leaders of the 
local Mexican American community, three young men were going 
home late one night when they were stopped, questioned and 
searched by a police officer. The officer reportedly did not 
give them any reason for his actions but told them that he was 
going to take them to jail because they had no identification. 
At that ;}oint, one of the young men, aged 18, started to run. 
Another police car stopped and an officer jumped out and killed 
the youth vjith his service revolver. The officer was prosecuted 
o_n a charge of involuntary manslaugher, but the case was dismissed 
after the prosecution presented its case. _8/ 

2 . Harassment of young people 

According to persons invcrviewed, two groups of Mexican 
Americans -- juveniles and narcotic addicts -- arc particularly 
subject to harassment by the police. 

8/ California T. pp. 302-310. 


A Mexican American resident of a California city, who is 

active, in the conmunity , described an incident involving the 

excessive use of -force by Slieriffs officers against a 16-ycar- 

old hoy. She told the California Advisory Coiraiiittee to 
the Con^mission: 

I heard of these cases, but I had never actually 
seen one. This one, I vjas on the scene immediately 
after it took place. The blood wasn't even dry on the 
street in front of his own home. Because of a 
very childish disagreement with his sister, his 
sister liad called the police, and the boy being 
very resentful of the fact that she had called 
him - called the police - resisted in that he 
demanded to know why they were going to take her 
word over his, and he was 16. He is a very, very, 
slim, tall youngster. He is not a belligerent - he 
is not a tough guy - he is very passive, but in this 
one instance lie did resist and he vjas hostile. 

Nevertheless, he was taken, he was handcuffed, and he 
was dragged by his feet from the driveway into the 
police car, and it was blood from his face that vjas 
left on the street. I V7ent immediately to the 
emergency hospital which is very near the home and 
I saw the boy. I think any human being would have 
done exactly vjliat I did. I demanded to know v;Iiy 
they had to treat tliat boy in that fashion, and 
of course, I V7as ignored at that particular moment, 
but J. followed up on it. 

Immediately aftervjards, I went to the Sheriff's 
department and > demanded to speak to the two arrest- 
ing officers, and after an hour and a half I v;as 
allowed to see them. Their excuse vjas that the 
boy had resisted arrest, he had assaulted an 
officer, and I demanded to know in exactly what 
manner he had assaulted these two very large, very 
confident, very well trai^ned young officers. One 
said that /^the young man/ had kicked him on the 
shoulder while he Vi/as driving. 9^/ 

It became apparent to her, she said, that in fact the officers 
had no charge to bring against the boy, who was released the next 
day. She stated that no charges were brought against him as a 
result of the arrest. 

9/ California T. p. 133-135. 


A lav^'ycr in a city in Nev; Mexico told the New Mexico 
Advisory Committee that he sav7 from his office window a policeman 
and a man in civilian clothes chasing a young boy v^hom they 
caught in a parking lot. He said that the man in civilian 
clothes "dragged the kid down and the cop jumped on his back 
and started riding piggy-back on him and started to push his 
head against the pavement." 10/ The lavT^'er was so aroused 
by what seemed to him to be the use of excessive force 
that he ran down to investigate. His complaint to the police 
department did not bring any results. The victim, a 16-year- 
old Mexican American accused of shoplifting, had tried to 
run away from the officers. He later claimed that his 
head was banged against the pavement seven times. His family 
did not want to pursue the matter and the police argued that 
the lawyer could not have have seen what happened from his 
fifth floor office windov?, 

Mexican American juveniles complained repeatedly that 
law enforcement officials frequently stop, question and frisk 
them, regardless of whether they have grounds to suspect 
them of having committed any offense. 11 / Young people in 
one Texas city, for example, claim that they are stopped 
and questioned frequently by police officers, particularly 
at night. According to one young man, unless a young 
Mexican American can prove that he has a job, he may be 
arrested and charged with vagrancy or drunkenness. Accord- 
ing to a resident of the city V7ho has worked with young 
people in Mexican American neighborhoods, teenagers are 
stopped daily on their V7ay home from school. 

A Mexican American resident of a city in New Mexicio 
told a Commission staff member that his 18-ycar-old son 
was stopped for no apparent reason by some city police 
officers. According to the father's account., the officers 

10/ New Mexico T., May 4, 1968, at 41. 

11 / In Terry v Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 14 decided last term, the Supreme 
Court recognized that frequent stopping of citizens by law 
enforcement officers creates a serious problem in police- 
community relations. In a footnote, the court noted that 
"while the frequency vjith v/hich frisking forms a part of 
field interrogation practice varies tremendously with the 
locale, the objective of the interrogation, and the particular 

officer it cannot help but be a severely exacerbating 

factor in police-community tensions. This is particularly 
true in situations where the stop and frisk of youths or 
minority groups is motivated by the officers' perceived need 
to cuiintain the power image of the beat officer, an aim 
sometimes accom.plished by humiliating anyone who attempts to 
undermine police control of the streets." 


ordered the youn^^ man out of the car and proceeded to search him 
and Ills cooipanlons , scarcli the car and check t^ieir arms for needle 
marks, VJhen the young man asl:cd tlie officers v.'hy lie was stopped, 
they told him tliat tliere was a defective plastic cover on his 
license plate, lie v;as released, however, v;ithout being cited 
for a traffic violation. According to tlie young man's fatlier, his 
son docs not Iiave a juvenile record or any history of involvement 
v;ith tlie police. 

Many a].legations relating to discriminatory treatment of 
juveniles were made. One of the most common complaints vjas tliat 
Anglo juvenile offenders are released to tlie custody of their 
parents and no charges are brought, V7hile Mexican American 
youths are charged vjitli offenses, held in custody and sent to 
a refoi'matory . 

A counselor for the State Employment Office in New Mexico 
gave tlie following account of the situation in her tovjn: 

I knov7 that when we we_re brought up, there were 
young people in /^tovzn/ v;ho were friends of ours and 
the boys would get into minor skirmishes, breaking 
up signs or something like this. They vjould be 
taken to the police department, picked up, but 
they would be released to the custody of their 
■parents. As far as we know, no charges were ever 
made against these people. 

This is vjhy, I think, I v;as very shocked when I 
be^came involved in v7orking v;ith these young 
Alexican American/ people, especially V7ith my 
young friends, and found that charges were made 
against them, such as stealing cantaloupes out 
of a farmer's field, curfew violations, being 
truant from school and things like this. These 
v7ould all be on record and they all have quite 
extensive juvenile records. 

Aniong the Anglo people I work v/ith, these just aren't 
done. I don't think the Anglo children are this 
much better. I think this just happens, and this 
the vjay it is. 12 / 

12 / Transcript of closed meeting of Nevj Mexico Advisory Committee 
to the Commission on Civil Rights, on April 20, 1968 
(hereinafter New Mexico T. , April 20. \9GP,) at 108. 


The former Chief of Police of a city in New Mexico told 
tlie New Mexico Advisory Conmiittce that local officials had 
proposed to treat tv;o trouble-making young gangs in his 
coDununity -- one Mexican American and one Anglo -- in a 
widely divergent manner. 

The community had become concerned by acts of vandalism 
believed to be the v7ork of the Mexican American youngsters. 
The police were asked to investigate and found that both 
gangs V7cre involved; they competed to see which gang could 
be the most destructive. At first the Police Chief had 
difficulty persuading the community that there even was an 
Anglo gang in addition to the Mexican American gang. Then, 
according to the former Clrief, local public officials called 
a meeting of the parents and the children and proposed that 
since most of the Mexican American boys had arrest records, 
charges should be filed against them, while the Anglo boys 
would receive discipline in the schools by being forbidden to 
to play basketball for three weeks or other such measures. 
Since all the boys had committed the same offenses, the Chief 
of Police insisted that all or none should be charged. As a 
result, no charges v.'ere brought against any of the young men. 13 / 

3 . Ilarassm.cnt of Narcotic Addicts in Mexican American Communities 

Members of the Conuiission staff lieard numerous charges of 
harassment by the police of narcotic addicts in Mexican American 
neighborhoods in several Southvjestern cities. 14 / 

In April 1968, a Mexican Am.erican resident of a city in New 
Mexico who had a record of narcotics arrests, arrived late for an 
interview v;ith a Commission staff mcm.ber. He stated that he 
was stopped by a sheriff's officer v7ho began to search his car. 
He asked the officer if he had a search warrant, whereupon the 
officer took his pistol from his holster, pointed it at the man's 
head and said: "This is all the warrant I need." 

A former narcotic addict in the same city, who reported 
being stopped frequently by the police for "investigation," told 
a Commission staff member that an officer who once stopped him 
asked for pernission to search the back seat and trunk of his car. 
When he refused, the officer grabbed his car keys and proceeded 
to search the t;runk of the car without permission. In some other 

n/ New Mexico T., May 4, 1968 at 131-4. 

14/ A Federal probation officer in a city in New Mexico said that 

Host of the addicts under his supervision are Mexican American. 

In a city in Colorado Commission staff found that 70 percent 

of persons arrested in 1967 for drug offenses under State 

law were cither Negroes or Mexican Americans. 


Southwestci'n cities, individuals interviewed claimed that 
it V7as useless to pi'otest a search v;ithout a warrent. Protests 
Com;nission staff members v;ere told, often result in arrests 
on minor charges . 

A Federal probation officer in New Mexico speaking before 
the State Advisory Committee drew a depressing picture of 
tie inaliility of narcotic addicts to escape from a cycle 
o.'; unemplojTnent , criminality, and addiction. In his opinion, 
continuous harassment by the police contributed to perpetuation 
of the cycle: 

This is an everyday occurrence to be stopped and booked, 
It occurs to m.e that it is a continued cycle which I 
will describe to you. The individual on my caseload is 
an addict, he is not employed, thus, perhaps we think 
he is stealing to provide his habit and we vzant 
information. To continue the cycle, the police vjill 
pull him over, ask him, ... This would would involve 
the calling of a wrecker for his car, and then it 
would always cost him $10.00, $15,000 or $20.00 to 
redeem the car. They would book him for a matter of 
a day or two or three, and he would have to post a 
bond. Meantime, he has to borrow money from 
anotlier addict or a relative, borrow enough for 
the bond and the car, not being employed. That 
night he goes out and steals ... a couple of colored 
TV sets or something to sell so he can pay off the 
bondsman and the car. This happens, in a matter of 
a month, two or three times to this addict, and 
frequently they don't go to court, they forfeit bond 
instead of going to court. Of course, they don't 
feel they are getting a fair shake, and it occurs 
to me that it is a continued cycle. They can't keep 
up so they continually steal and they are pressured 
to steal even more by the way they are treated 
by the police. 15 / 

15/ New Mexico T., May 4, 1968 at pp. 144-45. 


A Federal probation officer in a Texas city told a 
Coiitiiiission staff member about similar problems in his city. He 
said that many of the people under liis supcrvison (mostly Mexican 
Auericaiis) are constantly harassed by the police using vagrancy 
charges as a means of investigation. Often, he said, this causes 
the individual arrested to lose his job, v.'hich may have been 
difficult to get in the first place. 

k , Pol ice harassment interfering vjith attempts at comj^nunity 
orga ni;^ation 

Some of the most serious allegations of police harassment 
originated from events surrounding attempts by Mexican Americans 
to orp,ani5ie themselves in order to assert their collective povjer. 
In northern Nev; Mexico, a proposed nieeting set for June 196/ by the 

Aliauy.a Fcderalc dc Mercedes was proceeded 'by' threats of prosecution 
for unlawful assembly by lav; enforcement officials. 16 / 

As the members of the Alianza continued vjith the plans for 
their meeting despite the warnings of law enforcement officials, 
Gome of them weie arrested on a variety of minor charges. 
Subsequently, a group of Mexican Americans attempted a citizen's 
arrest of the district attorney for Rio Arriba County at the 
courthouse in Tierra Amarilla. The attempted arrest resulted 
in the outbreak of violence. Two lav; enforcement officers were 
wounded and several people were reportedly held hostage. 

Following this incident, it is alleged, Mexican Americans 
were arrested v;ithout V7arrants, homes were broken into and 
searched without warrants, persons v;ere held incommunicado and 
an atmospliere of fear prevailed. Soon after the shooting in 
Tierra Amarilla, armed sheriff's deputies and national guardsmen 
surrounded the picnic grounds in Canjilon V7here the Alianza 
meeting vjas to be conducted and reportedly kept men, women and 
children in what v;as described officially as "protective custody" 
for more than 24 hours, v/ithout adequate shelter or drinking 
water. According to reports, there v/as no indication that any of 
these people were involved in the shooting or even knew about it. 

16 / The background and events of tl>e Alianza meeting of June 5,1967, 
are the subject of a report of a subcommittee of the Nev? Mexico 
Advisory Committee, July 10, 1967 and affidavits attached. See 
also The Ne w Mexican Land VJar by Clark Knowlton, in TllE NATION, 
June 17, 1968; and Tierra Amarillo Shootout by Ruben Dario Salaz, 


Attempts by the United Farm VJorkers Organizinj^ Committee 
(AFL-CIO, UF\'JOC) to organi;ie farm workers in Starr County in 
Texas in 1956 and 1967, led to harassment of the union organizers 
by the Texas Ran;,C!rs, according to a report of the Texas Advisory 
Committee to tlie Conimission. The Committee reported tliat members 
of the UFWOC and other citizens active in the organizing 
campaign v.'ere subj^^ct to physical and verbal abuse by Texas 
Rangers and St^rr County law enforcement officials. 17/ 

17/ T he AdminJ st^ra tion of Justice in Starr County, Texas , a report 
prepared by the Texas Advisory Conunittce to the Commission on 
Civil Rights, June 1967. The Committee found that: 

"On May 25 and 26, a Subcommittee of the Texas Advisory 
Comjnittee held closed meetings in Rio Grande City, At 
these sessions, the Committee received iiiformation including 
sworn statements submitted by members of the United Farm VJork- 
ers Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO (UFWOC) and other citizens. 
On the basis of this information, the Committee concluded 
that members of URJOC and other citizens active in the 
organizing campaign have been denied their legal rights in 
Starr County. These denials included: 

1. Physical and verbal abuse by Texas Rangers and 
and Starr County law enforcement officials; 

2. Failure to bring promptly to trial members and union 
organizers against v?hom criminal charges have been 

3. Holding of union organizers for many hours before 
they were released on bond; 

4. Arrest of UFl'JOC members and organizers on the com- 
plaints of growers and packers without full investiga- 
tion of the allegations in the complaints. In contrast, 
law enforcem.ent officials made full investigations before 
acting on complaints filed by members and officers of 

5. Encouragement of farm vrorkers by Rangers to cross picket 

6. Intimidation by law enforcement officers of farm workers 
taking part in representation elections; 

7. Harassment by Rangers of UR'JOC members, organizers, and 
a representative of the Migrant Ministry of the Texas 
Council of Churches V7hich gave the appearance of being 
in sympathy with the grov/ers and packers rather than 
the impartiality usually expected of law enforcement 
officers ." 


TiiG Texas Advisory Coirmittcc noted that the majority of the 
vjorkcrs and members of the Farm Uorkcrs Organizing CoDnnittee are 
Mexican /unericans, who viev; the Texas Rangers as a symbol of 
oppression. The presence of the Rangers in Starr County, according 
to the Committee, served to aggravate tensions and raised questions 
as to the impartiality of law enforcement efforts. 18 / 

5 . Complain t review p roc edures 

Almost all of the law enforcement agency questionnaires 
returned to the Commission indicate that the only body to which 
coiiiplaints can be addressed is the law enforcement agency itself. 
In the overwhelmxng majority of cases, complainants are not 
informed of the results of the investigation of their complaints. 

The fact tliat com.plaints have to be filed V7ith the very 
organization of which the accused is a member was cited as a factor 
discouraging complaints by the Director of the American Civil 
Liberties Union Police Malpractice Center in a predominantly 
Mexican Amer_ican area in a California city._ He stated: "In the 
beginning, A.'hen the Center vjas established/ vje tried filing at 
the local station; then v:e found it very unsatisfactory because 
V7e found that at the local station (they were) usually very 
hostile or defensive v;ith the clients." 19/ Many persons 
Interviev.'ed stated that they saw no advantage in making complaints 

18/ Id. p. 3. A young la\\7yer who worked in Starr County for the 

UB'.'OC described the relationship between the Rangers and Mexican 
Americans as follows: "The Rangers have little respect for the 
Chicane, and are intensely disliked by Mexican Americans 
throughout Southwest Texas; the dislike - and fear - is due 
as much to the Rangers' contemporary actions as to their past 
history. The traditional fear is so great that the mere presence 
of Rangers at a political or labor rally is usually enough to 
chill open and verbal opposition to the status quo." He also 
commented that: "VJith few exceptions, all State law enforcement 
officers act and dress -boots, stetsons, "western" clothes, 
revolvers in tooled^ vjestern style holsters and belts - so as 
to be as intimidating as possible." Civil Liberties Problems 
of Mexican Americans in the Southv?cst by Doran Vv'illians , 
a paper prepared. for 1968 American Civil Liberties Union 
Biennial Conference, p. 9. 

19 / California T. at 70. A VISTA volunteer in a city in New Mexico, 
who had been stopped and searched by a policeman while he was 
driving through a "country club area" v;ith a Negro child in his 
car reported a similar experience. He felt that the policeman 
had had no grounds to stop him and went to lodge a complaint 
to the police department. According to this young man, the 
desk sergeant who handled his complaint defended the action of 
the officer v;ho stopped the volunteer's car and said that he 
really did not have a valid complaint. The young man got the 
impression that his compliint would receive no further attention.. 


of police mistTieatment to the police. In Denver, Colorado the 
Mayor, after rejecting a proposal for a civilian reviev? board, set 
up a "rI.-!yor's Coiimittee" to investigate complaints against the 
police. In the fall of 1967, a number of people, inclviding some 
individuals associated v.'itli the Mayor's Coinmittee, agreed that 
tlie Committee had been weak and ineffecutal. CoLnraission staff 
mcrabers found that many of the people in the Mexican American 
conuaunity did not knov; about the Comnittee and its function, and 
those that did knov; about it had little faith in its ability to bring 
abput change. 

The Nevj Mexico State Advisory Committee heard reports that 
civil rights complaints made to local FBI offices v/ere investigated 
inadequately or in some cases were not investigated at all. In 
Texas, the FBI was accused of not properly investigating a case 
of alleged police brutality. A reinvestigation by Justice 
Department attorneys resulted in the filing of charges against 
the officer under a Federal civil rights statute. 

6 . Po], icc retaliation ap.ainst complainaiit s 

Commission staff also heard charges of police retaliation 
against Mexican Amerians who had complained about police harassment. 
In a city in Nev.' Mexico, a narcotics addict \/no had made a com- 
plaint against an officer reportedly was beaten by the officer about 
a month later in the elevator of the Police Department building. 
The officer allegedly remarked "so you v/ant to complain about me to 
the lieutenant?" and added "You should be glad I didn't blow your 
head off." According to the complainant, he V7as charged and 
convicted of drunkenness but his sentence was suspended when his 
lawyer gave the judge a medical report on the injuries inflicted 
in connection V7ith the arrest. 

A resident of the Mexican American com-munity in a California 
city alleged that the Sheriff's Department broke up an event at a 
neighborhood "Coffee House" which vjas organized to encourage young 
Mexican Airiericans to sign up for college, lie said that a number of 
the participants V7ere lined up and searched and several were given 
citations for selling coffee v.'ithout a license. The Department 
reportedly did this in retaliation for assistance which the youths 
had given to a local organization which had picketed the Sheriff's 
station about an incident of alleged brutality. In Texas, a victim 
of police brutality reportedly was re-arrested on an old charge 
after he complained to the FBI about the local deputy sheriff. 


7. Jul y sclcc lzion 

A common coiiip]aint made to Coniinission staff members was the lack 
of rejiresentation of Mexican Americans on grand and petit juries. 
Only in a few localities were Mexican Americans considered to be v;ell 
represented and even then only on petit juries. In some areas, it 
was alleged that the same Mexican Americans appear on the jury lists 
again and again. 

A systematic study of jury discrimination was only undertaken 
in California and there it was limited to grand jury representation. 
As in California, grand jurors often exercise the dual function 
of indicting persons for crimes and investigating and evaluating 
the administration of local government. Exclusion of persons of 
a particular ethnic group or class from such grand juries thus bears 
important consequences even beyond impairing the fair and impartial 
administration of criminal justice. _20/ A study by California Rural 
Legal Assistance, Inc. of tlie 20 counties with the highest percentage 
of Spanish surname population shov.'cd underrepresentation of Spanish 
surname people on the grand juries of every county studied, and in 
17 counties, tlie disparities vjcre particularly marked. 21 / 

On 206 of the 224 grand juries studied in tlie 20 counties over a 
12-year time period, the Spanish surname percentage of grand jurors 
fell markedly belov.! the Spanish surname percentage of the eligible 
populations. 11^1 In Los Angeles County with almost 500,000 Spanish 
surname residents only four had served as grand jurors during the 12 
years studied 23/; while Orange County, California's fifth largest, 
could claim in 12 years but one Spanish surname person on its grand 
jury lists. 2_4/ In the opinion of the report's authors constitutionally 
prohibited discrimination against a group can be presumed where only 
one- third (3:1) of those eligible for grand jury service actually 
serve, l^^l The actual disparities in Colusa, Orange, Fresno, Kern, 
Madera and San Joaquin Counties were 16.1:1, 5.8:1, 11.5:1, 9.7:1 
and 6.8:1 respectively. 26 / 

T07 Thl'^iriFornia Penal c"^"^ 11 919 (b) and (c), 925, 928, 933-5 
(West's Ann. Pen. Code, 1967, Cum. Supp). 

21/ California Rural Legal Assistance Report, p. 20-44 (hereinafter 
California Report). 

Ill Id . at 39. The California State Legislature Assembly Interim 
Committee on Governmental Efficiency and Economy held hearings 
on the California Grand Jury System in September 1967 in which 
many witnesses, including former grand jurors, complained that 
California grand juries do not represent a cross section of the 
popul ation. 

_23/ Jil-at pp. 41-42. 

24/ }A. at 42. 

_25/ 2(L at 37-38. 

26/ Id. Table VII, Ratio and Percentage of Exclusion Arranged in Order 
of Ratios. In these counties, 85 to 95 percent of the eligible 
Spanisli surname population had been excluded from jury service. i 


In July 1967, the Texas Advisory Comnilitoc to tlie Coiitiiission 
v;as to]d of clisci-iniination In tlic selection of jurors in two 
Texas counties: 

"Their- is jury discrimination in tlie petit jury, tlic 
grand jury, and tlie jury commissioners in Nueces and 
Kleberg Countries. /In the_Molina prccinc^/ ... they had 
over 1,000 /Latin Areerican^/ poll tax holders and v7o 
don't know hov.' many property owners, because they are 
both entitled to serve, but not one single one ever 
had been called." 27 / 

Several persons in Texas alleged that the procedure for 
selectii'ig grand jurors discriminates against Mexican Americans. 
Jury lists are made up by Jury Commissioners. 28/ The 
CoiJTaissioners are selected by the District Court Judges. It is 
alleged that under this system most jury conuiiissinoners are 
Anglos and the jurors picked are mostly Anglo, \7ith the same 
fev.' Mexican Americans serving year after year. The Texas statute 
v.'hich establishes this procedure was recently challenged in 
]i2.4l.i£l,y_1-? v. Brownie. A. 68-2-6-SA, 0^- D. Texas 1968), and 

27 / The Civil "Ri ghts St atus o f Span ish S peak ing Amcric an s in 

K] ebcrg , Nue ces an d S an Pa tri cl. o Counties, Texa s, a report 
by tlie Texas Advisory Comjuittce to the U.S. Commission 
Conmission on Civil Rights, July 1967, p. 2. 

28/ The procedures for selecting grand juries in Texas are 

extablishcd by Articles 18.01 through 19.08 of the Texas 
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1965. Article 19.08 sets forth 
the qualifications for a grand juror. " ... (1) He must be 
a citizen of the State, and of the county in which he is to 
serve and be qualified under the Constitution and lav.'s to 
vote in said county, provided that his failure to pay a poll 
tax or register to vote in said county, provided that his 
failure to pay a poll tax or register to vote shall not be lield 
to disqualify him in this instance; (2) he must be a free- 
holder vjithin the State or a householder V7ithin the county 
or the wife of such a householder; (3) he must be of sound 
mind and good moral character; (4) he must be ahlc to read 
and v/rite; (5) he must not have been convicted of any felony; 
(6) he must not be under indictment or other legal accusation 
for theft or of any other felony." In Hernandez v Texas , 
347 U.S. 475 (1954) the Supreme Court held that this method 
of selecting grand jurors is fair on its face, but a prima 
facie presumption that it vjas not applied consistently with 
constitutional standards for jury selection was raised v;hcre 
the county population was 14 percent Spanish surname and no 
Mexican American had served on a jury for 25 years. This 
presumption was not rebutted by the statement of Jury 

Commissioners that they did not discriminate in the selection 
of jurors. 



U.S. V IIunL, 265 F. Supp 178 (W . D. Texas 1967) 29/ 


It is apparent from these cases that one of tlic problems in the 
selection of grand jurors arises from tlie fact that tliey arc 
selected from among persons knov.'n to the jury commissioners 
pursuant to a "keyman" system. Jury commissioners are required to 
acquaint themselves v;itli all sections of the coinmunity. 30/ 
Altliough, according to the opinion in the K.unt case, 31/ the 
jury commissioners in San Antonio have made conscientious and 

29/ In the Hunt case, a criminal prosecution, one of the defendant's 
claims was that a jury panel which v.'as 11 percent Spanish surname 
grossly undcrrepresented Bexar County's 36 percent Spanish 
surname population. However, the court found that only 14.5 to 
17.5 percent of that population was eligible to serve as grand 
jurors under the Texas statute (above). On the basis of 
S wain v Alabama, 380 U.S. 202, the District Court held tliat the 
disparity shov7n in Hunt did not constitue such a disparity 
as to indicate discrimination. In the opinion of the court, 
tlie youth of the Spanisli surname population (a large percent 
of vjhich is under 21) and the small percentage of Spanish 
surname persons v.'ho completed six years of scliooling (assumed 
to be evidence of ability to read and vjrite English) account 
for tlic low percentage of Mexican Americans considered cligi.ble 
to serve. 

In llodri p,uez , a civil suit by Mexican Americans against the 
judges and jury com;aissioners in J^exar County, the plaintiffs 
asked that a three judge court be convened to consider their 
claim of unconstitional discrimination in the selection of grand 
jurors. The court denied the plaintiffs' motions but gave 
them an opportunity to submit further evidence in support of their 
;claim. In its denial of plaintiffs' m.otion, the court relied heav: 
on finding in Hunt that no more tlian 17.5 percent of the Spanish 
surname population was eligible to serve. The defendants in 
Rodri guez shewed that 28 percent of 13 grand jury commissions 
were Spanish surname persons and 16 percent of 13 grand juries 
were Spanish surname. 

30/ See, for example, Ra binowit^. v U.S . . 366 F. 2d 34 (5th Cir. 1966). 

31/ 265 F. Supp. 194-195. 


systematic efforts to acquaint tlicmselves with the Mexican 
Amei'ican coivo'imity in order to obtain a large ' number of names 
of potential Mexican Anierican grand jurors, allegations of 
discrimination persist. The kcyman system has inherent 
deficiencies in reaching all sections of the population for 
jury duty. The Federal Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968 pro- 
vides for a random selection of jurors cliosen from voter 
lists to implement Congress' declared policy "that all citizens 
shall have the oportunity to be considered for service on grand 
juries" and that every litigant have the "right to grand 
and petit juries selected at random from a fair cross section of 
the community." 32 / 

8 . Bail bonds 

There v;ere numerous allegations that the system of bail 
bonds weigli unequally against Mexican Americans who constitute a 
disproportionate share of poor defendants. For example, in a 
city in Colorado, before the institution of a system of release 
on personal recognizance, a person vjbo had committecd certain 
traffic offenses had to pay $25 to obtain a bond to get out of jail. 
Consequently, many Mexican Americans used to stay in jail 
unti.l their trial date because tlicy lacked the cash money to retain 
a bail bondsman. 

Conrnission staff members learned that a Mexican American 
resident of a small tovm in Nev; Mexico, for example, sucnt four 
days in jail after an automobile accident which did not involve 
personal injuries because he could not raise the $175 bail V7hich 
vias set for him. This man had hit a calf late at night v.'ith his 
car and was charged with drunken and reckless driving. Althougli 
he was a lifelong resident of the tovm, the Justice of the Peace 
refused to release him on his ovm recognizance for four days. 

Some Mexican Americans alleged that bonds V7ere set dis- 
criminatorily high for them in some cases. Recently, several 
Mexican Americans involved in a public school protest demonstration 
were arrested in California. They vjere arrested late Friday after- 
noon and charged with a conspiracy to couimit a misdemeanor. Bail 
was set at approxiraately $12,500 each. These persons, who were 
school teachers and leaders of the Mexican American community, 
V7ere unable to raise money for bond immediately and were forced to 
spend the \7cekend in jail, until they could receive a court hearing 
to seel; a reduction of their bond. On Monday, their bail was 
reduced and eventually they were released on a bond of approximately 
$250 each. 33/ 

32/ Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968, 62 Stat 951, 28 U.S.C, 

1861 et scq. 
33_/ California T. pp. 247-250. 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 14 


9 . Lnn; ',iiaf;,c Problems 

In 1963, the California Advisory Comniittce to the United States 
Commission on Civil Rights cited the problem of language differences 
and the effect it had on Spanish spealcing people in their contacts 
with tlie police and the courts. The Committe said: 

It appeared to the Conimtttee, however, that v.'hile the 
Spanish speaking groups do not feel that their problems 
are exacerbated as the Negro's, their problems are com- 
plicated by the additional fact that many speak mainly 
Spanish. Often, apparently, Spanish speaking persons 
literally do not understand V7hat is happening to them 
in contacts V7ith the police, district attorneys, and 
some courts. , .,, 

This language difficulty seems a real one to the Committee. 
It also appears that many lav? enforcement officials 
are not cognizant of it. 34/ 

Difficulties for Mexican Americans arising from lack of 
fluency in English vjere cited by many of the persons interviewed 
by Commission staff, including judges, lawyers and probation 
officers, as barriers to equal justice. In most cases, Mexican 
Americans dealing v/ith law enforcement officials knov? enough 
English to communicate, but it often is questionable vjhether they 
understand their legal rights, such as their right to remain 
silent, especially when these rights are explained to them in 
Englisli rather than in Spanish. 

A Mexican American v7ho has difficulty wit'n English may 
experience other problems in his contacts v.'ith law enforcement 
officers. If he does not understand the officer's questions or 
co,Tjnaiids a routine contact can escalate into an unnecessary arrest 
and detention. A 1967 report concerned with Mexican American and 
law enforcement relations in Los Angeles, cited an incident between 
a Spanish speaking Nicaraguan and a police officer v.'hich illustrates 
this problem as well as suggests the racist attitudes held by some lav; 
enforcement: officers: 

In Apri]. 1966, a Spanish speaking adult male and his 
friends v;ere fixing a flat tire on the llollowood 
freev;ay. A police officer stopped and asked wliai they 
were doing. The driver of the car fixing his tire 
with a cigarette in his mouth, looked at the police 
officer and did not answer as he could not speak 
English. The officer became very angry and demanded 

34/ California Advisory Comiiiittcc to the U.S. Con^mission on Civil 
Righ I s , P olice-Minorit y G roup Relations in L os Angeles and tlie 
S an Fr ancisco Ba y Area , p. 37 (August 1963). 


tliat lie remove Llic cigarette from his mouth, stand up 
and sliov; him some re.'^pectl The driver of the car smiled 
and coni inued to vjork on liis tire. 'The officer bt^came 
more angry, put him over the car and began beating him 
and calling him a "dirty Mexican." 35/ 

In some cases, injustices occur and law enforcement suffers 
because of the language barrier. In one case, a Comjiiission staff 
member v;as told, a youth v;ho was trying to quell a riot was 
arrested because the police, wlio did not understand Spanish, 
thought tliat he was trying to '^c'i'te"- one'. 36 / 

A probation officer in Arizona reported an incident in his 
State illustrating that language disability not only can produce 
misunderstanding, confusion, and inappropriate reactions by the 
police but injustice in .the in t'ne courts as well. He related 
that in 1966, an intoxicated Mexican American struck his daughter 
for being tardy in obeying an order. His wife called the 
police and told them that her husband had assaulted their daugliter. 
Apparently believirQ that the vjife had reported that her husband had 
sexually assaulted his daugher, the police arrived with drav7n guns. 
Tlie father v.^as taken before a magistrate and cliargcd with sexually 
molesting liis Husband'.' Understanding little English and thinking 
he was being charged only v;ith drunkenness, the husband mjde no 
objection to t'ne charge. There v.'as no interpreter present to 
explain the cliarge or h^lp him to reply properly. He vjas then 
placed in the county jail for two months awaiting trial because 
he could not afford the high bond that had been set. Eventually, 
the probation of f icer, v7ho had a heavy caseload, was able to 
interviev7 the defendant and converse vjit'n liim in Spanish. Upon 
learning the facts the probation officer explained the situation 
to the magistrate, who dismissed the case. 

1 . Attitudes tovjard the a dministration of j ustice 

Many Mexican An;ericans are fearful and liostile towards ttie 
police and distrustful of the courts. People reportedly subject 
to harassment by the police in a city in Nev7 Mexico told a 
Commission staff member that they were afraid to leave their 
for fear of being arrested. Mexican American youths in a Cali- 
fornia city reportedly V7ere afraid to hold a dance in a settlement 
house for fear of having the police break up the dance and arrest 
them. A number of people throughout the Southwest said tliat they 
V7ere unv7illing to complain about police abuse for fear of 
retaliation. Commission investigators also heard that many Mexican 
American defendants have a tendency to plead guilty or forfeit 
bond even thougli they believe that they are innocent. 

35/ A. Morales, Historical and Attitudinal Factors R ela ted to Cur r ent 
Mexic an Aricrican -- Law V.n f ore er.icn t Concerns in I-os Angeles, 
p. 7 (April 227"r967). ' 

36 / Out of 146 respondent lavj enforcement agencies, only 6 said tliat 

they provided Spanish courses for thcii" Anglo officers. USCCR 

Questionnaire, ansv;ers to Question IV D. tor the employment 

figures on Mexican Am.erican officeirs, v7!io are presumably biliiviia] 
see infra. i y .. 


Ajnong younger McxiCcui Aiacricans particularly, Llicrc is 
evidence of outright liostility tov7ards law enforcement officials 
as vjell as fear. Lately, tiiere have been some sporadic attacks 
on policemen in the Southvjest. Although several cities have 
established policc-comnunity relations units, tliese are believed 
by Mexican Americans to be public relations units only, designed 
to "sell" the police department and to obtain information for 
it ratlier than to pro;note understanding for tlie community in 
the department. 

In one California city, Mexican Americans accused tlie police- 
cominunity relations unit of the police department of being an 
agency designed to infliltrate the Mexican American coirsaunity. 
Several persons alleged that the information v.'hich led to the 
arrests of the leaders of a school protest demonstration vjas 
obtained by the police -comuiunity relations unit of that city. 37 / 

Police-community relations units are not yet very com<mon 
in the Soutliv;est. Out of 232 agencies responding to the Comjnission' s 
questionnaire, 35 reported that 5ihey have such units. Another 
32 reported plans to establish one. The units now established 
employ 151 men, of whom 25 are Mexican Americans. 38 / 

1 1 . Em]-j lo;^-ment of Mex ican American s in lav; enforcement agencies 

The' Commission also inquired into the practices of police 
departments in employing Spanish surname persons. The Texas 
law enforcement agencies responding to the Comjnission questionnaire 
shov:ed a rough ; correlation betv;een a substantial Mexican American 
population (over AO percent) and the employment of more than a 
token number of Mexican Americans in the local police force. 
According to a preliminary assessment of the ansv;ers to the 
questionnaire, vjliere the Mexican American population is less than 
40 percent, there are generally very few or no Mexican Americans 
em.ployed by law enforcement agencies. Approximately 7.4 percent 
of the total uniformed personnel in 232 agencies in the Southvjcst 
responding to the questionnaire thus far are Mexican Americans, In 1960, 
about 12 to 14 percent of the Southwest 's population was Mexican American 
The Texas Rangers, an elite 135 year old statewide law enforcement 
agency under the Texas Department of Public Safety, currently 
employs 52 men. None of th.esc 52 men is a Mexican American and 
fev; Mexican Ainericans have ever served on the Rangers. 

3_7/ The acting commander of a police community relations unit told 
the California State Advisory Committee that he vjas required to 
keep the police chief fully informed of every meeting tliat he 
attended, including the names of persons who voiced complaints 
against the police, California T, p. 240. However, the police- 
community relations unit did not seem to be able to effectuate 
fJ\Z<^,}'!^^."^^i i'\f'ie policies of the department, even if tliey v.'orc 
p ^40-251 "'""^^' detrimental effect on community relations. Id., 

38_/ USCOl Questionnaire, answers to Question V B. 


Erai)lo3'ineiit of Mexican Americans in a lavj Qnf or cement agency 
docs not guarantee jnst trc^atmcnt of citizens. Several complaints 
cliarginr; use of excessive force v.'ere made against Spanisli 
surp.aifie In^.' enforcement officers. Soine persons interviev.'ed 
stated that Mexican American policcr.ien tend to be more brutal 
tov:ards Mexican An\ericans to gain acceptance by their Anglo fellow 
officers and to be "one of them." 

Fev.' Mexican Americans are in policy-making positions in law 
ci forcemcnt agencies. Out of 171 agencies responsing to emplo^Tiient 
questions on the Commission's questionnaire only 10 are headed 
by a Mexican American and 8 of these are in tovms of less than 
10,000 in population. 39/ 

39/ Id, Attaclimont A. 


[Elxcerpt from Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems] 




Volume 4 Number 1 March, 1968 


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Volume 4 

Number 1 

March 1968 


Stephen H. Case 

Clarence W. Olmstead, Jr. John A. Hodges Charles F. Feldman 
Writing & Research Editor Managing Editor Administrative Editor 

Articles Editors 
Kevin J, Curley 
Lawrence R. Dittelman 

Jay W. Luther 
Richard C. Seltzer 

Ralph C. Alldredge 
Bruce F. Burton 
James F. Dausch 
Jeffry S. Hoffman 

John M. Brickman 
Douglas Broadwater 
Ronald V. Bryant 
J. Michael Callan 
O. Wayne Coon 
Robert D. Croog 
Julian W. Friedman 
James M. Gaynor 
Daniel C. Goldfarb 

Revision Editors 

Lois A. Lempel 

John M. Oseth 

Richard A. Rappaport 


Mitchell L Greenwald 
W. David Harrington 

Lois D. Hoffman 

Edward M. Kabak 
D. Lloyd Macdonald 

Thomas F. Munno 
Robert C. Myers 

Norman R. Nelson 

Naomi L. Reice 

Judith S. Seplowitz 

Michael H. Stein 

Robert L. Wolfe 

Andrew D. T. Pfeffer 

Mary Patricia Schaffer 

Allen E. Shoenberger 

John N. Siebold 

Michael Targoff 

Michael P. Tierney 

Nicholas R. Weiskopf 

Richard L Wile 

George S. Withy 

Board of Advisors 

Prof. Curtis J. Berger Prof. E. Allan Farnsworth 

Prof. Adolf A. Berle Prof. William K. Jones 

Hon. Frederick van Pelt Bryan Prof. Telford Taylor 

Directors of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, Inc. 

Michael N. Block Michael R. Goldenberg 

Lucian T. Jones 

E. Allan Farnsworth 

Lawrence S. Feld 

Wade H. Nichols 
Edwin G. Schuck 

The Editors wish to thank Professor David Caplovits of the Columbia 

University Bureau of Applied Social Research for his assistance 

with articles in this edition. 


An apple harvester from Florida and his family outside their labor camp 
home on Mud Lane Road in Sodus, New York. September 12, 1967. 

Migrant Farm Labor in Upstate New York* 

This article reports the findings and recommendations of Jeffry 
Hoffman and Richard Seltzer, editors of the Columbia Journal of 
Law and Social Problems, who spent four weeks during the 
August-September, 1967, harvest season touring farms, orchards, 
and migrant labor camps in Chautauqua, Wayne, and Cattaraugus 
Counties in upstate New York. The editors met and conversed with 
numerous growers, crew leaders, migrant workers, State officials, 
and others acquainted with migrant farm labor conditions. Unanno- 
tated quotes and statements of fact are attributable to the editors' 
personal observations. The Columbia Journal of Law and Social 
Problems wishes to thank the many persons who aided in the prepa- 
ration of this article. Research for this article was conducted with 
the aid of a grant from the New World Foundation, receipt of which 
is gratefully acknowledged. 

I. A Thousand Miles to Help with a Harvest 2 

n. The Migrant Employment Situation 4 

A. New York's Seasonal Demand for Farm Labor 4 

B. Joining Migrants and New York Growers 5 

C. Absence of Bargaining Over Wages 7 

D. Legislation to Moderate Crew Leaders' Power 9 

E. Migrant Earnings 13 

F. The "Free Labor Market" 19 

G. The Possibility of Unionization 21 

in. Living Conditions 23 

A. Quality of Existing Conditions 23 

B. Housing Regulations 25 

C. Sanitary Regulations 30 

D. Enforcement Practices 34 

IV. Application of Social Legislation 38 

A. Welfare Laws 38 

B. Workmen's Compensation 41 

C. Unemployment Insurance 41 

V. Education of Migrant Children 42 

A. Culturally Disadvantaged Children 42 

B. Structuring Pre-school Education 43 

C. The Regular School Curriculum 45 

VL Conclusion 46 

A. Migrants : Exploited and Unprotected 46 

B. Better Use of Existing Remedies for Migrant Problems 47 

C. Improved Laws Regulating Migrant Farm Labor 48 

D. Need for Immediate Improvement 48 

* This article also appeared in a Supplement to the Columbia Law School News, 
March 27, 1968. 


I. A Thousand Miles to Help with a Harvest 

American agriculture is one of the most increasingly efficient and pro- 
ductive sectors of the national economy. In the twentieth century there has 
been a steady reduction in the percentage of Americans who must work on 
farms to grow and harvest the nation's food. Americans spend a smaller part 
of their incomes for food than do the citizens of any other country.^ This 
success, however, does not always inure to those whose toil sustains it. The 
nation's migrant farm laborers are mired in a "culture of poverty" while 
the fields around them produce an abundance unequalled in man's history. 

New York, the seventh largest employer of migrant labor in the country,- 
in 1967 depended on 17,000 interstate migrant farm workers.^ Most of New 
York's migrant workers are recruited in Florida or Puerto Rico. Usually, 
they are people whose fathers have been sharecroppers or tenant farmers.^ In 
New York they may work only three weeks during the harvest peak, or they 
may be in the State working intermittently from May to November. 

Migrant labor is tough, monotonous work. It is stooping and crawling 
to plant or pick strawberries, tomatoes, and potatoes, and climbing to pick 
apples and pears. It means harvesting cherries under a hot sun and picking 
grapes at eight in the morning when the vines are sopping wet with dew 
and a bone-chilling wind is gusting in from Lake Erie. 

When observed around their camps, migrants seem docile to the point 
of lethargy. Migrants are also slow to criticize their employers or to complain 
about working conditions because they do not wish to jeopardize their jobs. 
Except for some migrants from Puerto Rico, no migrant is protected from 
summary dismissal at the hands of the grower who employs him or the boss 
of the crew with whom he travels. This combination of docility and insecurity 
allows employers to exploit migrants' labor with little opposition. 

Migrants usually travel in crews of 20 to 100 or more. Most are recruited, 
led, and bossed by crew leaders, entrepreneurs who often dominate the lives 
of crew members and their families. When recruiting migrants for work in 
New York, crew leaders often make exaggerated representations concerning 
wage rates. Moreover the crew leaders often fail to disclose that a lengthy 
period of unemployment is certain to occur for many crews between the end 
of the cherry harvest and the beginning of the apple harvest. These practices 

1. Farm output per man-hour climbed 61 per cent between 1959 and 1967. Wall 
Street Jour., Jan. 14, 1968, at 14, col. 4. 

2. California, Florida, Michigan, Texas, Washington and Oregon employ more 
migrants at various times of the year. Subcomm. on Migratory Labor of the Senate 
CoMM. ON Labor & Public Welfare, The Migratory Farm Labor Problem in the 
United States, S. Rep. No. 71, 90th Cong., 1st Sess. 44-55 (1967) [hereinafter cited 
as Senate Report]. 

3. This figure was measured at the annual peak in September 1967. Letter from 
Richard K. Klatt, New York State Sup't of Farm Employment, to the Columbia 
Journal of Law and Social Problems, Dec. 5, 1967. 

4. E. Koos, They Follow the Sun 14 (Florida State Board of Health, Mono- 
graph No. 1, 1957). 


and other abuses by crew leaders of their dominant position are not adequately 
regulated by the existing federal and State laws. 

Crew leaders are paid in proportion to the amount of crops picked by 
their crews and the number of workers they supply, not in proportion to the 
wage rates paid to their crews. The crew leaders thus have little motivation 
to bargain for increases in migrant pay. Since there is no one else to intercede 
for the migrants and since their individual bargaining power is weak, migrant 
wage rates are set unilaterally by growers. In 1967, migrants at work in 
New York fields earned $10 to $14 a day. Even when they supplement their 
income with non-farm earnings during winter months, migrants* yearly in- 
comes average only $2,800.^ The earnings of migrants are chronically depressed 
partly because the type of protection aflforded by existing minimum-wage 
laws is inadequate. Unemployment insurance is not available to agricultural 
workers, and migrants have no reliable income when there is no work. Low 
earnings and month-long periods of unemployment often leave migrants 
sufficiently destitute during their stay in New York to qualify for welfare 
benefits. Some local welfare officials, however, reportedly discourage migrants 
from applying for welfare assistance. The practices of New York's Social 
Services Department in making benefits available to migrants have not been 
satisfactory and need improvement. 

Growers use migrants only to perform menial farm tasks. When skill is 
required, such as that needed to drive a tractor or to operate a mechanical 
picker, the growers call upon their regular employees. Mechanization is in- 
creasingly relied upon on New York farms and each year causes migrant 
employment to fall by about four per cent.^ 

Migrants are excluded from federal and New York laws protecting the 
right of workers to organize and bargain collectively. This omission impairs 
the ability of existing labor unions to aid migrant workers. Unionization of 
migrant workers would be one route to improved conditions though it might 
accelerate both the trend to mechanization and the decline in migrant jobs. 

During their stay in New York, migrants live in housing provided by 
growers. Some growers provide cinder-block buildings with central heating 
and dormitory-lik'*. layouts. One grower provides only the shells of twenty- 
year-old buses. Either form of accommodation may satisfy the applicable 
New York law. The most serious defects in the New York law governing 
migrant housing are: (1) the inadequate minimum floor space provisions; 
(2) the lack of any special requirements for facilities to be occupied by fam- 

5. This is the average income of those who work more than 24 days per year 
in farming and who are not financially dependent on anyone else. U.S. Dep't of 
Agriculture, The Hired Farm Working Force of 1966 — A Statistical Report 16-19 
(1967) ; see notes 41-50 in]ra and accompanying text. 

6. N.Y. Dep't of Labor, 1957-66 Farm Labor Ann. Reps. (1958-67) ; Letter from 
R. K. Klatt, supra note 3. In 1957, there were 28,000 migrants in New York State at 
the September peak. N.Y. Dep't of Labor, 1957 Farm Labor Ann. Rep. (1958). In 
1967, there were 17,000 at the September peak. Letter from R. K Klatt, supra note 3. 


ilies; (3) unsatisfactory regulations pertaining to kitchen and sanitary facil- 
ities. New York State health officials, who are often unsympathetic with the 
housing needs of migrants, fail even to enforce existing standards. 

While parents work in the fields, the children of migrant families are 
either left at home at the labor camps or are bused to Child-Care Centers or 
Migrant Summer Schools. If left at the camps, the children will usually find 
no recreational facilities — not even a swing, slide or sand box. Migrant 
children move with their parents through several states during the school 
term. This constant travel creates interstate education problems which com- 
plicate further the difficulty of educating these culturally disadvantaged 

The attitude of growers is also a serious obstacle to improvements of 
migrant living conditions. Growers sometimes say that migrants are happy 
with what they receive and do not deserve more because they are lazy 
and unreliable. This view is usually little more than an excuse for under- 
paying and poorly housing migrant workers. 

The sources of migrant poverty are different from those facing other 
poverty groups in the country. Workers who travel a thousand miles, usually 
without any guarantees regarding work or wages, have problems of job 
security not found in more conventional labor situations. Unlike indigenous 
poor, migrants are only in New York temporarily and citizens of the com- 
munities through which they pass tend to ignore their problems. The tem- 
porary nature of the migrants' stay is also a disincentive to investment in 
decent housing and hampers the effectiveness of educational programs. Thus, 
the problems posed by migrant poverty are unique and suggested solutions 
must be tailored accordingly. 

New York has been a leader in progressive social legislation. Its efforts 
regarding migrants, however, have shown a lack of vigor in planning and 
execution. New York should endeavor to improve its own programs and to 
encourage interstate and federal cooperation to meet the needs of migrants. 
Without such imaginative leadership migrants will continue to be condemned 
to a life of poverty and insecurity. 

11. The Migrant Employment Situation 

A. NEW York's seasonal demand for farm labor 

It is impossible at present for New York's growers to avoid needing 
many more workers during the summer and early fall than they can employ 
year-round. The State's harvest and pre-harvest activities require more than 
48,000 "seasonal" workers — workers whose employment during the rest of 
the year is non-existent or so flexible that they are free to accept limited- 
duration harvesting jobs.'^ 

7. Forty-eight thousand is the peak seasonal employment of paid and unpaid 
workers. See U.S. Dep't of Agriculture, The Farm Labor Situation in Selected 


On relatively small farms the grower solves the seasonal labor problem 
by having his wife and children "pitch in" at harvest time. One-third of the 
seasonal farm workers in New York are unpaid members of the growers' 
families, as are three-quarters of the total non-seasonal labor force.^ It is the 
larger farms which need outside help. These farms require the assistance of 
a seasonal labor force that is nearly one-and-one-half times larger than their 
year-round hired force.^ Approximately 31,000 extra workers are hired to 
work on New York farms during the summer and early fall. While many of 
these 31,000 workers come from the immediate locality of the farms (39 per 
cent), the majority are migrants from out of state (55 per cent). The re- 
mainder are intrastate migrants (i.e., the work takes them away from home 
overnight) and foreigners.^*' 

The locals are most often adolescents, housewives, and men who lack 
any regular employment. Though growers prefer to hire locals because they 
need not be provided with housing, the supply of local labor is definitely 
limited. Unemployment in New York regularly dips to its lowest point of the 
year during the peak of the harvest. ^^ Attempts to lure additional workers 
from urban centers, such as New York City, have generally failed.^^ Since 
local labor pools are not adequate, growers must go outside the State for mi- 
grant labor to satisfy seasonal demand. 

The difficulties of arranging to hire persons living out of the State and 
the need to house them when they arrive for work tend to make the employ- 
ment of migrants a costly and complex process. The difficulties of employing 
migrant labor are mitigated, however, by three factors : ( 1 ) migrants are 
willing to perform strenuous manual labor for relatively small compensation ; 
(2) they are usually experienced in harvesting; and (3) many aspects of re- 
cruiting and managing migrants are handled by the migrants' own bosses, the 
so-called "crew leaders." Consequently, from the beginning of May until the 
end of September each year, 17,000 migrants arrive in New York by bus, car 
and airplane. ^^ 


Hiring migrants, most of whom come from Florida and Puerto Rico, 
requires special arrangements for recruitment made well in advance of the 
seasonal peak demand. It also requires New York growers to compete for 
labor with the other "east coast migrant demand states." Although recruit- 
ment at a distance and competition for labor are inconvenient for New York 

States, 1965-66, at 52 (1967), and N.Y. Dep't of Labor, 1966 Farm Labor Ann. Rep., 
45 (1967) (extrapolation). 

8. Computed from U.S. Dep't of Agriculture, The Farm Labor Situation in 
Selected States, 1965-66, at 52 (1967). 

9. Id.; N.Y. Dep't of Labor, 1966 Farm Labor Ann. Rep. 45 (1967). 

10. Letter from R. K Klatt, supra note 3. 

11. N.Y. Dep't of Labor, 1966 Farm Ann. Rep. 9 (1967). 

12. See id. at 45 (intrastate figures). 

13. Letter from R. K. Klatt, supra note 3. 


growers, the disadvantages of long-distance hiring work a greater hardship 
on the migrants. The machinery which operates to bring southern migrants 
and northern growers together is almost entirely grower-oriented. 

1. Puerto Rican "Contract Workers." Three methods exist for the hir- 
ing of migrant farm labor. Each method is identifiable with the type of worker 
being hired : crew worker, non-crew worker, and Puerto Rican "contract 
worker." Of these, only the Puerto Rican contract worker benefits from a 
hiring method calculated to protect his interests. The Puerto Rican govern- 
ment annually negotiates standard-form contracts for about 900 of the island's 
citizens coming to New York to do seasonal farm labor.^^ The contracts guar- 
antee to the workers round-trip air fare between San Juan and New York if 
they stay the full summer, the equivalent of 160 hours of hourly pay in every 
four weeks they are in the State, and free lodging. Furthermore, Puerto Rico 
keeps a representative in Rochester, New York during the summer to check 
on observance of the contract terms. This relatively comprehensive protection, 
however, covers only five per cent of New York's migrants. Even with this 
protection, Puerto Rican workers are poorly paid. 

2. Non-Crew Workers. Non-crew workers account for 53 per cent of 
the migrants in the State.^^ This group is comprised mostly of Negroes from 
Florida and non-contract Puerto Ricans. Some growers contact non-crew 
workers directly in Florida or Puerto Rico in the spring. Others maintain 
contact with the previous season's workers by mail and telephone. Relations 
between growers and non-crew workers are very informal: no contracts are 
signed; no hours of pay are guaranteed; wages are paid at whatever rates 
prevail in New York during the season; and the workers pay for their own 
transportation, though growers sometimes provide advances to cover travel 

3. Crew-Affiliated Workers. The remaining 42 per cent of the migrants 
are afifiliated with crews. To obtain the services of crew-affiliated migrants, 
growers need only contact one man, the crew leader. To assist the growers in 
contacting crew leaders, Florida,, in cooperation with the United States De- 
partment of Labor and the Farm Employment Services of 17 eastern states, 
annually conducts the Florida Pooled Interviews. Held in April in several 
Florida cities, the Pooled Interviews bring together (a) Farm Employment 
Service officers of the Departments of Labor of 17 states — each carrying 
worker requests from growers in their home states, and (b) about 630 mi- 
grant crew leaders representing more than 30,000 workers. ^^ Since the Pooled 
Interviews involve only government ofiicials and crew leaders, growers and 

14. U.S. Dep't of Labor, Farm Labor Developments, Employment and Wage 
Supplement, Oct. 1967, at 3. 

15. Letter from R. K. Klatt, supra note 3. 

16. N.Y. Dep't of Labor, 1966 Farm Labor Ann. Rep. 18 (1967). Every state 
department of labor has a Farm Employment Service established pursuant to federal 
instruction. See 20 C.F.R. § 602 (1967). 



crew-affiliated migrant laborers deal with one another here only through 

The crew leaders are highly controversial middlemen who conclude un- 
written agreements to deliver a definite size crew of migrants at a specific 
time to specific growers anywhere along the Atlantic coast migrant stream. ^^ 
Based on commitments made either at the Florida Pooled Interviews or in- 
dependently, the crew leaders assume responsibility for recruiting a crew of 
workers to come North. Starting with a nucleus of 20 to 90 per cent of his 
previous season's crew, the crew leader recruits as many additional workers as 
he needs to fulfill his obligations to growers. The crews travel North, usually 
in buses owned by the crew leaders or in second-hand cars owned by the 
migrants. The average crew size in New York is about 30 workers,^^ though 
crews with over 50 are not uncommon, and there are a few in New York 
with over 100.^® While many crews travel with all members of the family 
accompanying the workers, others, especially the Puerto Rican crews, come 
only with male workers. Some of the crews travel together the entire year 
and some work together only during the summer and early fall. Some work 
one New York farm from July 4 to November 15, and some work four differ- 
ent jobs in four states during the same period. 

Like the crews they assemble, the crew leaders are either Negro or 
Puerto Rican. Generally the crew leaders have little more education, but a 
great deal more initiative, than the average crew member. As crew leaders 
they earn $10,000 to $30,000 annually, mostly on commissions for selling 

Migrants often call their leader "crew boss," a term which describes the 
interrelationship well. A crew leader is never elected by his crew and, except 
for the workers' freedom to quit, a crew leader's control over the migrants 
once they join up with him is almost absolute. Crew leaders are controversial 
figures. They are sometimes accused of indulging in profiteering at the work- 
ers' expense. The loose, non-contractual definition of the crew leaders' duties 
to his crew and the heavy dependence of the crew upon the leader creates 
possibilities for such abuse.^** 


Because crew-bound migrants have no direct dealings with the grower- 
employers they are dependent on their crew leaders to secure them jobs which 
pay a living wage. Unfortunately for the migrants, the crew leaders rarely 

17. There are two other migrant streams in the United States, one in the mid- 
west and one on the Pacific coast. Senate Report, supra note 2, at 4. 

18. N.Y. Dep't of Labor, 1966 Farm Labor Ann. Rep. 17 (1967). 

19. See Farm Serv. Rev., Jan. 1966, at 56 (letter to the editor from Merle W. 
Stout, N.Y. Farm Employment Supervisor). 

20. See T. Moore, The Slaves We Rent 25-34 (1965) ; Washington Post, 
Aug. 20, 1967, at A9, col. 1. See generally, L. Shotwell, The Harvesters (1961). 


bargain aggressively on the migrants' behalf with either the growers or the 
growers' representative at the Pooled Interviews. 

1. Pre-Designated Orders. Despite the appearance of a massive con- 
frontation between the representatives of employers and the representatives 
of the workers, the Florida Pooled Interviews occasion very little competition 
over migrant wages. The main reason for this is that much of the labor has 
been spoken for before the start of the Interviews. About 70 per cent of New 
York's crew labor is lined up in private negotiations between growers and 
crew leaders before the Pooled Interviews.-^ Usually these private negotia- 
tions result in no more than an informal agreement between a grower and a 
crew leader. As with the non-crew labor, no contract is signed. If wages are 
discussed, it is only to say that the grower will pay the prevailing wage in 
New York, whatever that turns out to be as the summer progresses. 

This absence of wage negotiation is contrary to the intent of a section of 
the New York Labor Law which was designed to force wage terms to be 
agreed upon before the migrants arrived in New York and preferably before 
they were recruited.^^ The statute requires that migrants be given wage in- 
formation in writing "preferably at the time of recruitment, but in no event 
later than the time of arrival in this state."^^ Crew leaders and growers pay 
lip service to the law by merely agreeing to a minimum figure, below what is 
expected to be paid. Thus avoided, the law fails to impel early wage nego- 
tiation and fails to provide migrants coming to New York with a true picture 
of what pay to expect when they arrive. 

2. Open Orders. Very little wage negotiation occurs at the Pooled In- 
terview, even on the 30 per cent of the job orders designating no crew with 
which private arrangements have already been made. On these "open orders," 
the New York representative at the Interviews performs the job of finding 
crew leaders who will agree to bring the requested amount of labor to the 
growers who submitted the orders. These crew leaders also understand that 
their crews will receive the prevailing wage during the summer and are con- 
tent with the minimums stated on the job order. Thus on both the "open 
orders" and the "pre-designated orders" the crew leaders fail to negotiate 
over wages before agreeing to bring a crew of migrants north to New York. 

For the migrant, this system of setting wages is economically disastrous. 
Though most of them know that they will not earn much as migrants, some 
workers joining a crew for the first time are not aware of how low their pay 
will be. According to some first-year migrants in New York, their crew 
leaders not only failed to explain when recruiting that the true wage rate had 
not yet been fixed, but had promised wage rates far higher than what was 

21. Though the grower may still send a "job order" to the New York representative 
going to the Pooled Interviews, it is a "pre-designated order." If the crew leader which 
such order pre-designates appears at the April Interviews, the New York representative 
merely seeks to confirm the prior agreements. 

22. N.Y. Lab. Law § 212-a(2)(b) (McKinney 1965). 

23. Id. 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 15 


eventually paid. These migrants also claimed that crew leaders had exagger- 
ated the number of days of work which would be available. If wages were 
more definitely negotiated before crew recruiting began, federal or state laws 
could attack part of this deception by requiring that the crew leaders give 
potential recruits written promises to pay the agreed-upon wage rates. 

Growers may claim that they cannot set wage rates before they know the 
price which crops will bring. The growers, however, bind themselves to many 
other costs before crop prices are determinable. Such costs include seed, land 
rental, machine rental, and fertilizer. The notion that hired labor should be 
the only element in farm production which bears the burden of indefinite crop 
prices is hard to justify. If growers and crew leaders arrived at an announced 
wage rate before the season began, wages could take their place alongside 
other fixed costs as a determinant of market prices and migrants would be 
assured of their wage rate before they traveled to New York. 

Although the indeterminacy which the present wage system creates for 
some new migrants is unfortunate, the worst aspect of the system is that it 
deprives the migrants of bargaining power. Not until after they have traveled 
a thousand miles from home and are camped in housing provided by their 
grower-employer does the grower get together with other growers to set wage 
rates. At this point, there is virtually nothing the non-unionized migrants can 
do to influence wages. 

Nothing compels or encourages the growers to enter into effective wage 
negotiations with anyone on behalf of crew-affiliated migrants. Although crew 
leaders nominally represent the migrants, they have no incentive to protect 
the migrants' best interests. Crew-leader remuneration is negotiated inde- 
pendently of worker wages; the growers compensate crew leaders mostly 
through fees which are in proportion to the number of workers they deliver 
and the amount of work which their crews complete. Some crew leaders make 
additional money by renting trucks to growers and by supervising their crews' 
work in the fields. Some profit by operating various legal and illegal food, 
beverage, and gambling concessions in the labor camps. Consequently, except 
for greater ease in recruitment, higher worker wage rates do not affect the 
crew leaders financially. Since crew leaders are in business almost solely for 
their own benefit, they have no incentive to defend the workers' interest in 
higher wages. 


The cultural background of most migrants does not nurture a strongly 
motivated, assertive individual who is likely to protect himself adequately in 
a situation where his rate of pay is at stake. In this sense, the bargaining- 
strength of the migrants vis-a-vis the growers is minimal even without the 
intercession of the crew leader. Crew leader unwillingess to press for higher 
wages therefore aggravates an already weak position. 


Recognizing the vulnerability of the migrants and their history of being 
abused, Congress acted in 1964 to protect them from "certain irresponsible" 
crew leaders who were using the channels of interstate commerce to "exploit" 
migrants, growers, and the public generally. The law Congress passed is "The 
Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act of 1963."-^ The Act creates federal 
penalties for crew-leader corruption and outlaws practices of crew leaders 
which were already probably illegal under state law. 

Under the Federal Act, no person may act as a crew leader without reg- 
istering with the United States Department of Labor. Control over registra- 
tion is the basic sanction used to enforce the Act. The Secretary of Labor can 
deny certification to any person not meeting the standards of eligibility and 
renewal can be denied or present registration revoked for failure to meet the 
standards prescribed by the Act. 

One provision of the federal law authorizes refusal of certification to 
anyone with a record of criminal activity which casts doubt on his compe- 
tence to handle the responsibilities of a crew leader.-^ The Act names three 
specific criminal activities which many persons knowledgeable about migrants 
claim are frequently indulged in by crew leaders. They are crimes "relating 
to gambling or to the sale, distribution, or possession of alcoholic liquors in 
connection with ... [a crew leader's] activities as a farm labor contractor . . . 
or prostitution."-^ These crimes involve taking the migrant's money and are 
often coupled with overpricing or deception. Such ofifenses are difficult 
to uncover unless there is frequent policing of migrant camps or the members 
of the crews are willing to testify against the crew leaders. Since neither ele- 
ment of eflfective enforcement is currently present, it is doubtful this provision 
will have substantial impact on illegal practices of crew leaders. 

Another provision, more easily enforced, requires that insurance be in 
force on all vehicles used by the crew leader to transport migrants.-' With 
the help of insurance companies, this requirement should reduce the number 
of serious accidents caused by the poor equipment that crew leaders some- 
times use to transport migrants. 

The only important provision of the Federal Act touching the wage issue 
is Section 6(b),-* which requires that every crew leader shall 

ascertain and disclose to each worker at the time the worker is re- 
cruited the following information to the best of his knowledge and 
belief: (1) the area of employment, (2) the crops and operations on 
which he may be employed, (3) the transportation, housing, and 
insurance to be provided him, (4) the wage rates to be paid him, and 
(5) the charges to be made by the contractor for his services. 

To help enforcement, the Act provides in Section 5(b) (2) and (4) that giv- 

24. 7 U.S.C. §§ 2041-53 (1964). 

25. Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act § 5(b)(7), 7 U.S.C. § 2044(b)(7) 

26. Id. 

27. Id. § 5(a)(2), 7 U.S.C. § 2044(a)(2) (minimum coverage is $5,000/$20,000). 

28. Id. § 6(b), 7 U.S.C. § 2045(b) (1964). 



ing false information or failing to live up to any "working arrangements [a 
crew leader] has made with migrant workers" is grounds for refusal or revo- 
cation of a crew leader's registration.-^ Although these sections do not require 
bona fide wage negotiation, they do attack the practice of some crew leaders 
of luring migrants into crews with false promises. This fraud especially en- 
traps young people who have never been migrant laborers before. 

In these disclosure requirements, the Act did not go far enough. The Act 
should have required the crew leader not merely to disclose, but to state in 
writing the required wage and working-condition information and to give a 
copy to each potential recruit. This would discourage misstatement and non- 
disclosure by creating better evidence of what communication occurred.^** A 
written communication is more likely to give the migrant full awareness of 
what to expect than an oral communication. 

Written disclosure of information at the time of recruitment could be 
required by the Secretary of Labor under the implementing authority given 
him by Section 14 of the Act.^^ This Section authorizes the Secretary to make 
rules "necessary for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of . . . this 
Act." New York has a requirement that crew-leader disclosures be in writing, 
but it is not enforced .^^ 

Furthermore, the Secretary of Labor should require, under Section 14,^^ 
that crew leaders list "expected periods of work" in addition to the items now 
required to be disclosed by Section 6(b). ^^ Disclosure of expected periods of 
work would, for example, prepare crews being brought into north-central 
New York for the three to four week hiatus in work between the cherry and 
apple harvests. 

Also, the Secretary should require that the wage rate disclosures be 
broken down into at least three parts : 

(1) The hourly rate expected to be paid, 

(2) The piece rates expected to be paid on each crop, and 

(3) The expected piece rates converted into estimated average daily 
(9 hours a day) earnings of a first-year worker. 

The conversion of expected piece rates into estimated daily earnings is espe- 

29. Id. §§ 5(b)(2), (4), 7 U.S.C. §§ 2044(b)(2), (4) (1964). 

30. Poor evidence may now be hampering enforcement. Of 353 investigations into 
suspected violations of the Act, most have concentrated on ferreting out complete failures 
to register. In only a few instances was there sufficent proof of a violation of the obliga- 
tion to disclose to encourage the Labor Department to take legal action against the crew 
leader. Senate Report, supra note 2, at 27-28. A bill introduced in 1968 in the N.Y. 
Legislature would require growers or crew leaders to enter into written contracts with 
all migrants before they are brought into the State. S. Intro. 2006, A. Intro. 277, N.Y. 
Legis. Reg. & Index (1968). 

31. Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act § 14, 7 U.S.C. § 2053 (1964). 

32. N.Y. Lab. Law § 212-a(2)(b) (McKinney 1965). 

2>i. Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act § 14, 7 U.S.C. § 2053 (1964). 

34. Id. § 6(b), 7 U.S.C. § 2045(b) (1964). "Length of employment" would be part 
'of the written contract required under a bill introduced in 1968 in the New York legisla- 
ture. S. Intro. 2006, A. Intro. 2>77, N.Y. Legis. Reg. & Index (1968). 



cially important since piece rates (wages paid on the basis of the quantity of 
work done) are meaningless without knowledge as to how much can normally 
be picked in a day. Because first-year migrants lack the experience required 
to convert piece rates into daily earnings, this information should be presented 
in terms of what the earnings of a first-year migrant normally will be. It 
could be left as optional for the crew leader to list also a conversion of piece 
rates into the average daily earnings of an experienced migrant.^^ 

Both the Federal Act and the New York Labor Law require that wage 
data be "posted at all times in a conspicuous place in any camp."^^ Each law 
also requires crew leaders to give the migrant a detailed record of his earn- 
ings with each pay envelope.^'^ The posting requirements are not adequately 
enforced. In some camps no wage information is posted at all.^^ Moreover, 
federal and State officials now permit mere posting of the minimum rates 
agreed upon before the start of the season. This widespread practice of post- 
ing the irrelevant minimum rates frustrates the purpose of the posting laws 
by hiding the true wage information from the workers. In addition, the post-' 
ing of inaccurate information creates discontent among the workers over 
misconceptions of what the farmer is supposed to be paying. 

As with the posting requirement, lack of adequate compliance and en- 
forcement is a general problem with the crew leader laws. The United States 
Senate Subcommittee on Migrant Labor reported in March 1967 : 

The enforcement of the registration provisions of the [federal 
crew leader] act continues to be a serious problem due largely to the 
difficulty of finding and identifying the crew leader after he has de- 
parted from his State of residence, and because many crew leaders 
subject to the act endeavor to evade its registration provisions. This 
problem is further compounded by the field staff of the Labor De- 
partment's Farm Labor Contractor Registration Section being 
limited to five professional employees.^^ 

Short of increasing the federal enforcement staff, the best solution is to 
encourage more state enforcement of the federal law. The states' Farm Em- 
ployment Services are already closely allied with the United States Labor 
Department through the Florida Pooled Interviews and other information- 
exchanging plans. The state labor departments are thus accustomed to cooper- 
ation in migrant labor matters and should be mobilized for joint enforcement 
of the federal crew leader laws.^" 

35. Since these tend to be significantly higher than the earnings of a novice, such 
figures would be deceptive if they alone were shown to inexperienced crews. 

36. N.Y. Lab. Law § 212-a(2)(b) (McKinney 1965). Similar language appears in 
the federal statute. Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act § 6(c), 7 U.S.C. § 2045(e) 

37. N.Y. Lab. Law § 212-a(2)(d) (McKinney 1965); Farm Labor Contractor 
Registration Act § 6(c), 7 U.S.C. § 2045(e) (1964). 

38. Camp A, Sheridan, N.Y. ; Camp B, Sodus, N.Y. Names of camps referred to in 
this article are on file with the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems. 

39. Senate Report, supra note 2, at 27. 

40. Arguably New York should enforce its own migrant law regardless of weak 



Finally, even if the federal and State crew leader laws were better en- 
forced and even if they were strengthened along the lines suggested above, 
the impact of these statutes would still be limited to protecting the migrants 
against crew leader corruption and travel accidents. Few provisions are in- 
tended to guarantee a fair wage to migrants. Nothing in these laws compels 
the crew leaders to be more responsive to the need of the migrants for better 
representation before the growers. 


1. Annual Income. It is difificult to generalize about migrant earnings. 
The migrant working population is an extremely heterogeneous group. In the 
course of a harvest season, the migrant population includes not only heads of 
households for whom migrant labor is the principal means of supporting a 
family, but also children and grandmothers who may work for only a few 
days. In addition, migrants are employed with many varieties of work and pay 
schemes, and work schedules are irregular. 

In 1966, there were 351,000 people engaged in migrant farm labor in the 
United States on at least a casual basis. The average income for this group 
was $1,000 from farming and $500 from non-farm jobs.^^ Since this group 
includes many workers who are not pressed to make a living from migrant 
farming, the average earnings of a member is not a useful figure. This average 
creates only a non-useful exaggeration of the lowness of migrant incomes. 

Exclusion of all migrants who annually work less than 25 days on farms 
leaves a group of 275,000 so-called "non-casual" migrant workers. This popu- 
lation is most frequently used to describe migrant earnings.^^ jn 1966, this 
group earned an average yearly income from all sources of $1,800, of which 
$1,300 came from farm work.^^ 

This average figure is also misleadingly low. Fifty-five per cent of the 
non-casual group are not heads of households. These "non-heads of house- 
hold," such as wives and children, supplement the larger incomes of a head 
of household. The fact that someone else supports them undoubtedly affects 
their attitude about how often and how hard they will work. When they do 
work, non-heads of households earn 23 per cent less per day than the average 
of all other non-casual workers, and they only work about half as many days 
in the year.^^ The significance of non-head-of-household incomes is obscured 

federal enforcement. The New York Farm Employment Service, however, avoids uni- 
laterally cracking down on crew leaders for fear of discouraging them from coming to 
the state. 

41. Economic Research Serv., U.S. Dep't of Agriculture, The Hired Farm 
Working Force of 1966 — A Statistical Report 16 (1967) [hereinafter cited as Statis- 
tical Report]. 

42. This group is used, for example, by the Senate Subcommittee on Migratory 
Labor in its 1967 Report. Senate Report, supra note 2, at 2. 

43. Statistical Report, siipra note 41, at 19. 

44. Id. The lower earnings and reduced work schedule, however, are not entirely 
voluntary. These non-heads of household include many (such as women, children, and 



when they are averaged in with higher, head-of-household incomes. A secon- 
dary wage earner's importance rests not in what he earns for himself but in 
what the household to which he contributes earns. Since secondary income in 
fact operates to raise household income, averaging it in as though each secon- 
dary wage earner had a separate household income deceptively lowers the 
most relevant income figure, the earnings of an average head of a migrant 

Exclusion of non-heads of households leaves 123,000 heads of households 
in the non-casual migrant farm worker population. This group includes single 
men, men with families, single women, and women with families in which 
they are the primary wage earner. These people generally rely on migrant 
farming as their major source of livelihood. This group earns an average of 
$2,800 per year, of which $2,000 comes from farming. In a year, members 
of this group averaged 171 days in farming and 59 days in non-farm em- 

The earnings of household heads produce the most significant statement 
on migrant yearly incomes : the average migrant household — which may be 
composed of a single individual or a family of several persons — has a principal 
breadwinner earning $2,800. If this average household has other members 
who do migrant or other work, then its household income exceeds $2,800. 
The "other household members" who did non-casual migrant farm work in 
1966 added an average of $900 to their households' incomes.*^ 

Understanding the significance of viewing household head and non-head 
of household incomes separately, avoids an error made by the Senate Sub- 
committee on Migrant Labor. The Subcommittee averaged the two and re- 
ported : "Obviously, the migrants' annual earnings were quite far below the 
$3,000 income level below which families are commonly considered to be 
living in poverty."*'^ Had the Subcommittee focused on the heads of house- 
holds, it would have seen that the average migrant family probably receives 
a total income above the $3,000 mark. Perhaps the average family is subsist- 
ing on about $3,300 a year — $2,800 from the household head and $500 from 
other working members of the family .^^ 

Despite their possible earnings of $3,300 a year, the migrant families in 
upstate New York seemed to be living in severe poverty. This was reflected 
in their disspirited talk, inadequate housing, lack of education, and need to 
rely on a menial and insecure source of employment. This image of poverty 

aged) who are physically incapable of working every day or working quickly all day to 
earn a good piece-rate wage. On days when limited work is available, these are prolsably 
the first workers to be unemployed. 

45. Statistical Report, supra note 41, at 19. 

46. Id. 

47. Senate Report, supra note 2, at 2. 

48. The $500 estimate is based on (1) secondary wage earners doing non-casual 
farming add an average of $900, but (2) many families have no secondary wage earners, 
or (3) they have secondary earners doing merely casual farm work, and (4) some families 
have more than one secondary wage earner. 



raises at least some doubt as to the accuracy of the $3,300 figure^^ However, 
even if they do earn $3,300, they would often be left with practically nothing 
after taxes and payments to the crew leader.^'' As a result, whatever their 
present level of income, higher earnings are necessary to dissipate migrant 

2. Earnings by the Hour, Day, and Week. Most migrant work is com- 
pensated on a piece-rate basis — ^"pick more, earn more." Migrants are paid on 
a straight hourly rate for only ten to 20 per cent of the hours they work. 
Hourly rates apply to tasks such as trimming brush, weeding, "opening up" 
tomato vines to prevent rotting, repairing vegetable crates, and even some 
harvesting when the crop is too sparse to yield good piece-rate earnings. The 
average hourly rate in New York in 1966 was $1.32 an hour.^^ Payment for 
a 40 hour week at this rate would come to just over $50. 

During 80 to 90 per cent of their time, the migrants in New York work 
on a piece-rate system. This compensation scheme makes it difficult to gen- 
eralize about hourly or daily wages. During the apple harvest an average 
worker earns about $15 for an eight hour day, while an experienced, strong 
worker can make $20 to $25 a day.^^ Similarly, tomato pickers are said to 
earn about $15 during a typical eight hour day at piece rate.^^ Generally it 
appeared that in 1967 growers had adjusted most piece rates so that the aver- 
age worker was getting about $13 to $17 for eight or nine hours of work. 
This places average hourly earnings in the range of $1.50 to $2.00. 

Statements about average earnings per day cannot be precise, though 
they can indicate the general range of what is earned. For example, as dis- 
cussed earlier, 55 per cent of the migrants doing non-casual labor are secon- 
dary wage earners in their households. They tend to have lower-than-average 
daily earnings largely because they lack the motivation which impels the pri- 
mary wage earners. 

49. In fact their visible poverty raises at least some doubts as to the accuracy of 
the Bureau of Census data used by the Department of Agriculture, Statistical Report, 
supra note 41, although it is hard to locate the source of possible error. For example, 
was the sample taken representative of the population coming to New York State? Was 
the information given to the Census Bureau exaggerated by the migrants? In the latter 
respect, the figure which attributes 230 total days worked to the average migrant house- 
hold head can be questioned. Two-hundred-thirty days equals 46 five-day weeks per year, 
a figure which looks too high in light of both first hand observation and discussions with 
some of New York's migrant laborers. However, whether in fact there is error in the 
Census data is only speculation. 

50. Out of average weekly earnings of $60, a head of household might typically 
have major payments to the crew leader for: food for himself and his wife ($12 apiece), 
rent ($3), commissary charges and illegally sold alcohol ($8), and carryover of charges 
from weeks in which there was no work and no income ($5). He would also pay taxes 
($4). This would leave only $16 a week for the migrant family. 

51. P. King, Recent Trends in Farm Wages, Farm Labor Developments, Aug.- 
Sept 1967, at 11. 

52. Interview with M. Buchman, Manager of Sodus Fruit Farm, in Sodus, N.Y. 
Sept. 11, 1967; P. King, supra note 51, at 12 (reporting that the 1966 apple rate in New 
York averaged $2.03 per hour). 

53. Interview with L. McGinn, N.Y. Farm Employment Service Representative, 
in Dunkirk, N.Y., Aug. 28, 1967. 



There are other factors that make it hard to generaUze about daily in- 
come. For example, it is difficult to make adjustments for the erratic incidence 
of days on which less than eight hours of work is available. Although earnings 
average $13 to $17 for an eight- or nine-hour day, average daily earnings are 
about $10 to $14 when part-days are considered.^^ 

The problems in generalizing about daily income are compounded in 
trying to determine weekly earnings. Not only do individuals vary from one 
another and work days differ in number of hours, but the length of the work 
week is not constant. Frequently there are less than five working days in a 
week. The length of a work week is often curtailed by rain, by crops that are 
not ripe, or by pile-ups of produce at the processing plant which receives all 
the harvested crops. Sometimes, the work week is curtailed because all the 
available crops are picked by the middle of a week. In an excellent week with 
six full days of work a good picker can earn as much as $150 without the 
benefit of an overtime bonus. Because of the occurrence of the various work- 
week-curtailing events, however, such excellent weeks are exceptional. When 
it does rain or when the processing plant is too backlogged to accept more 
produce, migrant workers are simply out of luck. The growers do not pay 
for hours when there is no work to do.^^ 

Short days and short weeks can be painful blows to a migrant who is 
trying to earn and save as much money as possible. Yet, even more economi- 
cally distressing are entire weeks of inactivity that becalm some of the New 
York migrant crews each summer. Migrants once could arrive in New York 
on July 4, pick strawberries or cherries for five weeks, beans for the next 
month, and finish with apples or grapes from September 15 through October 
31. This cycle was disrupted in the late fifties, however, by the mechanization 
of bean harvesting. Now many crews find themselves with three to four weeks 
during the harvest season in which there is little or no employment. In a situ- 
ation like this, only the Puerto Rican "contract" workers are protected. 
Article III of their 1967 contract guaranteed them 160 hours of pay (at the 
prevailing hourly rate or better) in each four-week period they were in New 

Most migrants in the State, however, are defenseless against slack pe- 
riods like the three to four week lull between the cherry and apple harvest. 

54. See Statistical Report, supra note 41, at 19. The national average of all non- 
casual migrant daily earnings in 1966 is $10.80. For heads of household, the average is 
$11.80. Id. 

55. A limited exception exists for the 5% of New York's migrants wrho are Puerto 
Rican "contract virorkers." Their standard form Puerto Rican Contract for 1967 gtiar- 
anteed a minimum earnings equivalent to 160 hours of compensation at the prevailing 
straight hourly rate in each four week period. This may be somewhat misleading be- 
cause of the disparity between hourly rate and piece rate. The prevailing hourly rate in 
New York in 1966 was $1.32 per hour. Therefore, if a Puerto Rican contract worker 
worked two six-day weeks in a four week period at moderate piece rate wages of $18 
per day, he would get nothing through the guarantee even if he were given no work dur- 
ing the remaining two weeks. See also N.Y. Times, March 16, 1968, at 17, col. 8 (rati 
for 1968 Puerto Rican Contract is $1.45 per hour). 

56. See note 55 supra. 



When their only transportation is the crew bus, they cannot obtain other work 
unless the crew leader seeks it for them. Even when they have their own cars, 
inertia seems to prevent them from seeking other work. Also, some grower- 
employers discourage their crews from looking elsewhere for fear they will 
not be able to retrieve the crew's labor when it is needed again. ^'^ The weeks 
without work are a heavy burden on the impoverished migrants. It is a bur- 
den which should be shared by the grower. He has induced them to come to 
New York and they are waiting at his disposal. 

The New York legislature should put pressure on growers to create ad- 
ditional work for the migrants when they are unemployed for extended 
periods. If alternative employment is not created to fill the present gaps be- 
tween crops, then the expense of keeping the migrants on hand ought to 
become an additional labor cost to growers. The legislature should enact a 
requirement that growers provide a wage guarantee like the one included in 
the 1967 Puerto Rican contract. However, the New York law should go 
further than the Puerto Rican provision, which merely required 160 hours of 
straight hourly pay in each four week period. The State should set a minimum 
for earnings equivalent to (a) 160 hours of hourly pay at prevailing rates in 
each four weeks, and (b) 32 hours of hourly compensation in every week. At 
current prevailing hourly rates, this would be a guarantee of $42 a week for 
every week the migrants are at a New York grower's disposal. 

It should be noted that this formula provides dollar-amount minimums, 
not hours-of-work guarantees. The minimum of 32 hours of hourly pay a week 
would not be a guarantee of 32 hours of work a week. The significance of this 
is that if piece rate jobs were available, most migrants would exceed the $42 
guarantee before working 32 hours. Thus the grower would not be paying 
out of his pocket every time three days' rain in a week prevented him from 
offering four days (32 hours) of work. 

It is important that there be a weekly guarantee in addition to a monthly 
guarantee. With only a monthly protection, great hardship could result. It 
is entirely possible, for example, for the migrants to have two consecutive 
four-week periods in which all their work is crowded into the beginning of 
the first period and the end of the second. This work could be enough to 
satisfy the two monthly guarantees and still leave three weeks without work 
spanning the end of one period and the start of the next. Long periods with- 
out work force the migrants to expend their meagre savings and possibly to 
go in debt to the crew leader. In addition, such enforced idleness leaves them 
with empty hours in camps without recreational facilities. 

The proposed guarantee system, if efficiently implemented, would not 
significantly raise labor costs and it would provide impetus to the grower and 
the State to utilize farm labor more fully. By putting a price on the migrants' 
idleness, more work would be found for them to do. It is important to keep 

57. Interview with R. Wildman, Farm Employment Representative, in Sodus, N.Y., 
Sept. 8, 1967. 



the cost of wage guarantees down because increased labor expense would 
speed development of mechanized harvesting of cherries, tomatoes, grapes, 
and apples. Increased automation would reduce the need for migrants. 

Because of the following factors, the proposed wage guarantees would 
not raise grower costs: 

(1) There are jobs which an imaginative grower can profitably find for 
migrants to do when there are no crops ready to be picked. Examples are 
constructing, repairing, and painting farm and labor-camp facilities, pruning 
orchard trees, and repairing vegetable and fruit crates. These possibilities 
were recommended by one of the State's largest fruit growers.^^ 

(2) Growers can pool their migrants to borrow labor from one another 
since different farms need labor at different times. This is partially done with 
Puerto Rican "contract workers" under the impetus of their present wage 

(3) The full weekly guarantee would be payable only in weeks when 
absolutely no work was available. 

(4) The grower has more continuous and sophisticated contact with the 
Farm Employment Service and its local representative than the migrants or 
their crew leader. The grower's initiative on the migrants' behalf could spur 
the local Farm Representative to find short-term work for the otherwise idle 
crew. Instead of waiting for apples and grapes to ripen, they could be picking 
peaches or cutting celery stalks. The growers could also encourage the Farm 
Employment Service to be more eflficient in finding work and disseminating 
information about the availability of work in other nearby parts of the State. 
The local Farm Employment Offices could, for example, be interconnected 
with teletypewriters as was done in California. The experience there has been 
that "the speed and range of teletype communication has done much to bal- 
ance the levels of supply and demand" for migrant farm labor.^** 

( 5 ) More growers can plant intermediate crops, such as peaches, to even 
out their labor demands. 

Thus the proposed wage guarantees would not impose a heavy financial 
burden on the growers. To be workable, the proposed wage-guarantee law 
would have to allow the grower to deduct from each worker's guaranteed pay- 
ment the hourly pay equivalent to any days or hours for which the migrant 
refused work which was offered. Thus, if it stopped raining in the morning 
and the farmer made six hours of work available in the afternoon, he could 
charge six hours pay against the guarantee of any worker who did not report 

58. Interview with M. Buchman. supra note 52. Farm laborers on the Sodus 
Fruit Farm have constructed some of the best migrant housing seen in upstate New York. 

59. Something of this nature has already worked in Wayne County, where the 
Wayne County Growers and Processors own three camps that house 400 to 600 Puerto 
Rican migrants. These workers are rented to growers who need them. Telephone Inter- 
view with R. Facer, Health Official, N.Y. State Health Office, in Geneva, N.Y., Feb. 7, 

60. G. Geary, Teletype Gets the Job Done, Employment Serv. Rev., Jan.-Feb. 1967, 
at 42. 



for work that afternoon. The grower, however, should not be allowed to de- 
duct anything for a worker's refusal to work more than eight hours in a day 
or more than six days a week. 

This special form of wage guarantee is necessary because the more com- 
mon form of minimum wage protection which only puts a floor under hourly 
compensation is not well suited to agricultural employment. The problem 
facing New York migrants is not insufficient hourly wages, but too few hours 
of work. Consequently, the recent inclusion of migrants under the federal 
minimum wage law will not substantially affect their incomes in New York.^^ 
The amended Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) now provides a minimum 
for farm workers of $1.00 an hour after January 31, 1967, $1.15 the following 
year, and $1.30 starting February 1, 1969. This $1.30 rate will still be 
$0.30 below the minimum provided in the Act for industrial workers in 1969. 
Since the average hourly migrant rate in New York is already $1.32''- and 
piece-rate earnings are higher, the FLSA amendment will rarely produce 
higher income for migrants in the State. In other words, for the hours they 
worked in 1966, most migrants received more than the federal minimum wage 
will guarantee in 1969. The migrants' major problem is not so much low 
wages as it is low hours. This is why a minimum-hours-of-pay guarantee is 
more important than a guaranteed minimum hourly wage. 

Incongruously, New York, which often leads the nation with progressive 
legislation, still denies migrants and others who "labor on a farm" state 
minimum-wage protection.®^ By contrast, New Jersey, Michigan, and Hawaii 
already extend such coverage to farm employees.®* The 1966 Manpower Re- 
port of the President announced that "the national objective should be to 
achieve for farmworkers the kind of protection which has come to be accepted 
for nonfarm manpower."®^ This should also be a New York State objective. 
The minority of migrants whose piece-rate wage is below the present New 
York minimum hourly wage could be aided by the traditional form of mini- 
mum wage protection. Such protection should be extended to them. For truly 
significant benefits to accrue to migrants, however. New York needs to enact 
a guarantee of minimum weekly and monthly wages such as that outlined 

F. THE "free labor MARKET" 

Many State officials and growers contend that the present system of mi- 
grant recruitment and wage determination reflects the operation of a "free 

61. Fair Labor Standards Act, Amendments of 1966 § 103, 80 Stat. 832, 29 U.S.C.A. 
§ 206 (Cum. Supp. 1966). To produce the inclusion of agricultural workers, § 103 of the 
Amendments, 80 Stat. 832, 29 U.S.C.A. § 206 (Cum. Supp. 1966), changed the definition 
of "employee" and § 302 of the Amendments, 80 Stat. 838, 29 U.S.C.A. § 206 (Cum. 
Supp. 1966), described the minimum that would be applicable. 

62. P. King, supra note 51. 

63. N.Y. Lab. Law § 651(5) (b) (McKinney 1965). A bill to extend minimum wage 
protection to farm labor has been introduced in the 1968 session of the N.Y. Legislature. 
S. Intro. 4279, A. Intro. 5667, N.Y. Legis. Rec. & Index (1968). 

64. Senate Report, supra note 2, at 10. 

65. Manpower Report of the President 145 (1966). 



labor market" whose mere existence is sufficient to guarantee fairness to all 
seasonal labor. To them, the claim that "no one forced them to be migrants" 
or the belief that "migrants are free to refuse a job if they don't want it" 
rebuts all arguments that migrants are disadvantaged by the present employ- 
ment system. ^^ 

Yet, what these officials and growers overlook is that abuse creeps into 
the system precisely for the reason that migrants are not hired and paid in a 
"free labor market." It may be true that many migrants began doing farm 
work voluntarily and that some may also leave the work ait will. Such free- 
dom of choice, however, is only one aspect of the existence of a free labor 
market. To assure the participants fair treatment in the free market, three 
other conditions must exist : ( 1 ) knowledge by workers of alternative employ- 
ment opportunities, (2) worker mobility to get to different jobs, and (3) 
equality of bargaining power between workers and employers. 

Knowledge of alternative employment possibilities means that a man 
going into the migrant labor market would know what different growers offer ; 
i.e., who has the best housing, who is paying the best wages, and who promises 
the most continuous stretch of work. Without this knowledge, workers are 
not really free to select the best jobs open to them. Migrants lack adequate 
knowledge because they normally rely upon word of mouth and crew leaders 
for job information. Neither of these sources has proven to be a reliable index 
of employment opportunities. Without reliable knowledge or access to it, mi- 
grants lack the freedom to select the best jobs. In this sense their labor 
market is not functioning as a "free" labor market. 

Worker mobility is also necessary. If a worker knows about the best job 
opportunities but cannot travel to where they are, then his knowledge is use- 
less. Unless he has a car, a migrant's mobility is limited to those places where 
growers or crew leaders offer to transport him. 

Widespread dissemination of knowledge about job opportunities and the 
ready availability of transportation materially affect employee bargaining 
power. An employer must deal responsibly with employees who possess the 
means to travel and who know where to go if they quit. Since migrants lack 
both knowledge and mobility, their bargaining power is severely diminished. 
Moreover, some migrants habitually return to the same farms year after year 
without taking any account of wage considerations. Other migrants rely upon 
crew leaders to make arrangements with employers. Consequently, almost by 
default, migrant labor wages are never the subject of negotiations but are 
instead unilaterally determined by the growers.^''^ 

66. Remarks like this were heard from more than ten persons interviewed in upstate 
New York. 

67. The wage they receive is set by the growers without the intervention of any 
representative of the workers. This wage probably responds primarily to what the growers 
feel is necessary to attract the 13,000 seasonally employed local workers. The locals can, 
more easily than migrants, decide to stay home and wash clothes (housewives), go camp- 
ing (youths), or draw welfare and patronize the local bar (indigenous unemployed). 
Therefore, growers must consider carefully the inducements necessary to attract the 



The official argument that migrants enter the market voluntarily is also 
probably unsound. Many migrants are lured into New York by the false rep- 
resentations of crew leaders regarding pay and working conditions. When a 
worker accepts a job based on one set of promised facts but the actual facts 
of work are different, it is false to say that he freely chose to do the work. 
Further, there is no true free choice when racial discrimination has excluded 
migrants from other jobs and forced them to accept farm work. Lack of edu- 
cational opportunities also limits migrants' freedom to follow other lines of 
endeavor. It should be recalled that a similar supposed freedom of children 
to refuse factory employment did not blind New York to the need for child 
labor laws.^^ Nor did the "freedom" of adults "not to borrow" money at ex- 
cessive interest close the State's eyes to the need for a usury law.^® 


The fact that migrants are not adequately protected by the present em- 
ployment arrangements means that some new kind of protection is needed. 
If legislation does not provide migrants with adequate protection, perhaps 
unionization can. The appeal of unionization is that it would equalize bargain- 
ing power and thereby enable the migrants to secure improvements in their 
employment conditions through negotiation with farmers and pressure on 
the Legislature. It is unclear, however, what effects unionization would have 
on the status of migrant farm labor. Unions could use their power to improve 
wages, and working and living conditions. There would be no need to await 
legislative enactment of new rules and standards.''^^ Unionization, or even the 
threat of unionization, however, probably could lead growers to mechanize at 
an accelerated pace, thus eliminating the need for migrants and leaving them 
unemployed and even worse off than they are under present conditions. 

The AFL-CIO has recently begun limited investigation of the potential 
for organizing migrant labor in New York. One full-time labor representative 
was assigned to the upstate region during the summer and fall of 1967. He 
discovered that : ( 1 ) The organization of migrants is made extremely difficult 
by their transitory presence in the State. (2) Attempts at unionization will 
be hurt by the migrants' failure to view their individual problems as a group 
problem. (3) Potential leaders among the migrants are lacking. Significantly, 
the crew leaders are the last persons who would lead a unionization drive, 
since a union would threaten their own dominant position. (4) The presence 

locals to the fields. After that, vague thoughts that the wages paid one summer may 
affect the number of migrants who come the next summer may marginally influence the 
growers' wage determinations. The only control a migrant has over what he earns is 
that if he does not like the prospects he can try to find another type of employment. 

68. N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 130-40 (McKinney 1965). 

69. N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law §§ 370-82 (McKinney 1957). 

70. For this reason, Arthur Hartwick, crusading former Chairman of the New York 
Joint Legislative Committee on Migrant Labor, sees successful unionization as a com- 
plete solution to the ills plaguing migrants. Interview with Arthur Hartwick, in Roch- 
ester, N.Y., Sept. 13, 1967. 



of hundreds of small growers in New York and the absence of large corporate 
farms means that organizational efforts would have to be greatly dispersedJ^ 
By contrast, in California, where there has been some recent successful union- 
ization of migrant labor, there are several huge corporate farms on which 
unionization efforts could be focused. 

Despite these complications, indications are that the AFL-CIO will con- 
tinue taking slow steps toward organizing New York's migrants. 

Certain features in existing federal and State labor laws discourage ef- 
forts to unionize farm workers. New legislation is needed to protect the rights 
of agricultural workers to bargain collectively. At present, both the National 
Labor Relations Act (NLRA)'^^ ^nd New York's Labor Relations Law,"'^ 
which give these rights to almost all other workers, exclude agricultural 
workers. This discrimination prevents farm workers from availing themselves 
of the orderly procedures for organization provided for in the NLRA, among 
them supervised elections for union representation. The present law allows a 
farm employer to refuse to bargain with a representative elected by a majority 
of his workers. This legislative discrimination aggravates the practical im- 
pediments to organizing New York's migrants that the labor unions have 
already met. 

Growers oppose inclusion of farm workers in the collective bargaining 
laws, but their opposition is no more valid than the industrial employers' was 
to the unionization of their employees. The 1966 Manpower Report of the 
President indicated that low income and intermittent employment "create a 
substantial need" for agricultural workers to be included rather than ex- 
empted from state and federal labor legislation.'^* The current United States 
Secretary of Labor, Willard Wirtz, has blamed their exclusion in the past 
for "the consignment of millions of people to poverty while they worked to 
make the rest of us fat — literally. "'^^ 

Bills have recently been proposed to end the agricultural exemption in 
both the NLRA and New York's Labor Law, but early passage of either is 
not likely. This delay perpetuates a form of economic segregation that is in 
many ways as degrading as racial segregation. However, the recent expansion 
of the Fair Labor Standards Act (the minimum wage law)'^^ to include farm 
workers indicates that the trend is toward ending such economic discrimination. 

Though exclusion from collective bargaining legislation should definitely 
be abolished, the advisability of resorting to unionization is less certain. Ex- 
cessively high labor costs which could result from aggressive unions would 

71. Interview with Leland Stanford, Field Representative, AFL-CIO, in Fredonia, 
N.Y., Aug. 23, 1967. 

72. 29 U.S.C. § 152(3) (1964). 

73. N.Y. Lab. Law art. 20, §§ 701(3), 703 (McKinney 1965). 

74. Manpower Report of the President, supra note 65. 

75. Hearings on H.R. 4769 Before Special Subcomm. on Labor of the House Cotnm. 
on Education & Labor, 90th Cong., 1st Sess., 19 (1967) (extension of NLRA to agri- 
cultural employees). 

76. See note 61 supra. 



easily lead to accelerated mechanization in New York. Already, nearly total 
mechanization has been accomplished in the picking of peas, beans, and 
potatoes. Further, mechanical harvesting is now in advanced stages of ex- 
perimentation for cherries, grapes, and apples. 

A wise union, aware that its coming could leave many migrants unem- 
ployed, might focus its reform efforts to avoid creating migrant unemployment. 
By seeking improvements in crew-leader relations, working conditions, and 
sanitary facilities, for instance, a union of migrants could raise living stan- 
dards without affecting growers' costs adversely. 

Of course, if growers or legislators fear unionization, they can act on 
their own initiative to improve migrant earnings and housing conditions, 
thereby reducing both the need for, and the appeal of, unions. 

III. Living Conditions 


1. Differing Views. When they arrive in New York, most migrants 
know the farm they will be working on and go there directly. On the farms, 
the migrants reside in housing provided by the grower who employs them. 
These accommodations may be rent-free or rented at a charge of up to three 
dollars a week for each room. 

There is some disagreement about the quality of migrant living condi- 
tions. Numerous studies have taken the position that living conditions on the 
camps are totally unacceptable.''^ This view is shared by many antipoverty 
workers and educators currently working with the migrants in New YorkJ^ 
On the other hand, most State officials who deal with migrants deny that 
conditions on the camps are cause for concern. They argue that newspaper 
accounts have consistently distorted the situation by inventing stories about 
large families packed into small dirty rooms, shivering because no heat is 
available. "If the horrible conditions that one reads about really do exist," 
the head of New York's Farm Employment Service says, "they do not exist 
in New York, but only down South."'^ Several officials interviewed suggested 
that playing up the migrant labor situation is a way for urban politicians to 
"take the heat off" their own problems. 

State officials may have an interest in denying that there are unsatisfac- 

77. T. Moore, The Slaves We Rent, supra note 20, at 37-41 (1965) ; L. Shot- 
well, supra note 20, at 93-94, 103 ; Report of the N.Y. State Division of Housing & 
Urban Renewal, ch. 4 (allegedly "suppressed" report released by Radio Station WMCA, 
Nov. 13, 1967) ; D. Wright, The Forgotten People (N.Y. World Telegram articles, 
reprinted by Consumers' League of N.J., 1961). The Moore, Shotwell, and Wright 
Studies describe migrant conditions in various sections of the country. 

78. Interviews with R. Spohn, antipoverty worker, in Sodus, N.Y., Sept. 8, 1967; 
P. Hogan, N.Y. Dep't of Educ, in Rochester, N.Y., Sept. 13, 1967 ; Arland White, Ass't 
Supervisor of Curriculum, Sodus School System, in Sodus, N.Y., Sept. 11, 1967. 

79. Interview with Richard K. Klatt, N.Y. State Sup't of Farm Employment, in 
Rochester, N.Y., Aug. 22, 1967. 


36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 16 


tory conditions at the camps. The critics of these conditions may be said to 
have an interest in exaggerating them. Additional factors, however, encourage 
this divergence of positions. First, there has been improvement in conditions 
in some camps over the last five years. In many instances critics of migrant 
conditions are either unaware of these improvements or unwilling to acknowl- 
edge them, with the result that they continue to criticize some conditions that 
have already been ameliorated. Second, there is a wide range of accommoda- 
tions available to migrants. Officials tend to stress that the better facilities 
are typical, while the critics claim both that the less desirable camps represent 
the average and that even the best camps are unsatisfactory. 

Visits to over 30 camps selected at random prompt the conclusion that, 
in spite of recent improvements and the existence of some decent housing, 
many camps are not fit to be occupied. 

2. Actual Conditions in the Camps. In some of the camps visited, se- 
vere overcrowding was discovered. At one camp, a family of six lived in one 
ten foot by 14 foot room.^" Few buildings had heating facilities, even though 
on several September nights the temperature was near freezing.®^ In one camp 
in Sodus, New York, the ceilings were only inches above the heads of the 
adult tenants.^- 

Nearly all the camps had only primitive toilet facilities. Usually these 
were outdoor privies, often foul-smelling and filthy. Moreover, the number 
of privies was often too small for the number of people at the camp. At one 
camp, accommodating 70 to 80 men and women, there were two five foot by 
four foot out-houses (one for each sex), each with a wooden board with two 
holes in it serving as a seat.^^ 

All migrant camps have showers of one form or another. Usually, how- 
ever, they are too few, supply hot water irregularly, and sometimes are 
located a considerable distance from the sleeping quarters. At one camp there 
had been no hot water for three weeks,^^ and at another, there was no hot 
water on the day the camp was visited.^^ 

To a considerable extent, the migrants are isolated from the neighboring 
community. In many instances, because of lack of transportation, they do not 
leave the camp for weeks at a time except to work. Even when they are able 
to get into a nearby town they are frequently made to feel unwelcome. This 
further encourages their tendency to remain on the camps. During periods of 
unemployment, the migrants have nothing to do and no place to go. An addi- 
tional cause of isolation is that most camps do not provide any pay telephones 
and even the crew leader living in the camp frequently has no phone. 

80. Camp C, in Brant, N.Y. 

81. In Wayne County, the county with the greatest concentration of migrants in 
New York, there were nine days in Sept. 1967, in which the temperature was 45 °F or 
below. Telephone Interview with U.S. Weather Bureau statistician, in New York City, 
Feb. 5, 1968 (temperature readings from the cooperative weather observer, Sodus, N.Y.). 

82. Camp D, Sodus, N.Y. 

83. Camp B, Sodus, N.Y. 

84. Id. 

85. Camp D, Sodus, N.Y. 



Despite the many hours they must spend at their camps, the migrants are 
provided with virtually no facilities for recreation. At one camp there was 
only a basketball hoop hung in a state of disrepair from a pole.^^ Many large 
camps had a juke box as their sole recreational facility. Often there were only 
the television sets some migrants had brought with them. 


There are three principal reasons why migrant living conditions are so 
poor: (1) inadequate sanitary and housing regulations; (2) lax enforcement 
of existing regulations, and (3) failure of the growers to correct poor 

1. Failings of the Existing State Regulations. Pursuant to authority 
granted by Section 225 of the New York Public Health Law, the Public 
Health Council may write and amend regulations setting forth minimum re- 
quirements for labor-camp housing and sanitation facilities. ^'^ These regula- 
tions, which are subject to the approval of the New York State Commissioner 
of Health,^^ are set forth as Part 15 of the State Sanitary Code.^^ The regu- 
lations are both too weak and too vague to compel decent accommodations. 
A high-ranking official of the Health Department, who was far from sym- 
pathetic with the migrants' situation, conceded, "Our rules are minimal as 
most sanitary codes are." 

The New York Code has several provisions which deal with the living 
space that must be provided for migrants. These sections establish minimum- 
footage requirements for sleeping quarters^** and create certain standards for 
cooking and dining areas. ^^ The Code does not differentiate between families 
and single persons in its requirements. An examination of these Code sections 
and the effect of their failure to provide separate requirements for families 
reveals the inadequacies of the Code in this area. 

The amount of living space that the Code requires for each person over 
two years old is 30 square feet for labor camps licensed prior to January 1, 
1959, and 40 square feet for facilities built or converted to migrant housing 
after that date. The requirements when double-deck beds are used are 20 
square feet per person for buildings under permit prior to 1959, and 30 square 
feet otherwise. A few comments give perspective to these figures. The 30 or 
40 foot allotment is often the migrant's entire home. It may comprise all the 
space he has unless he also uses other communal buildings. Yet, his bed alone 
takes up at least 15 square feet of this living area so that no more than 15 to 
25 square feet might remain as his free floor space. Usually there is no sepa- 

86. Camp E, Sodus, N.Y. 

87. N.Y. Pub. Health Law §§ 225(3), (4) (m) (McKinney 1954). The Council 
consists of the commissioner and eight members appointed by the Governor, of whom at 
least four must be physicians, N.Y. Pub. Health Law § 220 (McKinney 1954). 

88. Id. § 225(3). 

89. lOA N.Y. Code, Rules & Regs. pt. 15 (1962) [hereinafter cited as NYCRR]. 

90. Id. § 15(6) (c). 

91. Id. § 15(10). 



rate living room ; the bathroom is many yards away ; the kitchen is either a 
communal kitchen (often in another building) or a stove in the same bed- 
room. It is not uncommon to observe migrant facilities in New York State 
with floor areas barely above the minimums. It is apparent that in these cases 
the footage minimums are far too small to house people in reasonable comfort. 

Because no distinctions are made between facilities required for family 
units and for single people, members of one family sometimes are found 
separated among unconnected rooms. Even where such a family does have 
connected rooms, the amount of privacy afforded them is small. The rooms 
open onto a common hall shared by as many as 50 people. The other rooms 
opening onto the hallway often contain young, single people. These young 
people, in part because of the lack of other available recreation, sometimes 
drink heavily and are often boisterous. Where little children constitute part 
of the family, the noise and confusion inherent in such a situation are par- 
ticularly undesirable. 

Another living-space problem is that migrants are permitted to use their 
single small rooms for cooking although adequate space and ventilation for 
cooking, washing and storage facilities in these rooms do not exist. The Code 
provides that "[wjhere food storage, preparation or service is necessarily 
carried out in single room quarters occupied by a family, space for such 
purposes shall be provided in addition to the space required for sleeping 
purposes . . . ."^^ The Code also does not require any facilities for washing 
hands, food, or dishes in rooms where food is prepared or served. Nor are 
there any provisions for refrigeration space. Consequently, many migrants 
cook over small burners in their bedrooms without any running water or 
refrigeration in the room. 

The inadequate provisions dealing with living space must be changed. 
Unless the regulations are improved, even the most dedicated officials will be 
partially immobilized. Unless these improvements are made quickly, they will 
be too late. The number of migrants in New York State is growing smaller 
by four per cent each year.^^ 

2. Federal Housing Regulations. 

a. Living space. In 1956 the President's Committee on Migrant Labor^* 
drew up a set of recommended housing standards.^^ The standards were not 
made mandatory on the states but were to serve as a guide for use in drafting 
state legislation.^^ This voluntary arrangement produced little state action. 
Therefore, on July 1, 1967, the U.S. Department of Labor took executive 

92. Id. § 15(10) (c). 

93. See note 6 supra and accompanying text. 

94. The Committee, appointed on Aug. 26, 1954, consisted of the Secretaries of 
Labor, Agriculture, Interior, Health, Education and Welfare, and the Administrator of 
the Housing and Home Finance Agency. L. Shotwell, supra note 20, at 108-09. 

95. U.S. Dep't of Labor, Housing Regs, for Out-of- State Agricultural, Woods, 
& Related Industry Workers Recruited Through State Employment Service 
(1967) [hereinafter cited as U.S. Dep't of Labor, Housing Regs.]. 

96. Id. at 1. 



action to make the standards of the President's Committee mandatory in all 
states.^'^ The only sanction against non-complying farmers, however, is that 
the federally affiliated State Farm Employment Services are not to assist 
them in the interstate recruitment of agricultural workers.^^ 

These sanctions w^ill not be effective for two reasons. First, the farmers 
do not really need the Employment Service. Many do not use it in the re- 
cruitment process and for those that do, the Service's refusal to assist them in 
finding labor would be inconvenient but not disastrous. Second, the federal 
standards will be policed primarily by the same inefficient State machinery 
that enforces New York's regulations.^^ However, since enforcement in New 
York can be improved, New York should adopt at least the federal standards 
and then apply meaningful sanctions of its own. 

By the standards of the Committee's Code, the footage requirements 
found in the New York Code are well below an acceptable minimum. The 
Federal Code requires that 

in all shelters hereafter constructed or remodeled each room designed 
or used for sleeping purposes shall have at least 400 cubic feet of air 
space per person. It shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor space 
for the first occupant and at least 50 square feet of floor space for 
each additional occupant}^ [Emphasis supplied.] 

That this is well above New York's minimums indicates how inadequate the 
President's Committee thought New York's standards are. The Committee's 
minimum-footage requirements, however, suffer from a serious drawback. 
No timetable is provided for the elimination of existing housing which fails 
to meet the requirements. Because the demand for migrant labor is diminish- 
ing in New York, the likelihood of substantial new construction is small and 
the requirements set up by the Committee will be almost entirely ineffective. 
In order to achieve the footage standards established by the Committee, 
New York should provide a definite schedule for the elimination of non- 
complying buildings. ^•'^ Any structure built or converted to use as migrant 
housing before the 1963 season has already provided the farmer with five 
years of use and tax-deductible depreciation. The new standards should be 
applied immediately to those structures. For buildings built or converted after 

97. 20 C.F.R. § 602.9(d) (1967). 

98. Id. 

99. The Employment Ser\'ice is not to assist in recruitment until it has "ascer- 
tained" that conditions comply with the federal standards, 20 C.F.R. § 602.9(d) (1967). 
The Service will make its decision primarily on the basis of information supplied to it by 
state officials. For a discussion of enforcement in New York and suggestions for improve- 
ment, see notes 129-41 injra and accompanying text. 

100. President's Comm. on Migratory Labor, Agricultural Worker Site & Physical 
Facilities Standards § 4(d) [hereinafter cited as Committee's Code, Site and Physical 
Facilities], reprinted in part in U.S. Dep't of Labor, Housing Regs., supra note 95. 

101. New Jersey has recently enacted legislation which requires that "[e]very 
sleeping place . . . shall be made to conform, no later than January 1, 1970, to the stan- 
dards prescribed by the Secretary of Labor of the United States. . . ." Ch. 259, § 4, N.J. 
Sess. Laws [1967] 847 (Soney & Sage Serv.). 




1963, five years' grace from the date of construction or conversion should be 
allowed before making the standards applicable. Thus, buildings used for the 
first time in 1964 would have until the 1969 season before the new standards 
became mandatory. 

b. Other features of the federal regulations. In addition to enlarging 
the required living space, the new federal standards show an understanding 
of the fact that different requirements must be made for single people and 
for families. "In all shelters hereafter constructed or remodeled not less than 
two rooms shall be provided for each family composed of husband and wife 
and one or more children 10 years of age or over."^*^^ Again, however, the 
failure to provide a timetable makes the section practically useless. All a 
farmer must do to avoid the requirement is keep the migrants in existing ac- 
commodations. The section also fails to specify that the two rooms must be 
connected by a private door or hallway. Under the wording of the provision, 
a farmer could provide two unconnected rooms for a family and satisfy the 
requirement. The omission should be corrected in New York because of the 
importance of strengthening and protecting the family. The widely discussed 
Moynihan Report indicates that a weak family structure is probably a large 
factor in perpetuating the cycle of poverty among Negroes.^**^ 

The President's Committee has established requirements in the area of 
cooking facilities. The Code states that "in camps where workers are per- 
mitted or required to cook in their individual quarters, a separate room shall 
be provided and equipped for use as a kitchen. "^^^ The Committee's provision 
does not go far enough and is too vague. "Equipped for use as a kitchen" 
should be defined to include hot and cold running water, a minimum number 
of cubic feet of refrigeration space per person, and at least two burners. It 
should also be made clear that the space provided for a kitchen shall not be 
included in the minimum-footage requirements for sleeping quarters. The 
present New York regulations require additional footage when cooking is 
done in a room,^^^ but they do not demand a separate room. Because New 
York's requirement is easily abused — burners are often found in rooms with- 
out the required additional footage — the requirement of an additional room 
if there is to be cooking is advisable, 

3. Need for Improved State Regulation. Whatever emotional reasons 
a farmer might have for not improving the facilities he provides for his work- 
ers, in the final analysis he will usually rely on an economic argument. 
Farmers argue that since New York is competing with other states for 
markets in fruits and vegetables, they and the State will be placed in a disad- 
vantageous competitive position if they are required to provide more expen- 
sive facilities than neighboring states. This argument cannot be taken lightly. 
It may be unrealistic to demand improvements if the money for them is not 
available, or if such demands will destroy New York's competitive position. 

102. Committee's Code, Site, and Physical Facilities, § 4(c), supra note 100. 

103. See generally D. Moynihan, The Negro Family (1965). 

104. Committee's Code, Site, and Physical Facilities § 11(a), supra note 100. 

105. lOA NYCRR § 15.10(c) (1962). 



From the point of view of New York farmers, therefore, federal migrant 
housing legislation would be more desirable than an upgrading of the New 
York Sanitary Code. Farmers would then not have to worry about having 
higher costs than their out-of-state competitors, and the East Coast migrants 
would enjoy improved facilities along their entire 1,000 mile journey. The 
recommendations of the President's Committee, however, did not become 
mandatory in all states until July 1, 1967. Having acted so recently, it is un- 
likely that the federal government will make substantial changes in its housing 
requirements in the near future. New York, therefore, cannot wait for Wash- 
ington to impose uniform requirements across the country. But stiffening the 
Sanitation Code will not impair the ability of New York growers to compete 
with sister states. Improvements need not be expensive; what they do cost 
can be balanced by the greater productivity on the part of the workers that 
results from improved living conditions.^*'^ The new minimum footage re- 
quirements would not necessitate much new construction. Few rooms are so 
small that they could not accommodate a single person under the recom- 
mended standard. To comply with the new standards farmers would only 
have to construct enough housing to accommodate the overflow, and the 
existing units could continue to be used. Rooms which are so small that even 
a single person cannot live comfortably in them would have to be eliminated. 
Even here, however, the farmer may not have to incur great expense. Where 
rooms are so small that the minimum requirements cannot be satisfied for 
even a single occupant, it may frequently be possible to break down a wall 
between two small rooms to provide adequate living space. Similarly, the 
requirement of providing unified quarters for families could be met by modi- 
fying existing structures. For example, a farmer could install a doorway be- 
tween two rooms separated by a wall. 

4. Other Methods of Improvement. Ingenuity on the part of individual 
farmers and cooperation among them can also reduce the cost of improve- 
ments. Some farmers have started housing migrants in trailers. Such accom- 
modations, if acquired used, are not very expensive^*''' and would frequently 
be a substantial improvement on what is now provided for migrants. For 
families, trailers are a particularly desirable alternative because of the privacy 
they provide. 

One large fruit farm in Sodus, New York, which has provided several 
migrant families with trailers has also found another way to provide better 
housing. The management purchased a house in a nearby town and trans- 

106. Address by Marcus E. Buckman, 32d Ann. Meeting of the Nat'l Apple Inst., 
June 11-13, 1967; see U.S. Dep't of Labor, Housing Handbook, A Guide to Improved 
Farm Worker Housing 1 (1967) ("Housing contributes to the health and well being 
of workers, thereby affecting their productivity."). 

107. Five-year-old trailers can be purchased for $2500 to $3000. Ten-year-old 
trailers can be purchased for $1200 to $1800. These trailers are 8 to 10 feet wide and 40 
to SO feet long. They have two or three bedrooms, a kitchen, a heating system, a bathtub 
and shower, and a flush toilet (which must be connected to an external sewage system). 
Telephone Interview with Wendell Swabling, Owner, Chili Mobile Home Sales, Church- 
ville, N.Y., Feb. 8, 1968. Mr. Swabling noted that he had sold used trailers to farmers for 
migrant housing "many times." 




ported it in sections to the farm.^''^ Another possibility, though generally re- 
sisted by the farmers, is cooperative housing. With the economies of scale of 
extensive construction, large cooperatives could reduce the cost to each 
farmer. There are numerous examples of successful cooperative ventures in 
housing for agricultural workers. ^^^ A description of one in Western Texas 
and the conditions that led to its construction is found below : 

Realizing that the shameful housing conditions in the old labor 
camps have contributed to the worker shortage, these men [local 
businessmen who "are acutely aware of the tremendous spending 
power of the thousands of workers needed in these fields"] have 
made giant strides to correct this situation. Local bankers, business- 
men, and farmers have built a small city for both migratory and year 
round workers . . . curved paved streets, sidewalks and lawns form 
a complex around a shopping center. A washateria, barber shop, 
restaurant, grocery store and other types of businesses are housed in 
this attractively bricked shopping area, . . .^^° 

Most farmers have not yet realized that good housing and sanitary fa- 
cilities are sound economics. The manager of a 1,000-acre fruit farm on the 
shore of Lake Ontario has noted that "good housing will not necessarily make 
[a good] crew but will certainly help to attract and to keep the better 
workers coming back year after year."^^^ Farmers who are willing to provide 
decent places to live w'ill get the same crews back each summer with very 
little turnover. If the facilities are unattractive, there usually is high turnover 
among the crew. This high turnover brings in workers who are less experi- 
enced and reliable. 


1. Toilet Facilities. Flush toilets are not made mandatory by the New 
York Code. Consequently, the number of such toilets provided for migrants 
is quite small. There are approximately 200 labor camps in Wayne, Ontario 
and Yates Counties. Only 30 to 35 of these have flush toilets. ^^^ The regu- 
lations also demand only one privy seat for each 20 persons and make no 
provision for partitions between the seats.^^^ This failure to require more and 
better toilets has allowed growers to meet the standards of the Code by pro- 
viding a few filthy out-houses for a large crew of migrants. 

In addition to the unacceptable section dealing with toilets at the camp 
in the Sanitation Code, New York's Labor Law has no provisions for toilet 

108. Sodus Fruit Farms, Sodus, New York. 

109. The Wayne County Growers and Processors, for example, own three camps 
that house 400 to 600 Puerto Rican migrants. These workers are rented to farmers who 
need them. Telephone Interview with R. Facer, supra note 59. 

110. M. Mitchell, Better Housing Attracts Farmworkers in West Texas, 4 Employ- 
ment Serv. Rev., Jan.-Feb. 1967, at 33. 

111. Address by Marcus Buckman, supra note 106. 

112. Anonymous Interview with State Health Inspector, Geneva, N.Y., Sept. 14, 

113. lOA NYCRR § 15.8(c) (1962). 



facilities in the fields and orchards although it requires toilet facilities at vir- 
tually every other kind of indoor and outdoor work.^^* Thus the migrant who 
usually leaves for the fields early in the morning and does not return until 
the evening, must often relieve himself in the fields. 

The President's Committee did not recommend any substantial change 
from the existing New York Code requirements for toilets at the camps, nor 
did it deal with facilities in the fields. ^^^ New York should correct this. The 
privies currently provided at many camps are indefensible for humanitarian 
and health reasons. A study made by the New York State Division of Hous- 
ing in 1961 reports that 

most, if not all, housing codes prohibit further use of privies in 
urban areas .... While out-houses serving and maintained by 
individual families may not threaten the public health, it was felt 
that such toilets that are used by many unrelated persons could, 
through neglect and improper use, pose a health problem.^^^ 

The study points out some significant research done in Kentucky which 
showed that people using privies had two to three times the incidence of 
disease and infection as people using flush toilets. ^^^ 

Most growers and officials insist that migrants do not know how to use 
flush toilets, do not want them, and destroy them whenever they are provided. 
This argument is not supported by the observed facts. One veteran health 
inspector in Wayne County commented, "A lot of people tell you that flush 
toilets are no good because the migrants don't know how to use them. . . . We 
have about 30 camps that have flush toilets and we have very little trouble 
with them." 

It does not seem necessary to provide flush toilets in every sleeping unit, 
but New York should demand that all camps have one flush toilet for each 
ten occupants of the camp, and that no sleeping rooms be more than 75 feet 
from a toilet. These improvements in the New York Code are needed to give 
the migrants more sanitary, more comfortable, and more accessible toilet 

Provisions for toilets and water for drinking and washing in the fields 
must be written in the Labor Law. Humane considerations are sufficient in 
themselves to justify such requirements. However, there are other persuasive 
considerations. United States Senator Harrison Williams describes the situa- 
tion that has resulted from a failure to provide sanitary facilities in the fields : 

We as consumers have good reason to be uneasy about this situation. 
Much of our soft food and other products are picked, and often field- 
packed, by migratory farm workers. If we object to filth anywhere 

114. See N.Y. Lab. Law §§ 203, 295, 381, 404 (McKinney 1965). 

115. Committee's Code, Site and Physical Facilities § 9, supra note 100. 

116. Report of N.Y. State Div. of Housing & Urban Renewal, supra note 77, 
at IV-8. 

117. Report of the Cumberland Field Station of the Communicable Disease 
Center of the Pub. Health Serv., Prestonburg, Ky., quoted in Report of the N.Y. 
Drv. OF Housing & Urban Renewal, supra note 77 at IV-9. 



we certainly should object to it in any part of the process that brings 
the food from the fields to our tables. Quite often the next hand to 
touch the celery after that operation in the fields will be ours when 
we buy it in the store to take it home.^^^ 

Portable toilets are not expensive and the desirability of providing for the 
migrants, who pick the food we eat, a place to wash their hands after they 
use the toilets, justifies a requirement of running water in the fields. The 
availability of water from irrigation systems will sometimes reduce the cost 
of bringing water to the migrants. 

2. Other Improvements in the Sanitary Code. Several other areas in 
the Sanitary Code should be improved. The Code requires that sleeping 
quarters occupied after October 1 must have heating facilities capable of 
maintaining a minimum of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.^^^ Anyone familiar with the 
weather in upper New York State knows that cold temperatures are encoun- 
tered well before October. ^^^ The lack of heat can make a September evening 
extremely uncomfortable and dangerous to health. The Code does provide 
that "satisfactory heating facilities may be required ... at camps which are 
occupied at times other than noted above [i.e., after October 1] when the 
room temperature falls below 68° Fahrenheit." [Emphasis supplied. ] ^^^ Ob- 
servations, however, did not disclose many instances of this prerogative being 
exercised. New York should make the simple change of advancing the date 
after which heating is required from October 1 to September 1. 

Finally, there should be changes in the requirements for electricity, the 
availability of drinking water, and the height of ceilings. In addition, pay 
phones should be required in all camps. ^^^ The Code currently has no require- 
ment that camps be provided with electricity. It only states that, "If electric 
current is available ... at least one electric light outlet shall be provided in 
each sleeping quarters, kitchen, dining room, mess hall and toilet room."^^^ 
Even these requirements are not always satisfied. At several camps, electricity 
was available in all rooms but not in the privies. Electric lighting should be 
required in all camps, in sleeping quarters, kitchens, shower rooms and toilet 
rooms. In all but shower rooms and toilet rooms there should also be pro- 
visions for electric outlets. 

There is no requirement for running water in any of the sleeping 
quarters. A migrant wanting a drink of water may have to journey to a dif- 
ferent building, or a faucet located out of doors. The Code only provides that, 
"Drinking water . . . shall be readily available to occupants of the property."^^* 
Here is an example of where vague wording has permitted abuse. There is no 

118. T. Moore, supra note 20, at 46. 

119. lOA NYCRR § 15.6(j) (1962). 

120. See note 81 supra and accompanying text. 

121. lOA NYCRR § 15.6(j) (1962). 

122. A bill that would amend N.Y. Lab. Law § 212(c) to require every grower to 
install a public pay telephone for migrants in every farm labor camp was introduced in 
the New York Legislature in 1967. A. Intro. 4863, N.Y. Legis. Reg. & Index (1968). 

123. lOA NYCRR § 15.6(d) (1962). 

124. Id. § 15.7(a). 



definition of "readily available" and as interpreted by health officials it fre- 
quently means only a few faucets about the camp grounds in addition to those 
in the kitchen. New York should require that drinking water be available at 
a distance of no more than 30 feet from any sleeping quarters. Any room 
where cooking is permitted should, as noted earlier, have hot and cold water 

The Code now provides that ceilings in sleeping quarters must be at 
least six feet six inches high for 80 per cent of the floor space, permitting the 
rest to be five feet.^^^ Thus, a lawful ceiling can be less than a foot above the 
average man's head and only a few inches above the heads of many. In one 
camp in Sodus, New York, where the ceilings were near the minimum level, 
the resulting discomfort was apparent.^^^ New York should increase the mini- 
mum ceiling height by one foot to seven feet six inches. 

The lack of recreational facilities at the camps erodes morale and prob- 
ably contributes to whatever destructiveness exists. Because the crews vary 
so much in size (from five members to over 100) and composition (from 
large families to crews composed entirely of single men), it is difficult to 
write into the law specific requirements for recreational facilities. 

A minimal requirement should be that camps of 20 persons or more have 
a common room with at least 200 square feet of floor space. The real impetus 
in this area, however, must come from the farmers. They must realize that in 
addition to helping the migrants they will be helping themselves if they erect 
a basketball hoop or provide the migrants with bats and balls. 

3. Arguments Against Requiring Improvements. Even if the farmers 
could be persuaded that it is economically feasible to provide better facilities, 
they are still likely to resist. Many of them believe that "you can give the 
migrants a brand new camp and within two weeks it'll be a wreck. The mi- 
grants don't know how to treat decent facilities. They destroy everything you 
give to them." It is true that some migrants treat their accommodations 
roughly; sometimes because they are frustrated, sometimes because they get 
drunk, and sometimes because they don't know any better. But reports of 
destructiveness are greatly exaggerated. Nowhere was it observed to have 
approached the point where it arguably could justify a refusal to improve the 
facilities. There are also indications that as facilities improve, and the condi- 
tions in which migrants are forced to live are no longer frequently filthy and 
degrading, the degree of frustration and destructiveness decreases. ^^^ 

Anyone suggesting stricter housing and sanitation standards must con- 
front the argument that his efforts to ameliorate the situation will bring about 
a situation which is decidedly worse. Any substantial increase in the expenses 
of maintaining migrants, it is claimed, causes the farmers to seek faster ways 
to mechanize their harvesting operations and puts migrants out of work. "The 
push given to mechanization in California by the threat of union activity has 

125. Id. § lS.6(c). 

126. Camp D, Sodus, N.Y. 

127. Address by Marcus Buckman, supra note 106. 



its counterpart in the east with every step-up in state housing inspection and 
tightened regulations."^^^ Mechanization will, in time, eliminate the need for 
most of the migrants. Stiffening the Sanitation Code may speed the process 
and put many migrants out of work. This argument, however, should not 
deter New York from improving its standards. Many of the improvements, 
as noted earlier, need not be expensive. But more important, no sector of the 
economy should be permitted to house its workers under intolerable condi- 
tions merely because improving those conditions would stimulate mechaniza- 
tion. If agriculture cannot provide decent housing for migrants, then efforts 
should be made to train migrants for work in other areas of the economy. The 
threat of automation has not prevented the establishment of strict require- 
ments for working conditions in industrial jobs and should not prevent 
similarly rigorous requirements in agriculture. 


While it is clear that the Sanitation Code must be strengthened, it is 
equally clear that poor enforcement of the existing regulations is also respon- 
sible for the living conditions of the migrants. A Negro newspaperman who 
spent several months living and working with the migrants, found that in the 
North, "unlike the South, there were, indeed, a few laws aimed at protecting 
the rights of the itinerant harvester. But the truth is that these laws are so 
scant and so haphazardly enforced that they have little effect."^29 While this 
may overstate the case, the provisions of the Sanitary Code in New York are 
not adequately enforced. 

1. Official Attitudes. Primary responsibility for enforcing the Code is 
assigned to the district offices of the New York State Health Department and 
certain county Health Departments.^^*^ Members of the Department make 
regular inspections both prior to the migrants' arrival and during their resi- 
dence at the camps. Estimates of the frequency of inspection vary. One health 
official stated that each camp would be visited five or six times a season. Other 
officials, however, claimed more frequent visits. The inspectors do not visit 
all the migrant labor camps in New York. The Code is only applicable to 
camps housing five or more migrants.^^^ Smaller camps are not regulated. 
Frequently, the local health officials are friends of the growers and have lived 
in the area for many years. Under these circumstances most of these officials 
are unwilling to crack down on violations. A casual attitude toward the re- 
quirements set forth in the Sanitation Code is not limited to local officials. 

128. L. Shotwell, supra note 20, at 191. 

129. D. Wright, supra note 77, at 9. 

130. In some areas New York State has dissolved its district health offices and 
replaced them with county-controlled offices. The district office in Jamestown, for 
example, was replaced by a county health office in 1965. Interview with K. Brown, 
County Health Official, in Mayville, N.Y., Aug. 29, 1967. 

131. N.Y. Pub. Health Law § 225 (m) (McKinney Supp. 1967). A bill intro- 
duced in the N.Y. Legislature in 1968 would make the Sanitation Code applicable to 
migrant labor camps "which are occupied by one or more persons." S. Intro. 4277, 
A. Intro. 5446, N.Y. Legis. Reg. & Index (1968). 



High officials in the State Health Department and other departments dealing 
with migrants defend some of the worst camps in the State. Real reform will 
be extremely difficult unless some of these officials are replaced. 

Another aspect of the unsympathetic attitudes of many officials and 
growers is a tendency on the part of even the most well-meaning to deceive 
themselves about conditions on the camps. Most of them simply do not 
believe that the migrants are dissatisfied with their environment, or that the 
conditions are unsatisfactory. "They wouldn't come back if they didn't like 
it," is the response that is frequently made to attempts to point out some of 
the deplorable conditions. "After all, it's just a summer camp," some argued, 
"and when you go camping in the woods you don't expect to find indoor 
toilets or running water in your house." 

The migrants, however, are not satisfied with their conditions. When a 
migrant tells an official that things are "not too bad" it is unlikely that he is 
conveying what he really thinks. 

The migrant ... is likely to be suspicious of any but the most super- 
ficial contacts with professional personnel. Reliable answers to ques- 
tions are therefore unlikely, especially if the migrant is Negro, since 
it has often been observed that the low-income poorly educated 
southern Negro is likely to respond to questions with the answers 
he thinks the questioner desires.^^^ 

Even if one assumes that the kind of distortion suggested above is not in- 
herent in a situation where State officials question the migrants, there is a 
much simpler reason why migrants will not complain. They are worried 
about the security of their job and are not willing to risk offending the farmer 
or the crew boss by complaining about the conditions. If they are fired they 
may not be able to find other work and possibly would be unable to afford 
transportation home. Although the comment of one health official that, "I've 
talked to the migrants every year and they are happy," was not atypical, many 
of the migrants when approached informally by researchers voiced harsh 
criticism of their living conditions. 

As for the argument that the migrants are merely "camping out," what 
its proponents fail to recognize is that the migrants are not young men and 
women who choose to go to the country to "rough it" for two months. These 
are people of all ages who may be forced to live this way all year. 

2. Enforcement Procedures. Even where officials are willing to try to 
correct a reported violation of the Sanitation Code there is no assurance that 
the violation will be eliminated. Although available sanctions against violators 
range from small fines^^^ to imprisonment^^* the cumbersome enforcement 
procedures that are utilized by health officials make results extremely difficult 
to obtain. The procedure followed in the Geneva, New York, Health Office 

132. E. Koos, They Follow the Sun, supra note 4, at 7-8. 

133. N.Y. Pub. Health Law § 1331(5) (McKinney 1954); lOA NYCRR § 1.2 

134. lOA NYCRR § 1.21 (1962). 



illustrates this point. First, the farmer is informally notified of the violation. 
Then, acting pursuant to Section 1331 of the Public Health Law, notice of the 
violation is posted on the farmer's camp.^^^ The camp will then be reinspected 
within a week to see if the violation has been corrected. If it has not, the 
Health Department will call the farmer in for a conference to try to solve the 
problem. It may be some time before the conference can be held, and it usually 
will be another week before the farm is reinspected to see if the conference 
was effective. If the violation was not spotted until just before the migrants 
arrived, a farmer with a little ingenuity can stall long enough so the migrants 
will spend the major portion of the summer living under conditions not meet- 
ing the standards of the Sanitation Code. 

If a farmer refuses entirely to correct violations, further legal proceedings 
may be used to force compliance. Section 1331(5) of the Public Health Law 
provides that a grower who fails to comply with the Sanitation Code "shall 
pay a penalty of twenty-five dollars for each day thereafter during which such 
violation continues . . . ."^^^ There are two problems with this sanction, how- 
ever. First, it is rarely applied. According to one State Health official, it is 
employed only in the last resort against the most stubborn farmers. Second, 
if major repairs would be needed to cure the violation, the farmer may simply 
prefer to pay the fine. If it is not the beginning of his season and he can post- 
pone its imposition for a few weeks, the fine may cost less than the repair. 

A second sanction available to the Health Department is much more 
severe — closing down of the camp.^^'^ The imposition of this sanction is ex- 
tremely infrequent. The violations are usually not discovered until the 
migrants have arrived and the harvest has begun. Closing down a camp 
could mean that the farmer would not be able to get his crops picked and the 
crop would be ruined. Under these circumstances, health ofificials are reluctant 
to exercise their statutory authority. 

A final legal tool that is available to coerce the farmers into compliance 
with the Sanitation Code is criminal prosecution. ^^^ This procedure also is 
cumbersome and infrequently used. In one instance observed, a flagrant viola- 
tion was referred to Albany for legal action in June and the legal wheels 
turned so slowly that by September no action had yet been brought.^^^ Such 
delays clearly nullify the effect of the action for the summer in which the 
violation is discovered. In addition, even if an action is eventually brought in 
the fall or winter, the migrants, who would probably be the best witnesses, 
have already left New York. 

3. Improving Enforcement. The existing Code is not being adequately 
enforced. Measures must be taken to encourage inspectors to require compli- 
ance and to encourage growers to comply. ^^'^ There are at least two avenues of 

135. N.Y. Pub. Health Law § 1331(1) (McKinney 1954). 

136. Id. § 1331(5). 

137. Id. § 1330. 

138. lOA NYCRR § 1.2 (1962). 

139. Camp E, Wolcott, N.Y. 

140. The warning issued by the N.Y. State Health Department to 143 migrant 



approach. First, changes can be made in the organization and procedures of 
the Health Department. Second, legal sanctions for violations of the Code can 
be made more severe and some of the discretion to impose these penalties can 
be removed. The first approach is preferable because the health officials and 
the farmers must cooperate and resorting to legal sanctions creates bad feel- 
ings and impedes cooperation. Another reason for emphasizing cooperation is 
that some farmers are impressed with their ov^^n individualism and indepen- 
dence and may retaliate if they feel coerced. One farmer explained that he had 
intended to fix his camp until some government ofificials tried to pressure him 
into a change. Then, "just to show them," he left the camp the way it was. 
Where cooperation is not forthcoming, however, effective sanctions must be 

One important change in current enforcement procedures would be to 
make the Health Department's migrant operations a year-round activity. 
Major improvements in the camps cannot be made during the summer when 
the migrants are there. Presently, the Health Department concentrates its 
inspections and demands for repairs during the harvest season. Although the 
camps are inspected before the migrants arrive — all camps of more than five 
workers must obtain a permit from the Health Department before they are 
permitted to open^^^ — there is no concerted effort to use the time when the 
camps are empty to improve conditions. 

The 1967 operations of the State Health Office in Geneva, New York, 
which had jurisdiction over more than 200 camps, illustrates the part-time 
nature of the Health Department's concern with migrants. The only year- 
round man in the office having substantial responsibilities dealing with 
migrants spent only one third of his time on migrant affairs. His three sub- 
ordinates, who did the actual inspections, were only employed from just before 
the migrants arrived until the end of the season. 

Making health inspectors year-round employees would greatly increase 
the chance that substantial improvements will be made. With inspectors work- 
ing during the winter and spring there is more time to urge and cajole the 
farmers instead of having to risk offending them by demanding action during 
the late spring or summer. This will cause less conflict between health officials' 
positions as neighbor and law-enforcer. On the other hand, growers will not be 
faced with the prospect of having to close down a camp in the middle of the 
harvest, virtually assuring a ruined season. They will have had ample notice 
that repairs must be made, and time to make them without undue interference 
with their harvest. No injustice can result from refusing to allow a farmer to 
open his camp if he does not comply when he has been given six-months' 
notice that improvements must be made. In addition, since the fairness of the 
officials' action would seem to be so clear under these circumstances, they 
would risk less disfavor in their communities when they refused to allow a 
non-complying camp to open. 

camps that they will not be permitted to operate next season unless they improve condi- 
tions is a hopeful sign. N.Y. Times, Dec. 12, 1967, at 65, col. 6. 
141. lOA NYCRR § 15.20(a) (1962). 


IV. Application of Social Legislation 

Migrant farm laborers frequently do not receive the benefits of major 
federal and state social legislation. They are excluded in any of three ways: 
First, they may be technically within the scope of the beneficial legislation but 
in practice may not receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Second, a 
statute may provide coverage for only some migrants. Third, the legislation 
may explicitly exclude them. 


Migrants are eligible for certain benefits under the welfare laws of New 
York. While the "categorical assistance" programs demand that applicants 
intend to remain in the state,^*^ thereby making most migrants ineligible,^^^ 
other parts of the Social Welfare Law establish programs that cover indi- 
viduals who cannot satisfy the residency requirements. Section 158 of the 
Social Welfare Law states that "any person unable to provide for himself, 
or who is unable to secure support from legally responsible relatives . . . shall 
be eligible for home relief."^^^ "Home relief" is defined to include money for 
shelter, fuel, food and clothing.^^^ There is no requirement that the recipient 
intend to remain in the state. The regulations also make it clear that migrants 
are eligible for certain assistance programs : 

Local public welfare agencies shall provide public assistance and care 
to migratory seasonal farm workers during the current season in 
accordance with the same standards that apply to persons having 
New York State residence whose need is determined to be short 

All welfare officials interviewed conceded that migrants would be eligible 
to receive benefits if they met the applicable criteria of need. Welfare officials 
also observed that although many migrants could easily qualify, the number 
of migrants actually receiving aid was very small. It is difficult to determine 
the exact number of migrants on the welfare rolls. Welfare office forms do 
not indicate whether a recipient is a migrant. It is also impossible to know 
how many have sought welfare and have been refused assistance. No records 
are kept unless an individual actually fills out an application, and many 
officials reportedly discourage migrants from filing. 

1. The State's Responsibility. Eligible migrants rarely receive welfare 
benefits for several reasons. The procedures used in making welfare available, 
the relationship to the community of the officials who distribute welfare, and 

142. See, e.g., 18 NYCRR § 368.2(c) (aid to the aged, blind, or disabled); id. 
§ 369.2(d) (aid to dependent children). 

143. "[Migrants] ordinarily do not evidence intent to reside in New York State 
and shall therefore not be classified in the federal programs." 18 NYCRR § 310.3(a) 

144. N.Y. Sec. Serv. Law [formerly See. Welfare Law] § 158 (McKinney 1966). 

145. Id. § 157. 

146. 18 NYCRR § 310.3(c) (1962). 



the situation on the camps themselves combine to limit the migrants' access 
to welfare benefits. 

The procedure a needy person must follow in order to receive welfare is 
simple in theory : he presents himself at the local welfare office and prepares 
an application for a cash grant. The welfare office then seeks to verify his 
need. In the case of a migrant, the usual course is to check with the crew 
leader to ascertain the past earnings of the applicant. There is a maximum 
period of 30 days between the date of filing and the actual granting of aid, but 
welfare officials interviewed insisted that if the need is urgent, an immediate 
cash grant is made.^^'^ Section 133 of the Social Services Law authorizes such 
grants during the investigation period, "if it shall appear that a person is in 
immediate need."^^^ 

The procedure for migrants to obtain welfare funds seems simple, and 
yet it does not work. In the first place, the migrants do not know about it. 
New York State conducts a program each year which is designed to inform 
the migrants of their legal rights and responsibilities as part of the labor 
force.^*^ The effectiveness of this program is questionable. Many of the mi- 
grants interviewed knew nothing about the various welfare programs which 
are available to them. Many did not even know where the nearest welfare 
office was located. 

Even if a migrant were aware of the availability of welfare he might not 
be able to get to the welfare office. The closest office may be 20 miles away, 
and many migrants cannot make this trip. Although some own cars, the ma- 
jority do not. Occasionally those with cars are willing to act as chauffeurs 
but the rates they charge one another (often up to $5 for a short trip) make 
this an unsatisfactory way to travel even when available. At a time when a 
migrant needs welfare assistance, five dollars carfare cannot be raised unless 
it is borrowed. 

If a migrant knows about welfare and is able to get to a welfare office, 
there is still a substantial possibility that he will not receive assistance. Many 
more migrants now seek aid than actually receive it. Migrants who have 
visited the local welfare office often speak of having been told to come back 
some other time, or that they did not need aid and could find work if they 
wanted it. Some migrants said that they were given a small amount of money 
and told not to return. 

The migrants' tales of rejection are not the only evidence that local wel- 
fare departments do not deal fairly with them. Officials in the central welfare 
office in Rochester express concern that local welfare officials do not always 
fulfill their obligations under the law. After stating that migrants who meet 
the eligibility requirements ought to be receiving aid, one official acknowl- 
edged that "what happens in actual practice, where you have individuals 

147. Interview with J. Bellamy, Deputy Commissioner of Welfare, in Wayne 
County, N. Y., Sept. 11, 1967. 

148. N.Y. Soc. Serv. Law § 133 (McKinney 1966). 

149. 1966 Report of N.Y. Interdepartmental Comm. on Farm & Food Processinq 
Labor 2 (1967) [hereinafter cited as Intprd^partmental Report]. 



dealing with individuals, isn't so clear. There are certain conservatives who 
discourage people from applying." 

The reason that county welfare officials are reluctant to grant aid is that 
they are appointed by a locally elected county Board of Supervisors. Any 
welfare official who is anxious to remain in his job is not likely to dispense 
welfare funds freely. One county official, who vehemently denies that he dis- 
courages migrants from applying for welfare, admits that any substantial in- 
crease in welfare disbursements would "alarm the county fathers. "^^^ 

New York should take several steps to insure that migrants who are 
eligible for welfare receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Improve- 
ment should be directed at the three principal difficulties in the present sys- 
tem : (1) inadequate education of migrants; (2) inaccessibility of the welfare 
offices; (3) lack of state control over local welfare officials. 

Because the Health Department, not the Welfare Department, regularly 
sends representatives to the camps, considerable improvement can be brought 
about by giving the Health Department a role in administration of the wel- 
fare program. The health inspector on his first visit to the camp after the 
migrants have arrived, and in no circumstances later than two weeks after 
they have arrived, should be required to distribute printed explanations of all 
relevant welfare programs. The text should be printed in both English and 
Spanish. The inspector should be required to hold a meeting at a time con- 
venient for the migrants (probably in the evening), to explain the various 
provisions of the welfare law. 

The health inspector should also be required to bring welfare applications 
to the camps and leave them with either the crew leader or the grower, and 
to give one to any migrant who so requests. He should have additional appli- 
cations with him on all subsequent visits to the camps. 

Applications by mail should be accepted by the Welfare Department. 
There is no reason to require that migrants make a trip to the welfare office 
merely to fill out an application form. To satisfy the requirement that an ap- 
plicant be interviewed to determine the worthiness of his claim, interviews 
can be conducted at the camps by health inspectors and the New York Labor 
Department's local farm representative. Conducting these interviews requires 
no special expertise. Alternatively, the Welfare Department could use a bus 
to bring the migrants to the welfare office for interviews. Although adoption 
of these procedures would still require that the migrants take some affirmative 
action either by filling out and mailing the application forms or by taking the 
time to go to the office, it would prevent ignorance and inability to reach 
the welfare office from making it almost impossible for a migrant to gain public 
assistance. If local control over welfare officials can be reduced, the 
improved procedures outlined above should be even more effective. 

2. The Crew Leader. The fact that the migrants frequently do not 
receive welfare assistance is not entirely the fault of the Welfare Department. 

150. N.Y. Soc. Serv. Law § 116 (McKinney 1966). 


36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 17 


The structure of migrant society as well as the psychological make-up of the 
migrants tend to discourage them from seeking assistance. 

One of the most important reasons that migrants do not apply for assis- 
tance is their relationship to the crew leader. Migrants are often in debt to 
the crew leader, who loans them money for such things as transportation, 
liquor, or clothing. When they work in the fields migrants often pay the crew 
leader's wife to baby-sit for them and they may owe him money for food or 
rent. This economic dependence is one source of the crew leader's control 
over his men. If the migrants can turn to the welfare office instead of the 
crew leader when they need money, their dependence on him will diminish. 
Many crew leaders, therefore, do not encourage their workers to seek welfare 

B. workmen's compensation 

New York workmen's compensation legislation does not cover all mi- 
grants. In 1966 the Legislature enacted a requirement that all farmers with an 
annual payroll of $1,200 or more provide workmen's compensation.^'^^ This 
new law, therefore, does not cover those working on many small farms. While 
some farmers not compelled by this legislation voluntarily participate in the 
compensation program,^^^ agriculture is too hazardous to permit any laborer 
to work without adequate protection. It is ". . , among the most hazardous 
of all industries. In 1964, when agriculture accounted for only seven per cent 
of total employment, 13.2 per cent of all disabling injuries and 22.5 per cent 
of all fatalities from work accidents occurred in agriculture."^^^ Not only is 
agricultural work dangerous, but a disabling injury is likely to have a greater 
economic impact on migrants than on people holding other jobs. Hospital 
and surgical insurance is less frequently carried by farmworkers than by those 
in different occupations. The New York Joint Legislative Committee on Mi- 
grant Labor has recommended that mandatory coverage be extended to all 
farms with an annual payroll of $500.^^^ The Committee's proposal would 
still leave some farms unaffected but would represent an improvement over the 
existing situation. A more desirable alternative is embodied in the bills intro- 
duced in the New York State Legislature in 1967 which completely end the 
exclusion of migrants from coverage. ^^^ 


Agricultural workers are totally excluded from unemployment insur- 
ance. ^^^ Yet, they are frequently forced to remain idle for several weeks when 

151. Report of the N.Y. State Joint Legis. Comm. on Migrant Labor 7 (1966). 

152. N.Y. Workmen's Comp. Law § 3(14) (b) (McKinney Supp. 1967). 

153. Sellers, Farm Accidents and Workmen's Compensation, Farm Labor Develop- 
ments, Oct. 1966, at 33. 

154. Report of the N.Y. State Joint Legis. Comm. on Migrant Labor, supra 
note 151. 

155. S. Intro. 2894, A. Intro. 4220, N.Y. Legis. Reg. & Index (1967) ; S. Intro. 2892, 
A. Intro. 4290, N.Y. Legis. Rec. & Index (1967). 

156. N.Y. Lab. Law § 511(b) (McKinney 1965). 



the farmers have no work for them. At such times they could be aided by 
unemployment insurance. Even if they were not categorically excluded, most 
migrants would not qualify for unemployment payments because of another 
provision in the New York law which makes 20 weeks of employment in the 
state during the previous 52 weeks a precondition for eligibility.^^'^ Few 
migrants would be able to satisfy that condition. There is no justification, 
however, in excluding those few migrants who could qualify. 

Low wages, hazardous working conditions, and long periods of unem- 
ployment place many migrants in a precarious financial position. Yet the laws 
which protect other workers from these dangers, do not give the migrants the 
same protection. The benefits of welfare, workman's compensation, and un- 
employment insurance should be extended to migrants. In most instances 
their need is greater than the need of those now covered. 

V. Education of Migrant Children 


Migrants are among the most educationally deprived groups in the 
country.^^** Nearly one-half of all non-white migrants are functionally illit- 
erate.^^^ With mechanized harvesting steadily diminishing the need for mi- 
grants,^^° few migrant farm children can even rely on growing into the jobs 
their parents now have. Thus only a good education can spare most of them 
from being condemned to a life of poverty and unemployment. 

Because of their itinerant way of life, the education of most migrant 
children is necessarily disjointed. Work on the harvest keeps migrant families 
occupied in upstate New York beyond the start of the fall school term. Some 
families send their children south to live with friends or relatives just before 
the start of the regular school term so that the children can have an uninter- 
rupted year in school. Most of the children of New York's migrants, how- 
ever, regularly start school in the fall in a local New York school system. 
After about two months their parents withdraw them to return to the South. 
It may be more than a month before they re-enroll in a public school. The 
dislocation detracts from learning time and precipitates uneasy adjustments 
to new texts, teachers, and classmates. 

Annual discontinuity in their education, though a large problem, is not 
as great an obstacle to successful education of migrant children as the debili- 
tating environment into which they are born. Despite their initially normal 
intelligence potential, ^^^ migrant children cannot avoid "the intellectually 

157. Id §§ 511(2), 527. 

158. G. Haney, Problems and Trends in Migrant Education, in Education of the 
Disadvantaged 101 (A.H. Passow, M. Goldberg, A. Tannenbaum eds. 1967) ; Inter- 
departmental Report 7. 

159. The exact percentage is 44. Paper presented by Robert B. Hooper, Jr., Dir. of 
Educ, Seasonal Employees in Agriculture, Inc. [S.E.A.], S.E.A. Migrant Conference, 
June 30, 1967, at 3. 

160. See note 6 supra. 

161. G. Haney, supra note 158, at 102; J. Loretan & S. Umans, Teaching the 
Disadvantaged S (1966). 



damaging consequences of deprived environments."^®^ For these children, 
circumstances in their homes seriously retard their mental development in 
many ways. Frequently no one patiently answers a migrant child's questions ; 
he does not have toys, books, and scribbling paper ; his father may seldom be 
with the family; and no one in the family gives him basic instruction about 
sounds, shapes, and colors. ^^^ The consequence cf all this is that not being 
given "a substantial portion of the variety of stimuli which he is maturation- 
ally capable of responding to, [he] is likely to be deficient in the equipment 
required for learning."^®* Even before the migrant child is old enough to 
enter kindergarten, therefore, he already exhibits intellectual retardation.^®^ 
It is probable that the retardation will be permanently disabling. 

There is much support for the proposition that "as much development 
takes place in the first four years of life as in the next thirteen [and that] any 
years lost in a poor environment are almost irretrievable,"^*® Under such con- 
ditions, effective migrant education depends on reaching the child before all 
of these first four "irretrievable" years are lost.^®'^ A migrant education pro- 
gram which neglects the normally pre-school years resigns itself to starting 
with five-year-old students who already bear ineradicable intellectual deficien- 
cies. Not only does the retardation complicate a school's task, but in most 
cases the school's inability to meet the special problems of these children con- 
tributes to their further retardation.^®^ 

Thus there is a great need for effective pre-school migrant education. 
Already the New York Board of Regents has proposed to offer all the State's 
children regular term public education beginning at age four by 1970 and 
beginning at age three by 1978.^®^ 


New York's Department of Education is aware of the special problems 
of migrant children. Its Handbook jar the Education of Migrant Children^"^^ 
discusses fully the environmental disability hampering these young students. 
To combat this recognized handicap, the Education Department has devel- 
oped Migrant Summer Schools for children five years of age and older. By 
stressing a plan which starts after retardation has set in, the State's migrant 
education curriculum not only misses the opportunity for preventing the dis- 
ability from occurring but may be joining the fight after the crucial battle has 
been lost. 

162. T. Pettigrew, Negro American Intelligence: A New Look at an Old Contro- 
versy, in The Disadvantaged Child 101 (J. Frost & G. Hawkes eds. 1966). 

163. M. Deutsch, The Disadvantaged Child and the Learning Process, in Educa- 
tion IN Depressed Areas 167-68 (A.H. Passow ed. 1963). 

164. Id. at 168. 

165. See J. Loretan & S. Umans, supra note 161, at 8-9. 

166. Id. at 19. 

167. Id.; see M. Goldberg, Factors Affecting Educational Attainment in Depressed 
Urban Areas, in Education in Depressed Areas 92 (A.H. Passow ed. 1963). 

168. G. Haney, supra note 158. at 102. 

169. N.Y. Times, Dec. 22, 1967, at 20, col. 1. 

170. N.Y. Dep't of Educ, Handbook for the Education of Migrant Children in N.Y. 
State (l%6-67) (mimeo). 



Experience demonstrates that it is easier to identify a need for pre-school 
education than it is to implement a successful pre-school program. The fed- 
erally sponsored Head Start schemes for ghetto-mired four-year-olds have 
frequently suffered from not applying the best available methods and conse- 
quently have not been universally successful.^'^^ These early efforts have in- 
dicated that designing an effective pre-school program requires special 
know^ledge and coordination that go beyond the requirements of a normal 
education system. With proper groundwork, though, pre-school education has 
been successful in preventing culturally induced retardation. ^'^^ 

New York does not have to start from scratch in building a pre-school 
program for migrant children. It already has some of the elements of such a 
curriculum in the Migrant Child-Care Program operated by the Department 
of Agriculture and Markets. Recently much expanded through federal assis- 
tance, the Program involves 1,800 children eight weeks to 13 years old who 
are brought daily during the summer and fall to 29 local centers. ^^^ There, 
much as at a good nursery school, they are exposed to games, arts and crafts, 
and other activities. ^'^^ 

In operating the Child-Care Program, the Department of Agriculture and 
Markets works with an awareness of the disabling effects which the migrant 
household environment has on children. The Department specifically tries to 
mold the Program into a curriculum which would counteract the effects of 
an adverse cultural background.^'^^ Nevertheless, the success of the Child- 
Care Program as an effective pre-school plan is severely hampered by the 
paucity of the training given to the people who must staff the centers. Only 
part of a one-week training conference is devoted to problems of pre-school 
mental development. ^'^^ The women in charge of the 29 centers need much 
more preparation than this to deal with the delicate, complex problem of 
cultural deprivation. 

Because of the vigorous leadership which now guides the Migrant Child- 
Care Program, there is reason to believe that a better pre-school plan can be 
developed within the present framework. Nevertheless, the Department of 
Agriculture and Markets should seek greater assistance from the New York 
Education Department. The Department of Education has a stronger back- 
ground in areas which should enable it to design a sophisticated pre-school 
curriculum and train pre-school staffers effectively. This expertise of the 
Education Department can be expected to increase as it prepares to imple- 
ment the recent Regents plan for State-wide pre-schooling.^'^'^ 

In further restructuring the Child-Care Program, much greater inter- 

171. Interview with Professor Helen F. Robison of Teachers College, Columbia 
University, in New York City, Dec. 14, 1967. 

172. Id.; see N.Y. Times, Jan. 14, 1968, § 4 (Week in Review), at 13, col. 2. 

173. Interdepartmental Report, supra note 149, at 2. 

174. Id. at 4. The older children were involved in more sophisticated activities. 

175. Id. at 3. 

176. Id. at 2, 5. 

177. See note 169 supra. 



action with the migrant parents must be achieved. The dominant influence on 
the child's intellectual development is his parents, and a successful scheme to 
prevent pre-school retardation must include them."^ The Program should 
therefore enlist the parents' cooperation and instruct them both on the impor- 
tance of devoting greater attention to their young children and on creating a 
more stimulating home environment. 

The effectiveness of any programs New York develops for pre-school 
education of migrants will be reinforced or diluted by the existence and 
quality of similar programs in other states in the Atlantic migrant stream. 
However, the possible failure by other states to provide migrants with reason- 
able opportunities for education should not excuse a similar failure by New 


New York's Education Department has established an ambitious and 
successful Migrant Summer School program. Operated for six weeks each 
year, the Migrant Summer School offers 1,600 children between the ages of 
five and 13 remedial training in reading and arithmetic, in addition to its 
efforts to provide "cultural enrichment. "^'^^ The program is financed mostly 
with federal money^^** and administered primarly through Albany. Teachers 
find that the children respond favorably and are stimulated by the program. 
Tests show that many of the children make gains in academic skills.^^^ 

Although the Migrant Summer Schools are well staffed and adminis- 
tered, there are two ways in which they should be strengthened. Preferably 
the duration of the program should be extended beyond six weeks, or alter- 
natively, the timing of the program should be chosen to coincide with the peak 
of migrant presence in a particular school district. 

Once the regular term begins, soon after Labor Day, practically all 
school-age migrant children enroll in the regular sessions at local public 
schools and are placed in classes along with permanent residents. School buses 
pick them up at the labor camps. 

With their unique needs migrant children should be receiving special 
attention. The local schools, however, provide few special programs for the 
migrants. Better programs for migrant education during the regular term 
should provide remedial assistance and cultural enrichment. The schools 

178. Interview with Prof. Robison, supra note 171 ; A. H. Passow, supra note 167, 
at 2Z7. 

179. Interview with Pat Hogan, Ass't Director, Migrant Education Division, N.Y. 
Dep't of Educ, in Rochester, N.Y., Sept. 12, 1967. 

180. 20 U.S.C. § 241(b) (Supp. I, 1965) ; Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, tit. 
Ill, § 311, 42 U.S.C. § 2861 (1964). In 1%6 New York received through these acts 
$388,266 for migrant education programs. N.Y. State Dep't of Educ, Someone Cares, 
Report of the 1966 Summer School Program 1 (1966). 

181. For example, the Sodus Central Schools found an average gain of 4.1 months 
in reading ability over the month and a half of summer school and a gain of 2.4 months 
in arithmetic. But not all the children were reached by the teachers' efforts; about one- 
quarter made no advance in reading, and one-half did not gain in mathematics. Interview 
with Arland White, Ass't Supervisor of Curriculum, Sodus School System, in Sodus, 
N.Y., Sept. 11, 1967. 




should seek special training for teachers to improve their ability to work with 
culturally disadvantaged children. Such training programs exist for teachers 
in the Migrant Summer Schools.^^^ The program should be extended to 
regular-term instructors. The migrant children should be provided with break- 
fast and lunch when it is apparent that poor nutrition is impairing their 

New York State should encourage this special attention for migrants 
during the regular term by contributing more per pupil state aid for migrants 
than is contributed normally for daily attendance. Pennsylvania and Colorado 
currently make such additional payments to school districts for regular-term 
migrant education. ^^^ 

New York should also take the initiative in developing interstate coop- 
eration in migrant education. Migrant children frequently transfer to differ- 
ent schools as their parents move from state to state. At present interstate 
cooperation is limited to the exchange among schools of the one page "Trans- 
fer Record for Migratory Children," and some schools do not extend even 
this much cooperation. The Transfer Record states the results of standardized 
tests and reports the child's progress in various textbooks. Aside from these 
unilateral communications, New York makes no other attempt to foster inter- 
state cooperation in solving the problems of migrant education. By contrast, 
the states which draw labor from the mid-west migrant stream met during 
November 1967, in Texas, the base state of that stream, to discuss their mu- 
tual educational task.^^^ 

Finally, the states in the Atlantic migrant stream should make use of the 
Agricultural Worker Schedules compiled largely at the Florida Pooled Inter- 
views by the U.S. Department of Labor. Using these Schedules, it is possible 
to predict where a large part of the migrant labor force will be residing at a 
given time and when it will move. With this information, "receiving" school 
systems could contact "sending" schools ahead of time to develop plans to 
minimize the educational loss in student relocation. Ideally the schools could 
cooperate to develop remedial curricula and pre-school plans so that special 
efforts in one state could be reinforced by similar efforts in other states. 

Education is one of the most important personal services which states 
provide. If a state performs that service well it may avoid having to provide 
many welfare services later. If the degradation and insecurity of today's adult 
migrants are to be prevented in the next generation, education must begin to 
play a more active, creative role. 


A. migrants: exploited and unprotected 

The 17,000 migrants who labor in New York State are victims of sys- 
tematic exploitation. Migrants are drawn North without any written assur- 

182. Id. During 1967 the training was given at Brockport and Genesco, N.Y. 

183. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 123-29-5 (Supp. 1965) ; Pa. Stat. Ann. tit. 24, 
§ 25-2502.2 (1962). 

184. Interview with Prof. Robison, supra note 171. 



ance as to level of wages or continuity of employment. They have no bargaining 
power, and their crew leaders have no interest in bargaining on their behalf. 
As a result, the average migrant family subsists on about $3,300 a year. Pay- 
ments made to the crew leader often substantially reduce this amount. 

The migrants' weakness in defending their economic and welfare interests 
is compounded by inadequate legal protection. They are excluded from federal 
and State guarantees of the right to bargain collectively. They are excluded 
in practice from their proper welfare benefits by local officials. An inadequate, 
poorly enforced Sanitary Code allows growers to house migrants in cramped 
quarters without nearby kitchen or sanitary facilities. The State minimum 
hourly wage law still excludes migrants, and the federal minimum hourly 
wage law fails to protect migrants, whose low income is primarily the result 
of poor work scheduling rather than low hourly wage rates. 


1. Improved Enjor cement. New York should take vigorous action to 
encourage compliance with existing migrant-labor laws and regulations. The 
Health Department should operate in the migrant camps on a year-round 
basis. The Welfare Department should make available to the migrants com- 
plete information about welfare programs and facilitate access to welfare 
offices. Both the United States and New York Departments of Labor should 
demand compliance with the requirements that wage data be posted in all 

To protect the migrants against fraudulent representations by crew 
leaders, the United States Secretary of Labor should actively enforce the 
Federal Act requiring pre-recruitment wage disclosures. Federal regulations 
should be promulgated ensuring that crew leaders' promises be made in writ- 
ing. Such communications should set forth the probable periods of employ- 
ment and amount of wages which a first-year worker could expect to earn. 
Federal regulations should also require growers in one state to send complete 
job information to potential recruits in another state. 

2. Better Coordination. Too frequently the activities of the various state 
agencies dealing with migrants are not coordinated with each other. The State 
does provide a common forum for these agencies known as the Interdepart- 
mental Committee on Farm and Food Processing Labor.^^^ This Committee, 
however, does not take an active role in establishing cooperative, interdepart- 
mental programs. It serves merely as a vehicle through which the constituent 
agencies report to each other on their own programs. Effective cooperation 
could bring substantial benefits through (a) the use of health inspectors and 
local Department of Labor farm employment representatives to distribute in- 
formation about welfare programs and to conduct "need interviews" at labor 

185. The Interdepartmental Committee is composed of the N.Y. State Departments 
of Health, Labor, Education, Social Services, Agriculture and Markets, Police, and Motor 
Vehicles ; the Joint Legislative Committee on Migrant Labor and the Extension Service 
of the N.Y. State College of Agriculture are also members. See Foreword, Interdepart- 
mental Report, supra note 158. 



camps; (b) the bringing of the Education Department's expertise into the 
Department of Agriculture and Markets' Child-Care Program to help create 
an effective pre-school curriculum for the culturally disadvantaged migrant 
children; and (c) more communication between the Department of Labor 
and the Education Department so that local schools can learn which southern 
school systems are likely to send children to New York in the spring and 
receive children from New York in the fall. 

Finally, both interdepartmental coordination and operations of individual 
agencies could be substantially improved if officials who insist that migrants 
are being treated adequately were replaced. Such action, in view of both the 
great political strength of the growers and the migrants' lack of influence 
would demand considerable courage on the part of those with the authority 
to make appointments. 


Improvements can and must be made in existing provisions pertaining 
to migrant wages, crew-leader abuses, housing, and sanitation. The effect of 
these changes need not cause a sharp increase in labor costs. 

A pay system which guarantees minimum earnings during each week and 
each four-week period would not substantially alter labor costs. It would en- 
courage growers to use migrants during harvest lulls for non-harvesting jobs. 
In addition, growers can cooperate so that migrants can be shared among 
them. By encouraging efficient use of labor, a new wage-guarantee system 
could give the migrants more income without increasing their hourly rate of 

The New York Sanitary Code should be amended to increase the mini- 
mum-footage requirements for migrant housing. In addition, new require- 
ments should be added to provide for family facilities. Only existing housing 
which is less than five years old should temporarily escape these more rigorous 
standards. This delay will lessen the immediate economic effects of the pro- 
posals and allow growers a reasonable period to comply with them. Conver- 
sion of existing buildings to meet the new requirements will frequently be 
possible and will cost substantially less than new construction. 

Changes should also be made in the Sanitary Code provisions for cooking 
facilities and toilets. For example, flush toilets should be mandatory and 
toilets and washing facilities should be required in the fields where the mi- 
grants work. Federal and State collective bargaining laws which exclude 
migrants from their coverage should be amended. Given this protection, mi- 
grants could more easily form unions. Unionization might bring about im- 
provements in wages and working conditions. 


Advancing mechanization steadily reduces New York State's need for 
migrant farm laborers. In ten to 20 years the need for migrants may disappear 
completely. This possibility makes it imperative that even more attention be 



paid to the immediate educational needs of migrant children. Unless they are 
able to find work in other areas of the economy when harvesting jobs become 
unavailable, the children of today's migrants may become unemployable pub- 
lic charges. Only improved educational programs can prepare migrant chil- 
dren for jobs in other fields. New York State has taken important steps to 
improve migrant education, but its pre-school programs for migrant children 
should be expanded. 

It does not matter that advancing mechanization may erase the need for 
migrants in ten or 20 years. The current needs of migrants must be met now. 
Like other citizens, today's migrant deserves a decent place to live, fair work- 
ing conditions, and reasonable wages. 





Camden Regional Legal Services, Inc. Number 3 

Farm V/orker Division August and 

'September, 1969 

This report covers the most active months in the brief 
life of the Farm Worker Division. As a result of many relation- 
ships established during our infancy, we have confronted a signi- 
ficant increase of individual matters. August and September 
also represented, of course, the peak nximber of seasonal farm 
workers present in the three-county area this year. The following 
capsule sketches provide an idea of the nature and variety of 
cases and situations considered by Farm Worker Division staff 
during this period. 

1. Criminal . 

A. We visited a l6 year-old boy in Salem County Jail. 
He had received two tickets, one for driving without a license, 
the other for careless driving, after an accident causing no 
serious injury to other parties. He was held as a juvenile and 
the case assigned to a county probation officer. Although in jail 
for more than two weeks, he had not been visited by his probation 
officer; no one had made any attempt to secure his release. 

Conversations with probation staff convinced us he would 
receive no immediate attention. Having pre-arranged for the possi- 
bility of securing his release in custody of the Father Fitzgerald 
Memorial Migrant Center in Vineland, we brought the matter to the 
attention of the visiting presiding judge. The judge, apparently 


briefed by the probation office, had been under the impression 
that the juvenile was an adult. Apprised of his true age and 
the complete circumstances surrounding the case, the judge re- 
leased him in custody of the Migrant Center. At his trial six 
weeks later this farm vjorker was fined $15 and his case terminated. 

B. The question of trespass was raised in another case. 
A Puerto Rican farm worker under contract with the Glassboro Ser- 
vice Association (GSA) had left one farm in the Swedesboro area 
after disagreements over behavior with other men living there. 
He believed their rowdy conduct interfered with his ability to 
earn a maximum amount of wages. He returned to the GSA Gamp and 
was immediately reassigned. A week later he returned to the first 
farm to co'llect his final week's wages, maintaining that his sick 
wife had v/ritten for additional money. He entered the crew leader's 
cabin and requested his assistance; the crew leader returned from 
a conversation with the farmer accompanied by the farmer and a 
policeman who arrested him for criminal trespass. 

In municipal court, the farmer testified that this farm 
worker was a troublemaker, that the farmer had fired him because 
he had caused other workers not to work one day. He stated that 
he called a representative of the GSA Camp to instruct the man to 
leave and never return. He further testified that when he spotted 
this vrorker on his property the following week, he called the 
police and without further warning had him arrested for tres- 
passing. The worker contradicted the farmer's testimony and main- 
tained he never sav/ the representative from GSA. He also testified 
another man had cajoled his fellow v/orkers into indolence on the 
day in question. 

Interestingly, after 30-45 minutes of testimony and over 
strenuous defense objection, the magistrate on his own motion 


continued the case until the following week to allow the State to 
produce the representative from GSA. At the second hearing, this 
representative corroborated the farmer* s testimony in all parti- 

The court found the defendant guilty of trespass and 
fined him $15 together with $10 costs. The court reasoned: 

(1) That the joint testimony of farmer and GSA 
I representative outweighed that of the farm 


(2) That proper statutory notice against tres- 
pass was given, rejecting a defense argu- 
ment that notice in general did not satisfy 
a requirement of notice under the cir- 
ciimstances since it was not clear he could 
not return even to collect wages lawfully 
due ; and 

(3) That any rights deriving under his con- 
tract with GSA were enforceable in a 
court of law and not on the premises 

of the farmer (we argued the defendant, 
a contract worker whose contract had not 
yet terminated since that required prior 
written notice to the central office of 
the Department of Labor of Puerto Rico 
and full payment of wages due, was yet 
in a contractual relationship with the 
farmer and entitled to enter the latter' s 
premises to' enforce his contractual 
rights; that' he had only gone to the. 
crew leader's cabin, his immediate 
superior at that farm, for the purpose 
of seeking assistance in enforcing 
these rights) . 

This farm worker declined to exercise his right to appeal. 

C. In another fascinating case, we represented a Puerto 
Rican farm worker accused of drunk and disorderly conduct, malicious 
damage to property, and offensive language (the latter two being 


brought to his attention on the evening of the hearing) . Unable 
to post $200 bail, he spent two weeks in Gloucester County Jail. 
The case was noteworthy in two interesting respects: 1) The farmer 
felt moved to retain an attorney to prosecute the case, certainly 
an unusual circumstance, and 2) waving an economic club, the 
farmer came armed with a check for all monies owing the defendant, 
minus deductions for alleged property damages, in exchange for 
the farmer' s agreement to drop all charges. Summarizing an extreme- 
ly complicated set of circumstances, we advised the worker of his 
opportunity to settle. Given the inequities of a situation typi- 
cal in the experiences of seasonal farm workers, we terminated a 
lengthy stretch of negotiation with both sides reaching a finan- 
cial accord and charges were dropped. 

As a result of information obtained during this case, we 
requested that' the Gloucester County representative 6f the Wage 
and Hour Bureau investigate this farmer for unlawfully with- 
holding wages from_ farm workers. Subsequent feedback from the 
investigator validated bur assximption; he also noted that after 
extended discussion the farmer agreed to adjust his pay practices 
to State requirements. 

D. Still another case illustrates the incredibly infonnal 
procedures found in the administration of criminal justice as 
applied to seasonal farm workers. A material witness, the victim, 
languished three weeks in Cumberland County Jail under $2,000 
bail, while the defendant (a permanent employee of the farmer) 
was released on $2,000 bail provided by the farmer. The Prose- ■ 
cutor' s Office^indicated the county judge was personally interested 
in resolving this sitiiation; a discussion with the judge confirmed 
this. The judge brought the two men before him and -charged jthem__; 
both with disorderly conduct (the case originally involved one 
charge of atrocious assault and battery, an indictable offense) ; 



he found the original defendant guilty but released him in the 
farmer' s custody and discharged the witness after a mild tongue 

Our investigation revealed that the farmer had spoken 
with the county detective and county judge and informed them he 
needed both men working immediately; that since no one had been 
seriously injured (the material witness suffered a gunshot wound) , 
the mattier should be summarily and quietly terminated. In the 
three-county area a dispute among farm workers themselves, not 
resulting in injury to members of the community, is not iintypi- 
cally resolved outside of traditional channels of justice. The 
case is, of course, indicative of the informal procedures vmich 
our attorneys must adjust to from time to time. ^ .._, 

E. A number of cases pending continue to illustrate 
the urgent need for a bail project (discussed in a subsequent 
section) . A Puerto Rican farm v/orker awaiting trial for atro- 
cious assault and battery has spent over five months in Salem 
County Jail for lack of $500 bail. Investigation clearly indi- 
cated the man was innocent and acted in self defense. Although 
a public defender was assigned early in the chronology of this 
matter, the farm vrarker had no knowledge of this fact, raising 

a serious question concerning legal efforts in his behalf. This 
man's crev; leader had also been charged in connection with this 
incident; thus there has been a distinct fear by other workers 
at the farm to say anything implicating the drew leader. The 
enormous power of crew leaders allows them considerable oppor- 
tiinity to bring pressure against workers vdthin their sphere of 

F. Even more startling is the situation of ■ a Puerto 
Rican farm worker who spent two months in Camden County Jail before 


receiving a preliminary hearing on larceny of auto charges. V/e 
eventually represented this young man at a municipal court hearing 
on four motor vehicle charges arising out of the same incident. 
The Public Defender's Office, representing hira on two indictable 
offenses in separate counties, has not yet responded to continual 
prodding on this man's behalf. We are presently investigating 
the possibility of sueing both local police and county officials 
in Atlantic and Camden Counties. 

G. Similar examples abound. We represented in municipal 
court an 18 year-old Puerto Rican farm worker who had spent three 
weeks in Gloucester County Jail without formal charges ever having 
been lodged against him. He had been arrested on complaint of 
his crew leader for an alleged theft of $57. He v;as deposited in 
jail, under $150 bail which he was incapable of raising, and held 
for a hearing three weeks hence. Neither the crew leader who 
originally called the police nor the arresting officer ever signed 
a formal complaint against him. For lack of prosecution the magi- 
strate dismissed the charge that was never made. We are currently 
researching the possibility of a civil suit based on these facts. 

H. And there are more. In the Swede sboro area murder 
case referred to in the last report, v/e continued providing infor- 
mation to the Public Defender's Office. Another case involved 
three men in Cumberland County Jail for over theee months on an 
extremely questionable charge of possession of a concealed deadly 
weapon In Bridgeton. Note that in this case each man was unable 
to meet even $100 bail. In fact, the bail system is being used 
as a means of punishment when applied to the great percentage of 
seasonal farm workers. In yet another case, a man spent three 
and a half days in jail charged with an offense, failure to pay a 
taxicab fare, which carried with it a maximum of $25 fine. Again, 


we supplied an interpreter for a farm v;orker ;vho had spent tv.'o 
v;eeks in jail for allegedly stealing a small amount of money from 
fellov; workers. The man was found guilty and credited with ti"e 

2. Motor Vehicles . 

A. Although generally the Division does not represent 
farm workers accused of motor vehicle violations, we have infor- 
mally provided advice and on occasion supplied interpreters in 
certain of these matters. We represented one Puerto Rican man 
in a motor vehicle situation illustrative of a pattern, esta- 
blished in the foregoing section, facing farm viorkers picked up 
by police in the three-county area. The man having been involved 
in a one-car accident in the early A.M. , was arrested the following 
morning and placed in Gloucester County Jail under $1,000 bail. 
He was charged vath driving v^ithout a license, driving without 
a registration, leaving the scene of an accident, careless driving, 
resisting arrest, and possession of a stolen car. 

\'Ie learned of this situation from two different agencies 
contacted by the man' s family and met with him the evening of 
the hearing. According to the farm worker, he left his cabin 
late one evening to purchase medicine for his sick child and while 
returning home lost his way. He soon became drowsy, cracked into 
a tree but managed to return home by foot. He was av/akened the 
next morning by troopers bursting into his room; they arrested 
him and removed him to the county jail. He stated he had indeed 
purchased the car and that his farmer advised him the registra- 
tion appeared faulty. In fact, the fanner had told him the car 
was probably stolen and that he should not use it. The man fol- 
lowed this advice and did not use the car until the night in 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 18 


question some eight days later; he believed that under the 
emergency circumstances, he should use it. He was not informed 
of right to counsel during the tvra weeks he remained in jail. 
V/e managed to have the last three charges dismissed 
since the arresting officer had not previously lodged them • 
against him, but were in fact attempting to fill them out in 
court. The farm worker v/as found not guilty of leaving the 
scene and fined $10 apiece for having no license and no regis- 
tration, together costs, more than covered by time spent 
in jail. ' 

B. The Division is presently representing a Puerto 
Rican farm worker charged with three motor vehicle violations. 
V/e continued our involvement after an investigation pointed to 
discrimination by the arresting police officer. The investiga- 
tion clearly indicated fault lie with the other party. 

3. Crew leaders . 

•A. Registration. The Division, working with the 
Salem County representative of the V/age and Hour Bureau, provided 
information leading to an investigation by the Bureau of Migrant 
Labor into activities of an infamous crew leader in Salem County. 
This crew leader was prosecuted under state law for being unreg- 
istered and fined $100. 

B. Illegal Sale of Alcoholic Beverages. In a case des- 
cribed in Report No. 2 we assisted a farm worker attempting to 
prosecute a crew leader, a notorious price gouger, for illegal 
sale of alcoholic beverages, an indictable offense. Recent devel- 
opments suggest the route taken was not the most effective. 
The Prosecutor' s Office was not interested in activities occuring 
among farm v/orkers themselves. It recommended the matter be 


returned to the municipal court, from v/hence it came and it v.'as 
so done. Unfortunately at this late date the prime v;itness could 
no longer remain in Nev; Jersey. In the future it v;ould appear 
the most effective route v:ould be a disorderly charge against 
this type of crev: leader. The arrest and subsequent publicity, 
putting the particular crev; leader on notice his activities vrere 
subject to surveillance, might serve as a minimum protection 
for the vrarkers . 

4. Civil Rights Violation: Public Accomodations . 

In a situation noted in the previous report, involving 
an investigation into discriminatory practices of two barber shops 
in Swedesboro, we supervised the following investigation: we 
sent a v;hite person into the two shops; in one he received a hair 
cut, in the other an appointment for one. A Puerto Rican then 
entered the same barber shops; in the first he v;as denied a hair 
cut, in the second denied an appointment for one. We referred 
this information to the Division of Civil Rights, Department of 
Lav; and Public Safety, of the State of Nev; Jersey. Acting on 
this information, they prepared and served affidavits and com- 
plaints against the two barber shops. 

The Civil Rights Division later informed us the com- 
plaint against the appointments only shop had been dropped for 
no probable cause, that the affidavit v;as not sufficient on its 
face. Regarding the other, based on a preliminary investigation 
that probable cause existed, its ov.Tier v;as brought in for a concil- 
iation, conference. V/e are presently av;aiting the results of 
this conference. 

5. VJages . 

The Division referred tv.'o wage com.plaints to the Depart- 
ment of Labor office of the Commonv.'ealth of Puerto Rico in Camden 


v/hich satisfactorily disposed of them. In another situation in 
v:hich v;e conducted an investigation, v;e v/ere unable to prove 
a violation. The particular case centered on the system utilized 
by nost faniis for checking each worker's production. This 
system -of numbered tickets (each worker receives one number and 
places tickets viith that number in each bas'ret he fills) is, 
of course, subject to inequities and outright cheating. Farmers 
claim that an alternative method, actually counting each indi- 
vidual's baskets immediately after they are filled, is impossible 
except on very small farms. 

6. Labor Camps . 

A. Status of the Farm Worker at the Camp. In an emer- 
gency situation, illuminating for its reflection of the typical 
farmer's attitude toward farm labor in this area, we obtained an 
additional v/eek' s stay for a .family of workers summarily evicted 
from their camp that morning. The farmer had feuded v.ath one of 
them concerning who wanted to work v.'hen and under whose direction. 
A fair enough problem. 

The farmer, during negotiations, wanted to establish one 
essential point: he never v;anted to fire all of these workers 
but, although one was the troublemaker, they had acted in conceri: 


by following his example and therefore all had to leave together. 
He emphasized he v:as most disturbed because he had always been 
capable of looking after his people, his workers, without theni^ 
searching in Bridgeton i'or some lav.fyer or anyone else to help 

B. Housing Problems. In at least four situations the 
Division has assisted seasonal farm workers attempting to leave 
the migr: '^ stream and settle in various comm^onities in this 


area. VJe have, of course, been increasingly so occupied as the 
farr.) season terminates. In two of these instances vie are assisting 
families in negotiations vrith real estate agents concerning the 
purchase of homes. 

7. District Court Action . 

In another case, v;e have instituted suit in Cumberland 
County District Court against a local car v:ashing establishment 
for slitting the seats of a farm vrarlcer' s car. Although the 
proprietor admitted liability to the worker, he refused to give 
him satisfaction of any compensation whatsoever. The farm worker 
has sued as a matter of principle, incensed at the taafair treat- 
ment afforded him by the ovmer of this establishment. 

B. Administrative Discrimination . 

VJe are currently involved in a shocking case of abuse of 
administrative responsibility on the part of the Salem County 
Migrant Health' Program. An extremely long and complicated series 
of events has left this case very much alive at the present tim.e. 
The matter concerns lack of treatment afforded two seasonal farm 
vrarkers over a three to four month period. VJe anticipate a 
further and fuller report in the near future. 

9. VJorkmen' s Compensation . 

The Division continued its practice of referring vjorkmen' s 
compensation cases (two during this period) to the Coramonvjealth 
Office in Cam.den, for their referral to a lax-r/er handling these 
cases for them, under the contract. 

10. iliscellaneous. 

In various other situations, the Division assisted a 
farm v.'orker untan^-ie m.edical Droblem.s left over from the state of 


Florida; assisted another to recover $100 taken from him 
false pretenses; is assisting a nan obtain Veterans Disability 
payments from the Veterans Administrauion Office in Philadelphia; 
and is assisting a woman obtain notice of divorce in order to 
allov.' her to remarry and change her childrens' names to that of 
her nev: husband. 


There have been two persorinel changes during this period. 
Ralph Gonzales, our investigator, returned to college in late 
August. V/e then arranged the Farm V.^orker Division of SCOPE, 
the local comr.ranity action agency with vxhich this Division coor- 
dinates, to utilize the services of one of its field workers, 
i'.'ilson Rodriguez, to the extent necessary. On October 3> his 
emploirment terminates there and on October 6 he joins this staff 
as a full-time investigator. 

One of the Rutgers law students, Doug Langen, partici- 
pating in the Clinic in Law Program of Camden Regional Legal 
Services, Inc., joined the staff in September and will devote 
ten hours a v/eek to the activities of this Division. He will 
spend one day a vreek in Bridgeton, and will engage in research 
assignments at the lav/ school. Doug is a second-year lav; student 
and has previously served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia. 


During the past tvra months the Division has become 
increasingly more active, hopefully more sophisticated, in pursuit 
of field investigations. From originally distributing pamphlets 
and explaining the services of our office, we have uncovered a 


v;ide variety of legal violations and of discriminatory treatment 
by farmers, crew leaders and public agencies. V/e have v/orked 
more closely with certain other agencies, notably the V/age and 
riour Bureau, and on occasion have conducted investigations 
jointly with its personnel. _ 

By , we had become v;ell knov.Ti enough that, 
investigations usually followed requests from farm v;orkers them- 
selves or from the various social agencies. Indeed, in-cerested 
crew leaders quite knowledgeable of abuses on neighboring farms 
also made contact. A number of important individual cases v:ith 
v;hich v:e have been involved are a direct result of field investi- 

Often an investigation in response to a comiplaint in- 
volves nothing more than mistrust and misunderstanding, Farmers, 
often evading responsibility to their workers through use of crew 
leaders, typically have poor habits of comm.unication. Although 
m.any farmers do com.ply at least minimally with the letter of the 
lav; on matters such as wages and camp conditions, inevitably 
they exiiibit the sam.e patronizing attitude of local authorities 
and members of the community-at-large. For example, in one 
situation uncovered in a field investigation a farm vrorker had 
been injured by the farmer himself in a job-related accident. 
The farmer took the man to his doctor who treated him and for- 
warded a report to the farmer's workman's compensation carrier. 
The carrier v:as to start sending payments to the upon arrival • 
in Florida. Unfortunately, the farmer had not adequately explained 
this arrangement to the now distrustful worker, lie suggested 
the v.'orker contact a doctor in Florida and obtain an independent 
estimate of his injury. 


To date, v;e have not confronted a situation necessi- 
tating a lawsuit directed against the trespass lav:s of New Jersey. 
Although there have been a number of confrontations v;ith farmers, 
these have been satisfactorily resolved in one mariner or another. 
VJe have heard," of course, many runors that farmers in this area 
are quite upset by the nature of our activities and aggressive 
explorations. In any event, the Division has collected a fair 
anvount of experience regarding field investigations as well as 
numerous materials regarding the nature of the trespass suit. 
V.'e '.\all tolerate no effort to restrict our rights as attorneys^ 
and the rights of farm vrorkers as hximan beings, to consult with 
and advise our clients in the privacy of their homes. 


\Ie continued distributing a pamphlet entitled "Farm 
v/orker Rights" (in both English and Spanish) at the various 
labor camps visited. V/e also distributed these pamphlets and 
other materials introducing the Division at various mee\^ings 
and i-iigrant Health Clinics. There we explained the function of 
our office and the services it could provide. At a migrant adult 
education class, v;e addressed a group of thirty workers on pro- 
blems of discrimination in their area. V/e discussed possibilities 
of group action and introduced the idea of consumer co-operatives 
and their possible benefits for seasonal farm workers. 

The crew leader of one farm near Sv;edesboro held a 
meeting, the first of tv;o in this camp, in v:hich we met with 
representatives from the SCOPS Farm V/orker Division, the Comraon- 
v/ealth of Puerto Rico office in Camden, workers from a niimber of 
farms in the area, and others from Swedesboro itself. In addi- 
tion to ex;:osing more workers to the existence of t'.is office, 
the meeting allowed the crevj leader and others to speak on a 
n'omber of subjects important to the farm worker population. 


They discussed the problem ox free access to farm labor \;orkers related numerous instances in which farrdly manoers 
and friends were r.oz allowed to enter a camp or v.-ere throv/n off 
insiediatelj'' upon discovery by the far-r^er. This discussion v«"as 
particularly in-oeresting and marked the first instance in which 
we witnessed farm v;orkers themselves express resen'oment againsu 
the trespass lav:. 

. The men also discussed the faco that many farmers were 
firing and throv/ing vjorkers off camps toward t;he end of the summer 
v.dthout paying a final week's v;agBS or bonus money (money pro- 
mised che worker if he remains until the season terminates, cal- 
culated, for example, at 2^ a basket for,oes) . They analyzed 
v.'orking conditions, such as rest and refreshment breaks during the 
v:ork day, and suggested possibilities for alleviating present 

The final major area discussed v;as police conduct. A 
number of men related past horror stories involving police and 
farmi v;orkers. IVe advised them of opportuni-iiies for assistance 
through use of Legal Services when confronting problems v;ith local 
police and the court structure. 

'.•'e invited representatives of the United Farm VJorkers 
Organizing Committee in Philadelphia to another m.eeting at ^his 
farm. A representative from x.he AFL-CIO presently organizing farmi 
v/orkers in Ne\^r Yoi^k also attended. They shov/ed a r.ovie explaining 
the origin and history of the grape strike and boycott, and dis- 
cussed possibilities for action by farm v.'orkers on their ov-ti behali 
in this area, an entirely novel concep-c. 


The Farm V/orker Division has established a practice of 
offering comDrehensive assistance to farm. v;orkers v/ith legal 


problems, oT introducing the client to other available services 
in the coinmunitj". Also, as a result of increased experience in 
■one field, a grovjing nur.iber of agencies ax-.d individuals have 
contacted the Division for extra-legal assistance. Xot unexpect- 
edly, in most instances the problera v:as of an emergency nature 
or so defined by the individual notifying us. 

The Division's social vjorker has encountered a v.'ide 
variety of problems not requiring legal assistance. A quick 
glance at the nature of some of these illustrates their variety: 

(1) A number of individuals received emer- 
gency assistance in returning to Puerto 

(2) Arrangements v.'ere made v/ith the Father 
Fitsgerald Kemorial- Migrant Center in 
yineland to accept custody of a juvenile 
btheri»;ise facing tv/o months in jail 
av.'aiting a hearing. 

(3) A young girl from a family of Puerto 
Rican farm v.'orkers was assisted in 
efforts to enroll in a local high school. 

(4) Shelter and jobs v;ere found for tv;o 
young farm workers released from jail 
with no place to go. 

VJe increased corrjnunication with Puerto Ptican agencies in Vineland 
in order to further discussion of their involvement v:ith Puerto 
P.ican farm workers in the three-county area. These organizations 
are of particular assistance in obtaining specific services. VJe 
also met vjith the Camden Adult Basic Education Learning Center 
and discussed the possibility of establishing the GDE (High 
School Equivalency Test) in Spanish for the Puerto Rican population 
in South Jersey, including seasonal farm workers. 




After receiving various complaints concerning the Salen 

County Migrant. Health Progran, this Division and the Fanr. V/orker 
I. ■J > 

Division of SCOPE developed a questionnaire for discovering hov; 
farm vrarkers reacted to this prograa. V.'e conducted a number of 
intervievi's at larni labor camps in the county. One of the interests 
ing facts uncovered by this investigation over a two to three vreek 
period v;as that nearly all medical problems reported v.'ere either 
eye or dental problems (a result, no doubt, of the fact that 
almost anyone coming in contact v;ith this prograra received an 
eye and dental examination, but little more). 

Throughout, representatives of our offices believed 
workers v.-ere -one omfort able responding to these questions, that 
they v;ere not expressing their true feelings. The last three 
questions asked: 

(1) Kow did you feel about the vjay you 
were treated? 

(2) Did you feel that you were treated 
differently because of your race 
or language? 

(3) V.^iat improvements are necessary? 

V/e did not get responses of a majority of workers on 
these questions. V/hen opinions were obtained they were quite nega- 
tive and generally expressed a feeling of "differential" treatment. 
However, as a result of increasing time devoted to other problems 
and the difficulty of soliciting adequate response, the inter- 
vie;-; has bean postponed indefinitely/. 

As the farm season terminates, our social vjorker has 
begun establishing contacts vTith farm v/orker families remaining 
over the winter. Kote that although most clients during the 
season v.'ere individual male workers, it is the relatively fev: 



xamilie-^ ir. this area who are re-iaining. The heads of thess 
households are typically crev: leaders having other jobs in the 
Oxi-seasorj.. We hope to establish close relationships with these 
lamilies, oixer supportive services during the v;ir.tsr; and iniorni 
crew leaders of the opportunity for legal services for their 
workers next year. 


An unexpectedly heavy case load has not allowed Chris 
Peper ohe tinie anticipated to devote to promotion of co-operative 
activity. Nonetheless, he has conducted a number of interviews 
and n:£ei;ings aimed at a realization of the buying club idea 
originally proposed to the Saleir. Welfare Pdghts Group (including 
many seasonal farm workers) by John Rogers, Director of the 
Bridgeton Area Center of SCOPE. It is clear that in order ;;o 
purchase the necessary bulk required for significant savings, 
the services cf this club must also be available to groups in 
Bridgeton and yineland. Groups in these areas have been contacted 
and although they are enthusiastic , they do not as yet have the 
organizational preparation necessary for an effective club. In 
any event, continued SCOPS involvement will be essential to'furthei 

l.'e have contacted two wholesalers of meat. One of them, 
located in Pennsauken, v/ill sell his meat at quite reasonable 
prices but provide no delivery service. This would necessitate 
the monthly renting of a refrigerated truck to collect the meat 
and deliver it to SCOPE area offices in the three cities. Storage 
facilities would be required. The second wholesaler will deliver 
to each center at no extra charge on a bi-v:eekly basis. This 



should enable ffiembers to store and consume fresh Keat vjithoui, 
packing it into freezers every month. 

Although formation of a credit union concom^-nitant v;ith 
a buying club also has been strongly urged, it does not appear 
feasible at the present time. The current plan itself demands 
a minimum of trust and cooporation on the part of each meruber. 
Each group must arrive at a. consensus regarding the quantity 
and type of meat it v/ill purchase, and each member must collect 
his meat upon delivery. Note that the prepayment plan places 
the burden of loss due to spoilage on each purchaser. I-lost 
importantly, SCOPE personnel have emphasized that v;hile SCOPE 
now acts as an organizational focus for this group, leadership 
must be generated from among the beneficiaries themselves. 


Although presently incorporated, Cedarville Community 
Recreation Organization, Inc., has been in need of additional 
community development. Unfortunately due to the daily pre- 
occupations of this office, we have been unable to devote suf- 
ficient time necessary for that function. \Je intend to increase 
our communication with this group in the near future. 

During the past two months, the group has received its 
Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service, 
but was denied an exempt organization permit (?orm ST-pS) by 
the State Sales Tax Bureau of the Department of the Treasury. 
This Bureau determined the organization does not qualify for 
classification as an exempt organization pursuant 1.0 either sub- 
section (A) or (B) of N.J.S.A, 54:32B-9. Unfortunately, v;e are 
nov; in agreement v/ith that interpretation of the applicable 


We have prepared and s-iabmi-oted to the Departnient of 
CoiTjr.unity Affairs a brief doctunent (enclosed) containing infor- 
mation about the nature and actions of CCRC, in antici^oation of 
a r.-.ore formal request for funds in the future. Likev'ise, we 
have contacted the Director of Neighborhood Facilities Programs, 
Department of Housing and Urban Development (Philadelphia Re- 
gional Office) and have received vol-arr;inous materials regarding 
the require^nents for grants under this program. Again, v/e hope 
to investigate these possibilities over the coming Kicnths. 


The State of I'ev; Jersey is in urgent need of a bail 
project for its seasonal farm vrorkers. As witnessed in this re- 
port, the experience of the Division in recent months validates 
this assumption. VJe have been directly concerned v:ith or have 
v.'itnessed too many situations in v;hich unfam.iliarity v;ith the 
language and system of criminal justice, coupled vjith a lack of 
substantial m.onetary resources, has v;orked grave injustices on 
the farm v;orker comjnunity. V/e vri.ll continue to explore r.aterial5 
pertaining to release of defendants on recognisance and to 
gather information concerning the existence and prior experiences 
of bail projects around the country. V/e anticipate operation 
of a viable program prior to comm.encement of the farm season 
in 1970. 

V/e have conversed v.'ith Public Defenders both locally 
and at the state level concerning the feasioility of some type 
of program. V/e have not been discouraged. Meanwhile, v/e have 
also had conversations vdth the warden of the Cumberland Cciinty 
Jail. He has been most accomodating to date. He has offered 


his cooporaoion and perniiLS staff mGmbers to periodically check 
the daily record book ana card index (containing infomation 
on bail, date of copxiitment , hearings, etc.). Puerto Rican 
v.'orkers are most easily identified by this method, of course, 
but other farm v/orkers are often identified by trade also. To the 
extent time permits, we v.'ill continue int,erviev/ing niany cf x,hese 
v.-orkars, assisting v:ith bail if possible, and perhaps, as expe- 
rience has suggested, resolving their cases short of further 
judicial activity. Me are also attempting to secure similar 
arrangenients in both Gloucester and Salem Counties. 





Recognizing the State of Nev; Jersey's "responsibilities 
for programs affecting seasonal farm labor," recognizing that 
these "responsibilities be discharged and those programs execUAfed ' 
in as coordinated a manner as possible," and recognizing that the 
recent report of the Governor' s Task Force on Migrant Labor 
"indica-ced the need for further efforts by agencies of this 
State to improve the lot of the seasonal farm v/orker," Governor 
Richard J. Hughes on January 13, 1969, issued Executive Order 
No. A-9 creating an Interdepartmental Cabinet Coordinating 
Committee en Seasonal Farm Labor. 

This Ccmi~ittee, chaired by the Commissioner of Labor and 
Industry, consists of the Secretary of Agriculture and the 
Commissioners of Health, Education, Comminity Affairs and Insti- 
tu^iicns and Agencies. It is directly responsible to the Governor 
for "development, impler.sntation and coordination of programs 
affecting seasonal farm laborers in Ne-.'.- Jersey." It is directed 


to co-operate and coordinate v.'ith appropriate federal , county 
and local agencies. The CoiTimittee is charged v.'ith conducting "a 
review of State lav; to detercine the extent to which existing 
laws affecting seasonal farm labor are in need of reform." 
Furthern-.ore , this Corimittee has "the responsibility of preparing 
a long-range plan concerning seasonal farm labor in New Jersey." 
The plan shall be continually updated and reports on progress 
thereunder forv^arded to the Governor at least every six months. 

The Farui V/orker Division has v;ritten to the Comnissioner 
of Cor^Tiunity Affairs, requesting a copy of the long-range plan 
and further progress 'reports of the Committee. V/e have also 
rec_uested the nanie of the DCA representative to the Cominittee 
and anticipate meeting and co-operating with him and the Committee 
in the near future.. 


Au^uiit 20, 1969 

CcirjHissiCiier Paul rl, Ylvisak^r 
Depai'taen'o of Coaiiiunity AxTiirt 
Trenton, :»"3v/ Jeri^ey 

Dear Sir: , 

Tl'iG JToliovxing is inxorr.iat.ion ccacernin^ the nacure and acoicr.r. 
of the Gcdarville Gorrdn-onity Kecreation Organii^aioion, Inc.. in supper". 
ox" cur recueot for lunds for our organisaoion. 

i. What is zhe purpose of the group arid the :.pecific 
purpose x"or v/hich the money will be expended? 

The purpose of zhe group is to establish 
recreational and educaoiona.! activiciec- i'or the 
you-13 people in the Cedarville Con-jnunity. This 
v;ou_d benefit both the co:,iiuunity re-ident:^ and 
nigrsuit far:2 workers since there 
haa never been any such establishnient in this 
coEsnujnity before. The reci-cation center v;ould 
be used by the entire coni:ai.Uii'.^y. black a:iu 
white. There are also possibilities that a food 
cooperative will develop froc this sarr.e organi- 

The purpose of the fiinds would be to build 
the recreation center and support iij v.'ith the 
essential eqiiipmeat. 

I'otcj V/e aro cvirrently in danger of being evicted 
fron our present location unless we iuprove 
tbs ccaditiOiiG of the buildiiig. 

2» L';.:o "-•."l.'-l be affected by thi5 project for v.'hich 
the noi.ey is given? i,eo v:hat part of the 
f.ry-'-^r- ■'■'-.-.T ■.rill benefit? 

38-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 19 


A-'-.=-^ 9n. ■'c<n 

iii3 er.tire . co':c:::zi:.ty vj:M1 cci-ario iron "ihis 
">.VGJc.;t because it v;ili gi\'-D ths nigrant. v/orksrs 
£cr.:o dafinite ac'civities ani purposes in the 
coi'^jiViiityo .V/e vrish to brin;^ the v.'orkers^ to the 
coi:-;.~:~it7 instecd of ecntiri'ially and traditionally 
'or.hirig ciir pr-osrca^r to the •:;aap3o This ia to 
uzUg tiiesG people feel v/elcoae &nd responsible 
^ai thxE areao 

V'hat are the proposed hours of operation of 
the CGi:s.iiSiity center? 

Ilcndav 9-5 £ 7-9 Friday 9-5 

UucGday 9-3 £: 7-9 Saturday 9-5 

Ucdriesday 9-5 c: £s-10 Sunday 2-5 

Thursday 9-5 

V.hai is the relationship between GCRO and SCOPE? 

SCOPS assisted in pairing the rent for the 
prv-iecrrt Vail.iingj supplied vjorking Haterlalb 
c:..i6. cqilipaont such as desks, paper materials, 
cloc^zln^ equipment, electricity etc. SG0P2 
acts as a parent organisation. 

V.'hat are the expenses? 

At the present tirne, GCRO has the opportunity 
to purchase one acre of land on the Cedarville- 
IliLlIvillo Rvoad, CedarviilCj Kev; Jerse;^, for 
ap;^:ro:djjately S500. V/e propose to build a 
one story coi^siunity center on this site 35 feet 
v.'idG by 75 feet longo The center would contain 
one large ".-.eetir;:;:; and recreation room together 
vrith fo'O sroall offices and two bathrooms. 

V'o estiniatG that the cost of construction 
Eot inciv-dins labor j v;hieh v;e intend zo provide 
for ourselves rJ.^der the direction of Rev. Kill 
r.3 o::pcrienccd carpenter-builder, v;ill be 
appro::;:.:i?.tely GI25OOO. V.'e also estijnate costs 
of' 02 J COO for recreational equipment and S400 


Au.£US-o 20 5 1969 

ior a lence f-urrounding "zhe i^it^» Tlio c-jnicr 
v.'ili be operattid by nenbej-a ox" the orgaxii^iatioia 
on a vclion&ary basii. l/e ectiEass that tlie cen;:5r 
ccn. ba builc. oy our psopif: within 3-4 nicnths frorr; 
ths dc-te ve bs.^in "co const rucc. 

This infonsation is supplied i'cr the p-ar-poi-c; 01 providinf^ you 
■/.•ith tOiUG bach^rom'.d conceriiing the PurpocG of our 2roup. If v.'s car 
provide any further inforr-^ation ccncernia,^ the grcup arri it:; action;., 
pioaie don°t hecioatc; uO contact u:-. Than.-: you vcrf j:iuch Tor your 

Very truly youre, 

f-G^v. ii . uo iiij-i J i^rsiiaeao 

V.illa Mat Thoapson, Secretary 






MARCH, 1969 


"The methods of reaching and assis- 
ting an unwed_mother of four in an 
urban getto /si^ are not necessarily 
appropriate for dealing with the 
Brewster farmer who is trying to 
support a family of seven on twenty 
acres and 15 milk cows... The rural 
indigent .. .is generally not a threat 
to the community, and his needs, 
while Just as desperate, are born 
with stoicism." Bar Association 
Report. 195 

12. LEGAL AID IN THE YAKIMA VALLEY . Despite the fre- 
quency and complexity of the legal problems of farm workers, ser- 
vices are not available to them in any degree approaching the need. 
Although a few exceptional attorneys in the Valley have given free 
assistance to farm workers, especially in their organizational 
work, farm workers are essentially priced out of the legal market 
by the high cost of legal services. As late as 1966, the Yakima 
Coxinty Bar Association operated a legal aid program only one after- 
noon per week, and some members of the local bar thought the need 
was being adequately met. 

Since then the Yakima County Bar Association has insti- 
tuted a broader program of legal aid, involving about 86 Upper 
Valley lawyers who each have legal aid duty for one week. Appli- 
cants are screened for eligibility by the Clerk of the Superior 
Court, in the Courthouse. Individuals are eligible who earn 
no more than $30 per week ($1560 per year), or $40 per week if 
married ($2080 per year), who own no liquid personal assets in 
excess of $300, no other personal property worth more than $500, 
and no interest in real property worth more than $5,000. If the 
applicant is eligible, he is sent to the office of the attorney 


on duty that week, who then handles the client's problem without 
charge . 

Lawyers In Sunnyslde, In the Lower Valley, operate an 
Informal and occasional legal aid service. 

Neither legal aid program has any funds or paid staff, 
and the lawyers' work Is entirely voluntary. 

In 1967 the Yakima Coiinty Bar Association, at the encour- 
agenent of the Y.V.C.C.A., considered organizing an O.E.O, funded 
legal aid program, and submitted a proposal to the O.E.O. for a 
"judlcare" proposal for Yakima County, which would have provided 
a federal subsidy for the private lawyers participating In the 
program. The proposal was not funded by the O.E.O. and the Yakima 
Coiinty Ear Association has not submitted another proposal and has 
specifically rejected the Idea of applying for an O.E.O. funded 
program v^lth full-time staff lawyers for poor people. 

The Washington State Bar Association Is also opposed to 

the establishment of O.E.O. fxinded legal service programs with full- 

time staff lawyers. On November 8, 1968, a committee of the State 

Bar, appointed to study O.E.O. Legal programs and make recommen- 
dations, reported to the Board of Governors, recommending the 
establishment of full-time lawyer programs only In metropolitan 
areas and Judlcare programs in rural areas , The Board of Gover- 
nors then recommended that no new full-time lawyer programs be 
established, and that Judicare programs be established in metro- 
politan as well as rural areas In the state. The State Bar com- 
mittee is now preparing an application for a state-wide Judicare 

program , 




The refusal of the O.E.O. to fund any new judlcare pro- 
grams Is well known to the State Bar committee, and It Is not 
clear whether the committee expects the O.E.O, to change Its 
policy, or whether the proposal Is more of an effort to record and 
demonstrate to others the concern of the State Bar Association for 
meeting Its responsibilities to make legal services available to 
poor people In Washington. 

In either case, neither the Yakima County Bar Association 
nor the Washington State Bar Association has demonstrated that 
they want poor people to have access to attorneys who will pro- 
vide them with vigorous, Imaginative services, who will challenge 
the legal status quo, and who will effectively represent and advo- 
cate the Interests of the poor In the formative processes of the 
law, in courts, agencies, and legislative bodies. And, If left 
to either organization, such a program is not likely to be developed, 

It has been sviggested that judlcare systems will not 
perform well in rural areas because local lawyers with conflicts 
of interests will not adequately represent the poor, owing to 

Insufficient numbers of attorneys, advanced age of many, depen- 

dence on business clients and adverse public reaction. 

The experience of the Yakima Valley Project tends to 

confirm this hypothesis. Local attorneys were almost without 

exception friendly and cordial to our staff. But when it became 

necessary for me to close the Toppenish office and move back to 

Seattle and handle cases in the Yakima courts from there, I asked 

five Yakima Valley attorneys for assistance as co-counsel, espe- 


daily to assist with preliminary court appearances, and all 
five declined on groimds of "conflicts of interest." None of 
them actually represented any of the adverse parties In any of 
the cases. The "conflicts" were usually based on their partners' 
or associates' having wealthy grower clients who would be displeased 
by the litigation of the particular Issues Involved, 

Despite this reluctance of local lawyers to seek Insti- 
tutional changes, It Is fair to say that there are several law- 
yers In the Valley who work hard for poor clients for Inadequate 
compensation. Yet even they are largely prevented by tradition, 
economics and the Canons of Ethics from aggressively seeking pro- 
blems. Because of many factors the reservations of the Mexi- 
can-Americans, the disengagement of the Indians, the Individualism 

of the Anglos, and even the geography of the Valley they will 

not be able to come close to meeting the need of poor farm workers 
for legal assistance in even simple and routine civil and crimi- 
nal matters by operating in offices in Yakima. 


13. THE YAKIMA VALLEY PROJECT . In March, I968, the 
United Farm Workers requested the assistance of the American Civil 
Liberties Union of Washington In organizing a legal assistance pro- 
gram for farm workers In the Yakima Valley. The A.C.L.U. agreed 
to participate. Lacking funds of Its own for the project, Its 
staff attorney, Michael Rosen, organized a program, several hun- 
dred law books lent by the University of Washington Law School, 
a house In Toppenlsh, In the Lower Valley, lent by the St. Igna- 
tius Catholic Church, borrowed furniture and typewriters, five law 
students (Jim Marsten, Gerry Bopp, John Goodall, Nick Mathlas and 
Tom Chambers), a secretary, an Investigator and field representa- 
tive, a cook, and two Interpreters from the. Office of Student Finan- 
cial Assistance at the University of Washington, a full-time attor- 
ney and a total cash budget of about ^11i6,800, ^2,300 of It donated 
by Indlvldvials In the Seattle area and $4,500 from a grant from 
the Episcopal Ministry In New York. 

David Lalng, the Investigator and field representative, 
was formerly a university English teacher and had previously worked 
in labor camps and among farm workers in Yakima Valley, Oregon, 
and Delano. Guadalupe Gamboa, one of the Interpreters, had Just 
graduated from the University of Washington with a degree In socio- 
logy and Is now a first year law student, 

The California Rural Legal Assistance program, which has 
had extensive experience with farm workers' legal problems, leht 
the YaVima Valley Prdject one of their staff attorneys, J,V. Henry, 
for two weeks, to assist in setting up the projects office and ena- 
bling the staff to focus more quickly on the special kinds of legal 


problems of farm workers. 

In addition, sevai Washington attorneys each worked in 

Toppenlsh for up to a week as volvinteers Gordon Bovey of 

Spokane, and Dale Rlveland, Stephen Feldman, Peter Paget, Prof. 
John Junker, John Gant, and Ed Wood of Seattle, By late June the 
project was in operation. Between mid- July and mid-September when 
the students returned to school, the project handled about 100 
matters, providing some kind of legal service advice, repre- 
sentation, research, or negotiation for about 100 people, A 

large portion of the problems involved automobiles drunk driving, 

speeding, negligent and reckless driving, drving without a license, 
drvlng while a driver's license was suspended, and financial re- 
sponsibility law problems. Employment and wage problems were frequent, 

The project prepared and distributed several thousand 
leaflets, about matters affecting farm workers, in English and 
Spanish, entitled, "Sanitation in Places of Work," "Health Stan- 
dards for Labor Camps," "Your Rights as a Worker," and "How to 
Protect Your Welfare Rights." It was observed that wage claims 
were often difficult to establish because of a lack of adequate 
written records, and a pocket size booklet was prepared to enable 
farm workers to keep track of their work. I also spent evenings 
in the labor camps talking to individuals and groups and showing 
the film, "Huelgat," about the Delano grape strike. 

Besides representing defendants in criminal prosecutions, 
I initiated a nxunber of law suits, some of them still pending. 
Several wage claim cases were initiated, one of them brought by 
four named plaintiffs as a class action on behalf of all employees 


of the defendant, for back wages owed, attorneys fees and exem- 
plary damages. The case was settled for the face amount of the 


unpaid wages claimed by the four workers. In another case, a 

voting registrar was permanently enjoined from Illegally closing 

registration books. Other litigation still pending is as follows: 

O^onnor v. Mulllns Is a mandamus action pending in the 

Supreme Court of Washington, brought by a woman on welfare against 
a local justice of the peace, to require him to accept her com- 
plaint for replevin of some furniture wrongfully detained by a 
former landlord, without prepayment of filing fees of $3.50« Being 
on welfare, the petitioner receives no allowance for costs of 
litigation and even if she earned any money, it would be deducted 
from her welfare grant, resulting in no net increase. The argu- 
ments made are that the courts have inherent power to permit liti- 
gants to proceed in forma pauperis , even in the absence of an ena- 
bling statute, that i.f.p. proceedings are part of the common law 
adopted in Washington, that the right of a poor person to bring a 
replevin action without payment of filing fees is guaranteed by 
the right of petition in the First Amendment, and by the Due Pro- 
cess and the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, 
The application for mandamus to the Supreme Court was also pre- 
sented in forma pauperis , without payment of filing fees, and al- 
though the Supreme Court has not yet ruled that the petitioner 
may or may not proceed there i.f.p., the case has been set for 
argument en banc on March 2^■, 1969. The case is important to farm 
workers with wage claims, and if successful, would enable poor 


farm workers to obtain judicial determinations of their wage claims 
without having to pay filing fees, which constitute a deterrent, 

small as they are. 

Mexican-American Federation-Washington State v. Naff Is 

a class action brought by an association of Mexican- Americans and 
four Mexican-American farm workers and all others similarly situa- 
ted, against the Yakima County Auditor, several named voting regis- 
trars, and all others similarly situated, seeking to require them 
to register people who read and speak the Spanish language but 
not the English langiiage, and to enjoin the administration of 
English literacy tests and to require the appointment of Spanish- 
speaking registrars. The complaint alleges that the English literacy 
requirement of Amendment 5 of the Washington Constitution violates 
the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the 
Fifteenth Amendment, that the Washington statute authorizing the 
administration of literacy tests, R.C.W. 29,07.070 (13), is uncon- 
stitutional on its face as Incapable of equal enforcement, that 
the registration practices of the registrars violate the Voting 
Rights Act of 1965. ^2 U.S.C. Sec. 1971 (a)(2)(C), and that 
the Yakima County registrars have engaged in a pattern and prac- 
tice of discrimination against Mexican-American people. The case 
Is now pending in the United States District Court in Yakima and 
a three- Judge court has been convened to hear and determine it. 
This case is of slgnificeuice to Spanish-speaking citizens all over 

the United States. 

Gutierrez v. Riel is a case that arose when a hop grower 

hired eight Mexican-Americans to help with the hop harvest, told 


them they would be paid $1.75 an hour and that $.25 per hour of 
their wages would be withheld until the harvest was over, to be 
paid to them then as a "bonus" for finishing the harvest. After 
they worked about six weeks and had only about a week to go to the 
end of the harvest, the grower provoked them repeatedly and they 
left the Job, the grower refusing to pay them any of the $.25 per 
hour he had withheld. The complaint alleges that the withholding 
of "bonus" payments was not bargained, was unconscionable, against 
public policy and Illegal. Plaintiffs seek compensatory damages 
of $66.63 each, together with double that amount each for exem- 
plary damages, costs and reasonable attorneys' fees. The out- 
come of this case might have an effect on the Institution of the 

"bonus" system for paying farm workers. 


Buttrey v. Housing Authority of Yakima Co\inty Is a case 

now pending In the Yakima County Superior Court, brought by a 
family which formerly lived In the Ahtanum Farm Labor Camp, oper- 
ated by the Housing Authority, for damages for physical and mental 
suffering by tenants of the labor camps, for adjudication of the 
legality of the Housing Authority's leasing of valuable farm land 
to a private grower, for Injunctive relief requiring the Housing 
Authority to maintain properly the camps or abating them as a 
public nuisance, for removal of the Commissioners of the Housing 
Authority, for an accounting from them, and for appointment of a 
receiver for the Housing Authority to operate It, collect rents, 
seek out, obtain and use government financing to Improve or re- 
build the camps. 


Finally, the Yakima Valley Project has worked with an 
ad hoc committee of seven Mexican-Americans In the Lower Valley, 
three of them selected by the Co-op, three by the Mexican-American 
Federation and the seventh chosen by the other six, to develop 
and organize a permanent legal assistance program for farm workers 
in the Valley, to find funds for it and to operate it. The chair- 
man is Ricardo Garcia of Wapato. Other committee members are 
Bemie Alvarado of Toppenish, Carmen Perez of Zillah, Juan Arambul 
of Harrah, Joe Maltos of Sunnyside, Joe Resendez of Granger, and 
Father Ybarra of Sunnyside (whose alternate is Rev, Fred Lowry, 
Migrant Minister, of Sunnyside.) 

The project has been without funds since October 15 • Al- 
thoxigh the A.C.L.U. has financed continued work on this proposal 
and the voting case for two months, it has had to borrow money to 
do so, and its assistance is only temporary. There is an imme- 
diate and urgent need for funds with which to continue the work 
already begun, to have a legal program in existence when the har- 
vest begins in April, to provide support for economic organization 
and development. 


14. RECOMMENDATION . To be concerned with the "legal 
problems" of farm workers Is to be concerned not only with divorces, 
driving cases, collection cases and personal Injuries, as impor- 
tant as they are, but also with the problems often regarded by 
the rest of society as "social" or "economic" or "political," for 
which no satisfactory legal solutions have been developed. Yet 
law, in the sense of legislative, executive and judicial responses 
to communicated needs, is clearly an Important key to making a 
so\aid basis for economic and political progress for farm workers. 

It is unrealistic to expect that any sustained momentum 
of such progress in Yakima can be based upon legal services pro- 
vided by a Bar operated "Judicare" program. Even if participa- 
ting lawyers were compensated, giving them some incentive to give 
more than summary trestment to clients* problems, the lawyers 
would still have "conflicts of interest," they would spend only 
a small part of their time with farm workers, and there would be 
little continuity or coordination in their work. Expertise is 
not likely to develop, nor is it likely that many lawyers, whose 
careers and practices are dependent upon growers, packers, shippers 
and their associations, will spend much time designing imagina- 
tive and experimental solutions to farm workers' problems, es- 
pecially when their purpose would be to cause reallocations of 
farm income. Nor is it likely that lawyers would be willing to 
risk the displeasure of people controlling the money in Yakima 
Valley by becoming too closely identified with farm workers. 

A permanent legal services office for farm workers with 


a full time staff whose families are not financially dependent on 
local growers could be expected to identify more with the farm 
workers, and to represent their individual and common interests 
more adequately. 

The inaccessibility of the law for the poor has been 

2 Oil 
well docvimented in an urban context. In Yakima Valley, for farm 

workers and especially for migrants, the law is about as remote 

as it can get, short of legalizing the farm workers' condition of 


But this remoteness is not solely the product of the high 
cost of legal services, of hostility to the upward aspirations 
of the farm workers, or to the congregation of lawyers in office 
buildings In the City of Yakima, although these are factors. Deeply 
rooted cultural and langviage differences between the rich and the 
poor in Yakima Valley, between lawyers and farm workers, are an 
Important reason for this remoteness. The trip that an agrieved 
Lower Valley farm worker must make in a battered car to a lawyer's 
office in the Upper Valley is symbolic of the cultural distance 
he must travel to participate in the legal system. 

The recommendation of this report is that a permanent 
legal service office for farm workers be established in the Lower 
Valley with a full time legal staff, and that it be operated by 
farm workers themselves, through a non-profit corporation, of which 
the members, officers and directors are farm workers. Three rea- 
sons for farm worker control are these i 

a. Farm workers will be more responsive to an institution 
they know is "theirs." Designing a program with farm workers In 


control Is a means of reducing the cultural remoteness of the legal 

b. The program will be more responsive to the problems, 
Interests and preferences of farm workers If the broad decisions 
and guidelines are made by farm workers. In some ways this is 
the Inverse of the present O.E.O. Legal Services model. In 
those programs, typically, lawyers are In the majority on the board 

with a few poor people on the board and on an ancillary advisory 
committee. Theoretically, the lawyers with their framework of 
legal knowledge make the policy decisions, based on an Input of 
Ideas, opinions and preferences from the poor people. In this 
recommended program, the reverse would be the case. In the making 
of policy, staff lawyers would provide an "Input" of legal Judg- 
ments, but the decisions would be made by the people who have 
lived with the problems all their lives and i^rhose Interests are 
at stake. Farm workers on the board of this program could be 
expected to give an emphasis to the realities of agricultural 
poverty that lawyers aren't capable of understanding. 

Board members, moreover, would be responsible to a con- 
stltuency - Immediately, /the members of the corporation, and through 

them, to the larger community of farm workers (who would chose 
the members), and they could be expected to be responsive to their 

In the absence of any objective or analytic way of deter- 
mining what Is the "right" way for such a program to operate 

whether It Is better to handle wage claims or voting complaints, 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 20 


or divorces, or driving cases -*- the collective judgment of 
farm workers who are affected by such decisions Is a standard pre- 
ferable to the collective Judgment of either disinterested or well 
meaning representatives of the middle class. This form of orga- 
nization Is designed to enable the policy alternatives to be more 
easily communicated to farm workers, and to facilitate the trans- 
lation of their preferences Into action. 

Nor should It be ass\uned that farm workers, being \medu- 
cated, will make poor management decisions In the operation of 
the program. As It has turned out the management of O.E.O. lawyer- 
controlled programs has been a little ragged. Many lawyers run- 
ning such programs have no committment to the achievement of In- 
stitutional change and are there more to prevent such change from 
occurring. At best, lawyers Involved In these programs know prac- 
tically nothing about the lives of the poor or the mechanics of 
cyclical poverty. The control of such a program by even the most 
conservative and business-minded elements of the bar does not even 
assure that its fiscal management will be under control. Lawyers, 
then, are not Indlspenslble to the making of policy or even to 
sound fiscal control; and the idea that they are is an over-estimation 
of their abilities and experience. 

Farm workers have one important qualification for control ■ 

that lawyers don't have they know what rural poverty is. They 

can be coxmted on to know that It isn't necessarily "twenty acres 
and 15 milk cows." 

An ancillary benefit that may be realized is a reinforce- 


ment of the Interest farm workers take In the program, and a re- 
direction of their Interest to other Institutions that affect them. 
The experience of confronting alternatives, forming an opinion, 
communicating It, and observing an Institutional response to It 

may serve as an encouragement to farm workers to take an Interest 

In the operations of other Institutions* 

c. The exercise of decision-making power can be expected 
to produce valuable collateral benefits for the farm workers In- 
volved, The members of the Board will have to make difficult 
policy choices. They will have to choose between using the pro- 
gram as an ancillary service for another organization or other 
organizations or retaining Its autonomy as a separately functioning 
organization with Its own policies and perhaps Its own strategy 
for change. 

With limited resources, they may have to choose between 
substantive areas of concern, such as employment, housing, wel- 
fare, family, criminal, probate, personal Injury, civil rights and 
other problems. With limited time, they jnay have to choose be- 
tween alternative techniques for achieving program goals, such as 
representation of lndlvld\ials , groups and associations, various 
means of community education, development of economic enterprises, 
test case development and litigation, preparation of proposals for 
administrative regulations and legislation, and advocacy before 
agencies and legislative bodies. 

For Instance, the ability to provide individual clients 
with legal services would be a valuable organizational asset to 
the United Farm Workers Cooperative, adding to its prestige and 


providing an additional Incentive for membership. This useful- 
ness might be exploited by limiting eligibility for Individual 
legal service to members of the Co-op. Yet the provision of 
full-scale legal services for Co-op members with their Individual 
problems would necessarily limit the ability of the staff to do 
other things Involving more general Issues, such as research, plan- 
ning, preparation and litigation of major test cases. 

Thus the Board might be confronted with a choice between 

spending two hundred hours , roughly 5-/. per cent of Its total re- 
source of time. In representing twenty per cent of " the Co-op mem- 

bers with legal problems, or In attempting to restrain the Inter- 
state clearance of work orders and recruitment of Texas farm workers 

and thereby obtaining pecuniary benefits of perhaps Pir5,000 for 

Yakima Valley farm workers In the form of higher wages. 

Many questions would be Involved In such a decision — 
not the least of which would be whether wages would really go up. 
Farm workers should be as qualified to evaluate that problem as 
anyone . 

The necessity of making choices and developing a rationale 
for them will tend to develop In Board members both depth of In- 
sight and breadth of perspective on the problems of farm labor In 
Yakima Valley. This In turn can be expected to add substantially 
to the leadership resources of the Valley and the momentmn of 
change . 

The operation of a non-profit legal aid program has long 

208 _ 
been regarded as a legally permissible corporate activity. The 


courts, however, have not outlined the permissible boundaries for 

such programs, and among O.E.O. legal programs, the view pre- 


vails that legal service programs should be controlled by lawyers, 

If not by the organized bar Itself, a view which has been taken by 

one state court before which the question was raised, In Appll - 

cation of Community Action for Legal Services. Inc. In that case 

the New Tork Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, denied 
the application of several lay controlled corporations for certi- 
ficates of approval for them to provide various legal services 
for poor people because the corporations were not controlled and 
supervised by lawyers who are summarily responsible to the courts 
for the activities of the corporation. 

In recent years the United States Supreme Court has de- 
cided three cases having to do with the practice of law, Issuing 
opinions that portend considerable changes In the permissible 
boundaries for the practice of law. The Court has laid down broad 
constitutional doctrines applicable to the practice of law, which 
may result In profound Institutional changes, especially In re- 
spect to the availability of legal services to people with rather 

limited Incomes and means. Beginning In 1963 i In N.A.A.C.P. v. 

Button , then with Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Virginia 

State Bar , and most recently with United Mine Workers v. Illinois 

State Bar Association , the Supreme Court has ruled that the rights 

of association and petition for redress of grievances, protected 

by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, apply 

to the practice of law, at least In the situations presented In 

those cases. 


In Button the Coiirt held unconstitutional Virginia sta- 
tutes enacted in 1956 which prohibited the solicitation or ac- 
ceptance of legal business through lajrmen, Insofar as those sta- 
tutes were applied to the work of the N.A.A.C.P., which was the 
conducting of litigation to desegregate the schools. In Brother - 
hood the Supreme Court held that a union's practice of recommen- 
ding a particular attorney to represent union members In their 
personal Injury claims was protected by the First Amendment right 
of petition. And in 196? i a year after the decision of the New 
York Court of Appeals in Application of Community Action for Legal 
Services , the Supreme Court, in United Mine Workers , held that a 
union's practice of hiring a salaried lawyer to represent union 
members in their workman's compensation claims was protected from 
Interference by the Illinois State Bar Association by the First 
Amendment . 

The development of new institutional forms and economic 
relationships to make legal machinery more accessible and respon- 
sive to the needs of people without wealth is one of the cutting 
edges of legal progress. The impact of Button , Brotherhood , and 
United Mine Workers will be far-reaching. The problems and the op- 
portunities they present are Increasingly becoming the concern 
of the legal profession, and a rationale Is developing for an 

accommodation between them and the traditional standards of legal 


Apparently, a general movement is already beginning among 

lay groups to establish legal service programs for their members. 



But the movement Is still In Its Infancy. This program would 
be an opportunity not only to provide much needed legal services 
for people too long neglected, but to see how this new phase of 
legal organization will work among a group of people Just now ex- 
periencing the first stirrings of economic and political organi- 

Beyond this, It may be possible to develop a means of 

partially financing the operations of this program with fees 

collected from people served, agencies or adverse parties. Al- 
though the direct collection of legal fees has not been expressly 
sanctioned by the U.S. Supreme Court, there are some precedents 
and reasons to believe the practice may be legally possible. 

For Instance, legal aid organizations have been charging clients 

small registration fees for years. Also, the vinlon members In 

United Mine Workers were supporting their iinlons with their dues, 
In effect pre-paying salaried lawyers who handled their problems, 
a scheme that has also proved rewarding for automobile Insurance 
companies and their retained defense counsel for years. Col- 
lection agencies, which receive direct fees in the form of a 

percentage of funds collected, have operated with the blessings 

of the courts in Washington since at least 1935. Finally, there 

are occasional instances of legal service corporations receiving 

compensation, either prepaid contract payments, or direct fees, 

for representing Indigent criminal defendants. Attorneys' fees 

may be recoverable from personal injury actions, welfare hearings, 

workmaris compensation claims, criminal defense work and treble 


dantage wage claims. 

Prepaid medical services In Seattle have survived all 

efforts of the King County Medical Society to destroy the Group 

Health Cooperative of Puget Sound. And the American Bar Asso- 
ciation Is even vinderwrltlng an experiment In pre-paid legal ser- 

vices, on a referral basis, for union members In Clackamas County, 

Oregon. Pre-paid or fee generating group legal services may not 

be long In coming. 

Such a program would require substantial preparation and 
planning. It would probably require prior Judicial approval, and 
It would In any case Involve a risk of having to divert substantial 
staff time from the substantive work of the program. Whether or 
not to attempt to do this Is a decision which should be made, not 
by me, but by the Board of Trustees of the corporation. It Is 
not mentioned at this point as a recommendation, but as a possi- 
bility for future development. 

The successful organization of a legal assistance program 
with control In farm workers would be an innovative achievement 

for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington which was 

the first Civil Liberties organization in the United States to 
depart from the traditional "amicus curiae" role and represent 
individual clients. It has a direct relation to the implementa- 
tion of doctrines of the rights of association and petition, 
the right to covinsel, and the equal protection of the laws. It 
presents a pioneering opportunity to define a new role for the 
American Civil Liberties Union and to give substance, also, to 
these civil liberties by the establishment of new Institutions 
as well as new legal precedents. 


J95. Washington State Bar Association, Report of Special Committee on 
Legal Assistance Programs (1968). 

196. Id. 

197. Washington State Bar News, Vol. 22, No. 12, 95, December, 
1968. The Committee Report states "This ^udioare/ program 
is strongly resisted by the Office of Economic Opportunity 
for three reasons. First, xinconvincingly , that the pro- 
gram is more expensive than the 'legal aid* program. Se- 
condly, that from a practical standpoint, attorneys on a 
judicare system will simply not pursue the test case ap- 
proach through the appellate process and consequently does 
not encourage a Judicial review of repressive laws. This 
argument is not historically soxind. Thirdly, it does not 
encourage the establishment of law offices in high poverty 
areas. It might be observed that judlcare operates with 

a minimum number of 'federal' employees, and does little 
to swell the ranks of the bureaucracy... The committee sus- 
pects that this is a fourth, but unstated reason for OEO's 
opposition to Judlcare." Report, supra note 197, at 7. 
The Bar News article, however, reports that "The Committee 
has no idea whether it will be granted." 

198. Barvick, "Legal Services and the Rural Poor," 15 Kan. L. 
Rev. 537. 550 (1967). 

199. Gamboa v. Naff , No. 51729, Yakima County Superior Court, 
filed September 7. I968. 

200. No. ^0550, Supreme Court of Washington, filed September, 

201. Supra . note 195. 

202. No. 51876, Yakima Coxinty Superior Court, filed September, 

203. No. 51991, Yakima Coimty Superior Court, filed, December, 

204. See Carlin and Howard, "Legal Representation and Class 
Justice," 12 U.C.L.A. L.Rev. 38I (I965). 

205. Karen James and Lynn Patterson's insight into the "non- 
assertive nature" of migrants as to decisions of govern- 
ment agencies is to the point. "Perhaps in the end, legality, 
at least with regard to welfare and health services, is not 

so important a consideration as the attitude conveyed by 
welfare and health employees toward the migrant farm worker, 
which in its impersonal and often harsh delivery, generates 
an aura of arbitrariness that tends to keep the client in 
a dependent, unassertive role and reinforces his resent- 
ment of authority, law and the middle class." The Endless 
Cycle, supra note 3» at 95- 


206. If ten percent of the present 850 members of the Co-op 
have one legal problem per year requiring an average of 
six hours of attorney time, and If the Incentive Is suc- 
cessful to the extent of Increasing membership by the ten 
percent (all with a legal problem) , the program would be 
committed to the use of about 1020 hours. 

207. Hired labor In Yakima County was paid $22,222,0^5 In 196^^, 
or about 19/^ of the total value of all agricultural pro- 
ducts sold. The vegetable crop alone sold for '$4,842,080. 
If the same ratio applied, vegetable workers were paid 
about $904,000. If reduction In the supply of labor re- 
sulted in only a 5% Increase In wages of only the vege- 
table workers, they would realize an additional ";;45,200 

a return of roioghly $223 per hour of attorneys time. 
Source of figures, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of 
Agriculture, 1964, supra note 19 at 297. 

208. See Azzarello v. Legal Aid Society of Cleveland , 117 Ohio 
App. 471. 185 N.E. 2d 566 (1962); and Re Opinion of the 
Justices, 289 Mass. 607, 194 N.E. 313 (1935). 

209. See Memorandum by Earl Johnson, former Director, Legal 
Services Program, Office of Economic Opportunity, Washing- 
ton, D.C., March 8, I966, to all regional Legal Services 
Directors and to headquarters staff, that all L.S.P. funded 
programs must have a majority of lawyers on their boards, 
cited In Stvunpf, "Law and Poverty: A Political Perspec- 
tive," 1968 Wis. L. Rev. 694, 709, n. 57 (1968). 

210. See "Competition in Legal Services Under the War on Poverty,' 
19 Stan. L. Rev. 579 (1957); and Resolution of the House of 
Delegates of the American Bar Association, February 8, 
1965. pledging cooperation with O.E.O. limited to "pro- 
grams /that/ utilize to the maximum extent deemed feasible 
the experience and facilities of the organized Bar, such 

as Legal Aid," reported at 51 A. B.A.J. 551 (I965) and 
quoted in 19 Stan. L. Rev. 579. 

211. 274 N.E. 2d 779. 26 A.D. 2d 354 (I966). 

212. 371 U.S. 415 (1963). 

213. 377 U.S. 1 (1964). 

214. 389 U.S. 217 (1967). 

215. See Schwartz,. "Changing Patterns of Legal Services," in 
Law in a Changing America, Hazard ed., Prentice Hall, 
Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., I968; Copaken, "Group Legal 
Services for Trade Associations," 66 Mich. L. Rev. 1211 


(1968); Zlmroth, "Group Legal Services and the Constitu- 
tion," 76 Yale L.J. 966 (1967)? Note, "Ethical Problems 
Raised by the Neighborhood Law Office," 4l Notre Dame 
Lawyer 961 (1966); "The Availability of Counsel and Group 
Legal Services: A Symposium," 12 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. No. 2 

216. See American Bar News , Vol. 13, No. 11, p. 6, November, 1968. 

217. This was s\iggested to the writer by Tomas Vlllaneuva, 
Manager of the United Farm Workers Cooperative In Top- 
penlsh, Washington, In July, 1968. 

218. See Azzarello v. Le^al Aid Society of Cleveland , supra note 

219. Washington State Bar Association v. Merchants Rating and 
Ad.lustment C o.. 183 Wash. 611, ^9 P. 2d 26 (1935). 

220. See e.g. United States V. Reed , (N.D. Cal. I967) No. 40680, 
In which the Court awarded payment of $1300 In legal fees 
to Sa:i Francisco Legal Aid Society for handling complex 
criminal defense. 

221 . See Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound v. Klnt^ County 
Medical Society , 39 Wn. 2d 586, 237 P. 2d 737 (1951). 

222. See American Bar News, Vol. 13, No. 11, p. 1, November, I968, 

U.S. Commission on 

Civil Rights 


Publication No. 19 

May 1970 



U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is a temporary, independent, bipartisan agency 

established by Congress in 1957 and directed to: 

Investigate complaints alleging that citizens are being deprived of their right to vote 

by reason of their race, color, religion, or national origin, or by reason of fraudulent 


Study and collect information concerning legal developments constituting a denial of 

equal protection of the laws under the Constitution; 

Appraise Federal laws and policies with respect to equal protection of the laws; 

Serve as a national clearinghouse for information in respect to denials of equal protection 

of the laws; and 

Submit reports, findings, and recommendations to the President and the Congress. 

Members of the Commission 

Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Chairman 

Stephen Horn, Vice Chairman 

Frankie M. Freeman 

Maurice B. Mitchell 

Robert S. Rankin 

Manuel Ruiz, Jr. 

Howard A. Glickstein, Staff Director 


U.S. Commission on 

Civil Rights 


Publication No. 19 

May 1970 


The predicament of a people who are historically part of the South- 
west yet paradoxically treated as strangers in their own land was 
the focus of the hearing the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held in 
San Antonio, Texas, in December 1968. 




For the first time, in a public setting, the Mexican American com- 
munity's problems in civil rights were the central topic of a Commission 
hearing. It was not, however, the first time that Mexican American 
needs and aspirations in the field of equal opportunity and civil rights 
had been considered by the Commission. At previous hearings in 
Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, Mexican American spokes- 
men had presented some of the issues and demands of the Spanish- 
speaking community. State Advisory Committees in the five South- 
western States of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and 
Texas, had addressed themselves to problems concerning the Mexican 
American people, and occasionally had issued reports of their findings. 

But the San Antonio hearing concentrated for the first time the Com- 
mission's full attention and resources. Texas, where no hearing had 
been held before by the Commission and with the second largest Spanish 
surname population, and San Antonio, the Texas city with the largest 
Mexican American community, offered a logical site for the weeklong 
hearing of December 9-14. 

For nearly 6 months prior to the hearing, staff members delved into 
the conditions of life and work among Mexican Americans filtering 
out the issues related to civil rights and laying the groundwork for the 
hearing. A field representative was assigned to San Antonio for coordi- 
nation of onsite activities. 

Some 1,000 persons were interviewed; volumes of data were collected 
and analyzed; nearly 80 persons in all were requested to speak under 
subpena — from barrio residents to State officials, businessmen to farm 
workers, students to school superintendents. Clergymen, law enforce- 
ment officials, and three families also testified. 

The hearing explored major areas of concern to Mexican Americans 
and the Commission: employment, education, and the administration 
of justice. Problems in housing and political representation were also 
considered. The total picture of economic deprivation, of relegation to 
the meanest employment, of educational suppression, and of restricted 
opportunity in almost every phase of life unfolded. 

Expressing great empathy with the story that developed was a pre- 
dominantly Mexican American audience that daily filled the auditorium 
at Our Lady of the Lake College where the hearing was conducted. 

What follows is an account of the Commission's hearing by Ruben 
Salazar, a California journalist. Salazar is currently news director 
for the Spanish-language television station KMEX of Los Angeles. 
He also writes a column for the Los Angeles Times on the problems 
of the Spanish -speaking people of the United States. He has been a 
foreign correspondent in Vietnam, in the Dominican Republic, and 
in Mexico City. His views do not necessarily represent those of the 
Commission. The report is published for the purpose of stimulating 
public interest and concern in the problems confronting Mexican 


36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 21 




Introduction 1 

Aqui No Se Habla Espanol 4 

La Frontera 11 

Los Pobres 16 

La Bducacion de Mexicanos 23 

No Hay Trabajo 30 

La Ley 38 

Conclusion 46 



The San Antonio hearing of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 
which probed into the social anguish of Mexican Americans was 
born in protest and began in controversy. 

As the country's second largest minority, Mexican Americans had 
been virtually ignored by public and private reformers. There was vague 
realization that they had educational, employment, and cultural prob- 
lems. But it was felt that language was the basic reason for these 
problems. And, it was concluded, once this accident of birth was re- 
paired, Mexican Americans would melt into the Caucasian pot, just 
as Italians, Germans, and Poles had. 


Then came the black revolution. 

It exploded partly from a condition which had been known all along 
but was now the basis for a black-white confrontation: the color of 
one's skin was all too important in America. White was good. Black 
was bad. 

Faced with an identity crisis, many young Mexican Americans — 
excited by black militancy — decided that they had been misled by their 
elders into apathetic confusion. It came as a shock at first: Mexican 
Americans felt caught between the white and the black. Though counted 
as "white" by the Bureau of the Census, Mexican Americans were never 
really thought of as such. Though the speaking of foreign languages was 
considered highly sophisticated, Mexican Americans were condemned 
for speaking Spanish. 

The ambivalence felt vaguely and in silence for so long seemed to 
crystalize in the light of the black revolution. A Mexican American was 
neither Mexican nor American. He was neither white nor black. What 
was he then and where was he going? The young, the militant, and the 
angry wanted to know. 

When the Commission met in San Francisco in May 1967, Mexican 
Americans walked out protesting there was not a Mexican American 
Commissioner to represent them or enough attention accorded their 

In October of that year, the U.S. Inter-Agency Committee on Mexi- 
can American Affairs held a hearing in El Paso on the problems of the 
Spanish-speaking. The hearing, conducted at the same time President 
Johnson officially returned to Mexico a disputed piece of border land 
[El Chamizal], ended on a sour note. 

Governor John Cormally of Texas, accused of allowing the use of 
Texas Rangers to break strikes by Mexican American farm workers in 
the Rio Grande Valley, was roundly booed and hooted by Mexican 
Americans in the presence of President Johnson. Because the President 
was there, the incident was given wide publicity and it marked a rare 
national exposure of rising Mexican American militancy. 

In other areas of the Southwest, the strike-boycott of California 
table grapes led by Cesar Chavez was becoming a national and inter- 
national cause. Reies Lopez Tijerina's land grants struggle in New 
Mexico and its adversaries introduced violence to the movement. 
There were the high school walkouts in East Los Angeles by Mexican 
American students, and Rodolfo (Corky) Gonzales, head of the Denver- 
based Crusade for Justice, was preaching ethnic nationalism. Many 
Mexican Americans joined the Poor People's Campaign in Washington, 
D.C. in the summer of 1968. 

For the first time, many Americans became aware of Mexican 
American discontent. There was talk now of brown power. 

In November 1968, President Johnson named the first Mexican 
American to the Commission, Dr. Hector P. Garcia, a physician from 


Corpus Christi, Texas, and founder of the American G.I. Forum. 
A Commission hearing which would center on Mexican American 
problems was scheduled for December 9-14, in San Antonio. 

Protests helped bring it about. Now the controversy would begin. 

Some Mexican American leaders charged that Washington was 
meddling in something it knew nothing about and so would make things 
worse instead of better. They felt any problems Mexican Americans 
might have should be solved locally, by local leadership. The younger 
and the more militant Chicano leadership retorted that the problems 
had intentionally been ignored and that national exposure would bring 
new, more imaginative solutions. Traditional leadership, they claimed, 
had failed. 

These strong points of view, aired publicly before the Commission 
met, hint at the diversity of thought and feeling found among the some 
six to seven million Mexican Americans, most of whom live in California, 
Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. 

There are many splits in the black movement. But there's something 
the American Negro knows for sure — he's black. He can easily define 
his problems as a race which make him part of a cohesive force. This 
is what has forged the beginning of black power in the United States. 
As yet, most Mexican Americans seem not to identify with any one 
single overriding prob|£m as Americans. Though they know they're 
somehow different, many still cling to the idea that Mexican Americans 
are Caucasian, thus white, thus "one of the boys". 

Many prove it: by looking and living like white Americans, by 
obtaining and keeping good jobs and by intermarrying with Anglos 
who rarely think of it as a "mixed marriage," to these people, Mexican 
Americans are assimilating well into white American society. They felt 
uncomfortable about the Commission's hearing because in their eyes 
it would merely tend to continue the polarization of Anglos and Mexi- 
can Americans at a time in which they felt it was disappearing. 

To many other Mexican Americans, especially the young activists, 
Mexican Americans have for too long been cheated by tacitly agreeing 
to be Caucasian in name only. They say they would rather be proud 
of their Indian blood than uncertain about their Caucasian status. 
They feel they can achieve greater dignity by identifying with pre- 
Anglo Mexican Indian civilizations and even the Conquistadores than 
by pretending that they can truly relate to the Mayflower and early 
New England Puritanism. 

This division of feeling will continue and perhaps widen. The hearing, 
however, clearly showed that people who are indigenous to the South- 
west seem sometimes strangers in their own land and certainly in many 
ways curiously alienated from their fellow Americans. 


You know it almost from the beginning: speaking Spanish makes 
you different. Your mother, father, brothers, sisters, and friends 
all speak Spanish. But the bus driver, the teacher, the policeman, the 
store clerk, the man who comes to collect the rent — all the people who 
are doing important things — do not. Then the day comes when your 
teacher — who has taught you the importance of many things — tells 
you that speaking Spanish is wrong. You go home, kiss your mother, 
and say a few words to her in Spanish. You go to the window and look 
out and your mother asks you what's the matter? 

Nada, mama, you answer, because you don't know what is 
wrong. . . . 

Howard A. Glickstein, then Acting Staff Director of the Commission 
asked witness Edgar Lozano, a San Antonio high school student, 
whether he has ever been punished for speaking Spanish at school. 
Yes, in grammar, in junior high, and in senior high schools, he answers. 

". . . they took a stick to me," says Edgar. "It really stayed in 
your mind. Some things, they don't go away as easy as others." 

Edgar relates with some bitterness and anger the times he was 
beaten by teachers for speaking Spanish at school after "getting a 
lecture about, if you want to be an American, you have got to speak 

Glickstein tries to ask Edgar another question and the boy, this 
this time more sad than angry, interrupts and says: 

"I mean, how would you like for somebody to come up to you and 
tell you what you speak is a dirty language? You know, what your 
mother speaks is a dirty language. You know, that is the only thing I 
ever heard at home. 



"A teacher comes up to you and tells you, 'No, no. You know that 
is a filthy language, nothing but bad words and bad thoughts in that 

"I mean, they are telling you that your language is bad. . . . Your 
mother and father speak a bad language, you speak a bad language. 
I mean you communicate with dirty words, and nasty ideas. 

"... that really stuck to my mind." 

Edgar, like many Mexican Americans before him, had been scarred 
with the insults of an Anglo world which rejects everything except 
carbon copies of what it has decreed to be "American." You start being 
different and you end up being labeled as un-American. An Anglo- 
oriented school in a Mexican American barrio can do things to the 
teachers, too. Bad communication can sorely twist the always sensitive 
relation between teacher and pupil. 

Under questioning from David Rubin, the Commission's Acting 
General Counsel, W. Dain Higdon, principal of San Antonio's Haw- 
thorne Junior High School, 65 percent Mexican American, asserted 
that he felt there was something in the background or characteristics 
of the Mexican Americans which inhibits high achievement. 

Mexicans or Mexican Americans, Higdon told the Commission, 
have a "philosophical concept" in dealing with life which says lo que 
dios quiera, "what God wishes." 

An Anglo, on the other hand, Higdon continued, says "in God we 
trust," not "this is how it shall be and you are limited." 

"... you have unlimited horizons," Higdon explained to the Com- 
mission. "And whenever some situation befalls me [as an Anglo], I 
say it is my fault. Whenever some situation befalls a Mexican American, 
he may say it is his fault, but more generally and from a heritage 
standpoint he would be inclined to say, lo que dios quiera." 

Rubin : Would it be fair to say that you feel there are genetic factors 
involved which account for the differences in achievements, that mixture 
of genes causes differences in people? 

Higdon: Well, when you were in my office, I made that statement 
to you and I will stick by it. . . . 

The Mexican American child learns early that he is different. Then 
he learns that speaking Spanish prevents his becoming a good American. 
It's at this time, perhaps, when he most needs sensitive guidance. Yet, 
how do some teachers see the role of their profession? 

Rubin: Did you state in an interview with me and with another 
staff member that the obligations of the teacher were first to complete 
paperwork and secondly to maintain discipline? 

Higdon: Yes, sir, I did. 

Rubin: And thirdly, to teach? 

Higdon: Yes, sir. 

What can a school, in which teacher and student speak not only 
different languages but are also on different emotional wave lengths, 
do to a Mexican American child? 


This kind of school, Dr. Jack Forbes of Berkeley's Far West Labora- 
tory for Educational Research and Development, told the Commission: 

"Tends to lead to a great deal of alienation, a great deal of hostility, 
it tends to lead also to a great deal of confusion, where the child comes out 
of that school really not knowing who he is, not knowing what he should 
be proud of, not knowing what language he should speak other than 
English, being in doubt as to whether he should completely accept 
what Anglo people have been telling him and forget his Mexican 
identity, or whether he should listen to what his parents and perhaps 
other people have said and be proud of his Mexican identity." 

The word "Mexican" has been and still is in many places in the 
Southwest a word of contempt. Mexican Americans refer to themselves 
as Mexicanos or Chicanos with the ease of those who know and under- 
stand each other. But when some Anglos talk about "Mexicans" the 
word takes on a new meaning, almost the counterpart of "nigger." 

The Mexican Americans' insistence on keeping the Spanish language 
is but one aspect of cultural differences between Anglos and Mexican 

Values differ between these two groups for a variety of historical 
reasons. Mexicans have deep rural roots which have produced a sense 
of isolation. Spanish Catholicism has given Mexicans an attitude of 
fatalism and resignation. Family ties are extremely important and 
time, or clock-watching, is not. 

Luis F. Hernandez, assistant professor of education at San Fernando 
Valley State College in Los Angeles, has described the differences this 

"Mexican American values can be said to be directed toward tradi- 
tion, fatalism, resignation, strong family ties, a high regard for au- 
thority, paternalism, personal relations, reluctance to change, a greater 
orientation to the present than to the future and a greater concern 
for being than doing. 

"The contrasting Anglo-American values can be said to be directed 
toward change, achievement, impersonal relations, efficiency, progress, 
equality, scientific rationalization, democracy, individual action and 
reaction, and a greater concern for doing than being." 

Distortion of or deletion of Mexicans' contribution to the Southwest 
in history books can inhibit a Mexican American child from the 
beginning of his schooling. 

State Senator Joe Bernal of Texas told the Commission that the 
"schools have not given us any reason to be proud" of being Mexican 
Americans. People running the schools "have tried to take away our 
language," the senator continued, and so Mexican American children 
very early are made to feel ashamed of the Spanish language and of 
being Mexican. 

The children start building up defenses such as insisting on being 
called "Latin" or "Hispano" or "Spanish American" because, said 
Bernal, "they want no reference made to being Mexican." One of the 


reasons for this, Bernal told the Commission, is that "it has been 
inculcated" in the minds of grammar school children that the Mexican 
"is no good" by means of, for instance, overly and distortedly empha- 
sizing the Battle of the Alamo and ignoring all contributions made by 
Mexicans in the Southwest. 

To be Spanish, of course, is something else. Spanish has a European 
connotation and Europe is the motherland. 

Carey McWilliams in his "North From Mexico" explains that "the 
Hispanic heritage of the Southwest has two parts: the Spanish and the 
Mexican-Indian. Originally one heritage, unified in time, they have 
long since been polarized. Carefully distinguished from the Mexican, 
the Spanish heritage is now enshrined throughout the Southwest. It 
has become the sacred or templar tradition of which the Mexican- 
Indian inheritance is the secular or profane counterpart . . . ." 

Dr. Forbes noticed on his arrival in San Antonio for the hearing 
that things have not changed. 

". . . the San Antonio greeter magazine which I picked up in a hotel 
lobby and which had the statement about' the history of San Antonio 
said nothing about the Mexican heritage of this region, talking only 
about the glorious Spanish colonial era and things of this nature. . . ." 

To be Spanish is fine because white is important and Spain is white. 

Dr. Forbes reminded the Commission that "first of all, the Mexican 
American population is in great part a native population in the South- 
west. It is not an immigrant population. Now this nativity in the South- 
west stems not only from the pre- 1848 period during the so-called 
Spanish colonial and Mexican periods, but it also stems from the fact 
that many people who today identify as Mexican Americans or in some 
areas as Hispanos, are actually of local Indian descent. . . ." 

Aurelio Manuel Montemayor, who taught in San Felipe High 
School at Del Rio, Texas, explained to the Commission how in his 
view all this is ignored in the school curriculum. 

Quoting from a State-approved textbook, Montemayor said the 
book related how "the first comers to America were mainly Anglo- 
Saxons but soon came Dutchmen, Swedes, Germans, Frenchmen, 
Africans, then the great 19th century period of immigration added to 
our already melting pot. Then later on, it [the textbook] said, the 
Spaniards came." 

"So my students," continued Montemayor, "had no idea where 
they came from" and wondered whether "they were part of American 
society." This frustrated Montemayor so much, he said, that he told 
his students "let's see if we can write our own textbook." He instructed 
them to write papers on the subject, "Who Am I?" 

"They told me in their words," Montemayor said, "that they were 
inferior to the standards of this country. That no matter how much 
they tried they could never be blonds and blue-eyed." 


San Felipe High School is located in the San Felipe Independent 
School District of the city of Del Rio which also contains the Del Rio 
Independent School District.^ San Felipe High School has about 97 
percent Mexican Americans and the Del Rio High School has about 
50 percent Anglos and 49 percent Mexican Americans. Though the 
Laughlin Air Force Base is located in the San Felipe Independent 
School District, the base children are bused to the more affluent and 
less Mexican American Del Rio High School. 

Some of Montemayor's students, prompted by the teacher's concern 
with self- identity, decided to work on a project called: Does San Felipe 
Have an Inferiority Complex? 

"They studied the schools, they studied the discontent in the San 
Felipe Community," Montemayor told the Commission. A boy and a 
girl interviewed parents at the air base and asked them what they 
thought of the San Felipe schools and whether they would allow their 
children to attend there. 

The boy and girl told Montemayor that base officials had them 
escorted to the gate when they discovered what they were doing. But 
not before a base mother told the young pollsters what she thought of 
San Felipe. 

Montemayor: ... [a woman told my students] that she wouldn't 
send her children to [San Felipe] district schools. They had them there 
for a semester, the neighborhoods were so dirty and all of that, and that 
the schools were falling down. And, of course, the students were finding 

'": out on their own and, of course, as far as morale, it couldn't have 
been lower. 

Many Mexican American youths, despite their low morale, continue 
on their business as best they can even though lamenting, as some of 
Montemayor's students, that no matter how much they try they will 
never be blond and blue-eyed. 

Others become ultramilitant as did David Sanchez, prime minister 
of the Brown Berets in Los Angeles, who told a newsman: 'There are 
very few gabachos [Anglos] who don't turn me off. To the Anglo, justice 
means 'just us'." 

And many others, as did some 1,500 Mexican Americans from 
throughout the Southwest who last March attended a "Chicano Youth 
Liberation Conference" in Denver, will adopt, in their anger, frustra- 
tion, and disillusion, a resolution which condemns the "brutal gringo 
invasion of our territories". 



The marchers, followers of farm labor leader Cesar Chavez, finished 
their 100-mile trek across the blazing hot desert from Indio, 
California, to the border town of Calexico on Sunday, May 18, 1969. 
According to the plan, Chavez' people were supposed to hold a solidarity 
rally with Mexican national farm workers at the international line. 
But the rally never took place. 

The official explanation was that the Mexican Government did not 
want its people to get involved in an American labor dispute, the 
California table grape strike-boycott. Actually, the Mexican workers 
who live in Mexico's border towns and work in American borderland 
farms and in American border cities are very much involved in a unique 
American labor controversy. As commuters, the Mexican workers 
are the unwitting pawns of an international labor dispute without 
precedence. The 1,800-mile United States-Mexico border stretches 
from the coast of California to the Gulf of Mexico in an irregular line 
which orators like to describe as the only such unfortified frontier in 
the world. This does not mean that "armies" do not crisscross this 
border every day. 

Perhaps the most telling contrast between the two countries is that 
while an army of fun-seeking American tourists crosses the border 
into Mexico, another army of job-hungry Mexicans crosses the line 
into the United States. 

The American tourists, for the most part, have a good effect on the 
Mexican economy and this army is welcomed with good will. The army 



of job-hungry Mexicans which commutes across the international Une 
has an adverse effect on American labor. For many years this was 
passively taken for granted. But now, in the age of activism, a con- 
frontation seems inevitable. 

The situation is a highly complicated and sensitive one because it 
involves mostly Mexicans against Mexican Americans. That is, the 
poorest of the poor Mexican nationals vying for jobs with Mexican 
Americans who are striving to attain U.S. economic standards. Result: 
Mexican nationals, because they're understandably willing to work for 
less, take jobs away from Mexican Americans. 

Even in their resentment, Mexican Americans find it difficult to 
condemn these commuters. They, their parents, or grandparents were 
in the same boat not too long ago. The fact remains that Mexicans are 
pitted against Mexican Americans for the lowest paid jobs in America. 

The problem is fvu-ther complicated by the fact that U.S. borderland 
businessmen fear that any effort to terminate the commuter program 
would result in a retaliatory refusal by Mexico to allow its citizens to 
carry on their extensive trade in American border towns, 

(Cheap labor on the Mexican side of the border attracts industrialists 
as much as it does growers. A free industrial zone program in Mexican 
border towns was started in 1965, whereby American industrialists 
can set up factories there under a special program which exempts them 
from all import duties. Mexican workers reportedly earn as little as 
$2 a day in these American factories. The American labor movement, 
which helped kill the bracero [Mexican farm labor] program, claims 
that in effect under this new plan — since braceros are no longer available 
in the United States — the work is now being taken to the braceros.) 

Former Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, in commenting on a court 
suit concerning the commuter problem, voiced his concern over United 
States- Mexico diplomatic relations should the commuter system be 

"[If] as a result of a substantial reduction in the commuter traffic 
across the border between Mexico and the United States, a significant 
number of Mexican nationals would be deprived of their earning power, 
the trade between the two countries would be substantially reduced," 
the Secretary said. "We would expect that this would have an im- 
mediate depressing effect on the economy of the region on both sides 
of the border. Moreover, the loss of gainful employment and dollar 
earnings by 30,000 to 50,000 Mexican nationals, estimated at over $50 
million annually, might compel the Government of Mexico to consider 
compensating steps, which wovild further damage the economic life of 
the region." 

This led a Commission staff report to conclude that : 

"The Mexican American in the border area is thus charged with 
the responsibility of protecting oiir diplomatic relations. The economic 



burdens involved in this charge, he may justifiably feel, should be 
borne by the Nation as a whole, not thrust upon a minority of its 

The Commission staff report notes that: "The commuter system 
has deep roots. People have commuted to work across the United 
States-Mexico border since the border's inception. Up until the 1920's 
this traffic was unrestricted." 

Since then, the law has been changed so that a Mexican national 
wishing to cross the border to work in the United States must obtain 
immigrant status. When he does, he is issued an alien registration card 
and in the vernacular of those concerned with the problem becomes a 
"green carder" after the color of the card. 

There is nothing in the law which says the green carder, though 
technically an immigrant, must live in the United States. Because the 
green carder usually performs agricultural work in the U.S. border- 
lands or menial jobs in the U.S. border cities, he prefers to live on the 
Mexican side to save money. 

The result is that these commuters, not really immigrants at all, 
use their green card merely as a working pass which permits them to 
cross the border. Basically then, the traffic of commuters is almost as 
unrestricted as it was in the twenties. But more to the point, as long 
as the Mexican commuter can live on the Mexican side he can afford 
to work for less than his Mexican American brother. (The Mexican 
American, of course, must also compete against the Mexican worker 
who crosses the border illegally.) 

The commuter system will be much harder to abolish than the 
bracero program which, until its demise, was another burden on the 
backs of the Mexican American farm and unskilled workers. 

The bracero program, initiated during World War II when farm 
labor was genuinely scarce, was a formal program whereby two Govern- 
ments, the United States and Mexico, made an agreement to bring 
Mexican farm laborers [braceros] to the United States until American 
farm workers were again available. Though farm workers feel the 
bracero program lasted too long after the war, the program was success- 
fully phased out when unemployed farm workers in the United States 
were able to convince authorities that such an agreement between the 
two countries was having an adverse effect on them. The green card 
commuter, on the other hand, is a bracero, who, it might be said, made 
his contract individually with the U.S. Government by becoming an 
"immigrant" in name if not in fact. 

Unlike the bracero, who came here under a special temporary 
arrangement, a commuter as an "immigrant" has virtually a permanent 
status, even though he has no intention of living permanently in the 
United States — as does the genuine immigrant. 

One of the ideas behind the march to Calexico was to recruit com- 
muters for Chavez' union. Commuters, as the Commission report shows. 



have been used as strike-breakers notably in farm labor disputes in 
Delano, California, and in Starr County, Texas. 

Knowing that commuters are forced by poverty to be commuters, 
the union knew the system would continue. So Chavez extended an 
invitation to join the union so that commuters would not work for less 
than Mexican Americans along the border. Though it looks like a simple 
solution, it must be seen from the context of a rich economy [the United 
States] living next door to a poor one [Mexico]. 

To the Mexican commuter, joining the union is not as attractive 
as it looks on the surface. For one thing, he knows that besides his 
labor, it's his docility which the employer appreciates, and he is aware 
that joining the union will only alienate him from his employer. He 
also reasons that if he joins the union, then it will be of little value for 
the employer to hire him [a unionized commuter] when he can hire local 
unionized workers, both of whom he would have to pay the same 

Domingo Arredondo, strike chairman of the United Farm Workers 
Organizing Committee, who participated in the labor dispute at Starr 
County, discussed his attempt to recruit commuters in testimony before 
the Senate Subcommittee on Migratory Farm Workers. 

"The problem about these green carders is that they come to work 
from Mexico every day. They will come in the morning and they will 
go back at night." 

After claiming that growers had raised the pay of commuters so 
they would not join the union, Arredondo testified that "we went and 
talked to these people [commuters] at the bridge, international bridge. 
We told them to cooperate with us for better wages and working con- 
ditions, but they always say that . . . they would sign but they would 
probably get laid off their jobs. So, really we couldn't get nowhere 
convincing them that a union is something that a worker needs." 

As the Commission's staff report points out, there is also, but to a 
smaller extent, commuter traffic across the American-Canadian border. 
However, the report continues, "Canadian commuters do not depress 
local economic conditions, as do Mexican commuters, because they 
live in a substantially identical cost-of-living economy, work in highly 
unionized occupations, and are highly unionized themselves. Being 
well assimilated into the labor force, they offer no undue competition 
to American labor." 

The Commission staff report notes that "there is wide disagreement 
about the actual extent of the commuter traffic. An Immigration and 
Naturalization Service survey on January 11 and 17, 1966, counted a 
total of 43,687 commuters. The United Farm Workers Organizing 
Committee, AFL-CIO, on the other hand, has estimated the number 
to be closer to 150,000. While the former estimate includes only daily 
commuters working along the border, the latter includes aliens remain- 


36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 22 


ing here for periods of weeks or months, usually working in areas 
farther north." 

Because the people involved in this commuter controversy are used 
to dealing with each other on a friendly basis for generations, and 
think of the border as an artificial line drawn by latecomers, the issue 
is one not only of great economic import but also of cultural significance. 

Between the two countries, writes J. Fred Rippy in his "The United 
States and Mexico," "there have been no natural barriers, the two 
nations being separated by an imaginary line, a barbed wire fence, an 
easily forded river, an undergrowth of mesquite or chaparral. Citizens 
of both nations have passed back and forth with little difficulty or 
interruption, or have settled in neighboring states amidst natural 
surroundings which have not repelled them by their unfamiliar 
aspects. ..." 

There's only one catch. On one side of the border, or frontera, is a 
rich Nation with the highest standard of living in history. On the other 
side is a poor Nation with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of cheap 

"The Mexican aliens, as a group, are a readily available, low-wage 
work force which undermines the standards American workers generally 
enjoy throughout the rest of the country," said the 1968 Report of the 
Senate Migratory Labor Subcommittee. "More importantly, the 
normal play of free enterprise principles is subverted and prevented 
from operating to develop standards along the border commensurate 
with the American standards. So long as Mexican aliens are allowed 
indiscriminately to work in the American economy, and take their 
wages back to the low-cost Mexican economy, the growth of the Ameri- 
can standards will continue to be stultified." 

Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, speaking on a pro- 
posed amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act, said: 

"In El Paso [an urban Texas city], where unemployment is currently 
some 35 percent greater than the State average, the estimated number 
of commuters in 1966 was more than double the number of unemployed. 
In El Centre, California, [a rural area city], where the unemployment rate 
is currently 13.1 percent, the estimated number of commuters in 1966 
was nearly double the number of unemployed." 

When talking about themselves or about each other, Mexicans and 
Mexican Americans refer to themselves simply as "Mexicanos." 
The commuter problem is beginning to cut a wedge into this traditional 
term. When poor Mexican Americans have to compete for low-paying 
jobs against very poor Mexican nationals only the poor suffer. But 
resentment builds up between the poor and the very poor. 

And when that happens, the border becomes a real dividing line. 




For the Mexican American in the Southwest, poverty is often ex- 
perienced part of the time in the city and the rest of the year in the 
country. But no matter where he might be living at the moment, 
Mexico and its poverty hover over him like an ominous cloud. 



The closer the Mexican American is to the border, the lower his 
wages are — whether in the field or in the city. 

Sometimes it's just a matter of a few miles. 

Luis Chavez, 55, a father of nine children, who lives near Edinburg, 
Texas, in the border county of Hidalgo, explained this phenomenon 
under questioning from Cruz Reynoso, special legal consultant to the 

Reynoso: Now tell me, during the time that you are in the south of 
Texas, approximately how much do you earn in your work as an agricul- 
tural worker? 

Chavez: There are times, let's speak of certain areas, if from where I 
live going North, for instance, up to about 15 miles, they pay $1.15 an 
hour. In other places in the other direction, say, going South [toward 
the border] . . . they pay $1 an hour .... There are other areas [closer 
to the border] where they are paying less than a dollar. 

But traveling 15 miles north from his Rio Grande Valley is not 
enough for Chavez to make ends meet. It is not far enough from the 
border and the cheap labor offered by his Mexican brothers across the 

So Chavez must go part of the year to the most un-Mexican of 
places, Michigan. 

"Due to the lack of sufficient economic development and the declin- 
ing state of agriculture . . . poverty is most acutely felt in the fields of 
the Rio Grande Valley," the social action department of the Texas 
Catholic Conference told the Senate Subcommittee on Migratory 
Labor. "The overwhelming majority of hired farm workers in this 
State are Mexican American. Because of the lack of opportunities in 
this area, 88,700 Texas farm workers (not including their families) are 
forced to migrate from their homes every year in search of employ- 
ment. Unfortunately, because of the vast supply of 'green carders', 
that is, people who have been granted immigrant status but who live in 
Mexico and work in the United States, the domestic workers are unable 
to compete with the depressed wages that result from the availability 
of cheap labor to the growers. This accounts for the fact that almost 
one-half of the Texas migrant workers come from the four counties of 
the Lower Rio Grande Valley." 

Chavez, who told the Commission he went to school only 1 day 
in his whole life and speaks no English, wants a better life for his nine 
children. At the time he testified, he, his wife Olivia, and their children, 
lived in a two-bedroom shack near Edcouch, Texas. 

Turning to Mrs. Chavez, Reynoso asked how a couple with nine 
children can live in a two-bedroom house. 

Mrs. Chavez: Well, in the children's room there is four sleeping 
there and in our room five girls sleep together with us. 

Chavez explained that some of his neighbors in his barrio have 
better houses than his because some families sacrifice the schooling 
of their children for material benefits. 



Chavez: ... As far as I am concerned, the little that I have been 
able to get, to earn in one place or another, outside even the State of 
Texas, has been with the purpose of giving an education to my children. 

After explaining that work is hard to get in the summer in the Rio 
Grande Valley, Chavez told the Commission he migrated about the 
second week in July. 

Reynoso: Why did you wait until then? 

Chavez: We wanted to wait for the children to finish school. . . . 

Though work was relatively good in the North, Chavez continued, 
he sent his two older sons back to Texas in time for the beginning of 
school even though "the rest of the family, the small ones, we remained 
in order to work a little longer." 

Living conditions for the Chavezes while migrating to the North 
are even worse than at home in Texas, Mrs. Chavez' testimony to the 
Commission showed. While traveling, everyone from 8 years on up 
works and the Chavez family usually lives in a one-room shack in 
labor camps, where, according to Mrs. Chavez, it is not unusual to 
have only one bathroom for 200 to 250 people. 

Describing how the family lives in a one-room shack while migrating, 
Chavez told the Commission: 

"... you put some partitions and you put some cots on one side and 
some cots on this side and then you cook your meals on the edge where 
the door is, that is where the small kitchen is. And on the table we put 
a hot plate on top of that." 

Reynoso: And the whole family lives there? 

Chavez: Yes, we have to manage . . . the ceiling isn't high enough to 
put three cots on the top of each other, so we put cots on one side and 
two on the other side and two here, and two across and two criss- 
crossed, we sort of complete the entire family. 

And how much does the Chavez family of 11 earn while migrating 
for about 4 months out of the year? 

Chavez : Approximately when we come back home . . . the most we 
are able to keep [after expenses on the road] is about $1,200 to $1,300 
free when we come back home. 

Reynoso: And during the time, all told, how much did you earn 

Chavez: Between $2,500, thereabouts . . . this is the entire family 
that makes those earnings, those earnings are for the entire family. 

Reynoso asked one of Chavez' sons, Jose, 19, whether counselors at 
his school in Texas, which is about 90 percent Mexican American, 
encourage students to continue their schooling. 

Jose: Most of the time when a student has a problem in school, he 
tried to go to the counselor, but she always tells you that she is too 
busy, she will get back to you later. Instead of going back again you just 
stay with it. . . . 



Reynoso: How many counselors do you have at this school? 

Jose: One. 

Reynoso: How many students are there? 

Jose: About 1,100. 

Reynoso: Has there been some concern with respect to getting ad- 
vice as to going to college and that sort of thing in addition to plain 
counseling at the high school? 

Jose: Most of the time students that I have talked with say that the 
teacher says the opportunities are there to go to college which she 
doesn't talk about it too much to us. 

Reynoso: So the young people in high school don't know anything 
about the opportunities? 

Jose: Most of them don't. 

Reynoso : Do you yourself hope to go on with your education if you 
make it through high school okay? 

Jose: Yes, I do. ... I would like to be a mathematics teacher. 

Like the Chavezes, Jesus Garcia, 36, his wife Manuela, and their 13 
children live their poverty both in the country and in the city. The 
difference is that Garcia lives, when not migrating, in a large urban 
city, San Antonio, and understands well how it is to be poor in small 
farming towns and in the metropolis. 

While in San Antonio, the Garcias, whose children's ages range 
from 8 months to 15 years, live in a two-room house; a bedroom and 
a kitchen. Asked by Reynoso how the family of 15 sleeps, Mrs. Garcia 
answered: "In the bedroom I have four [beds], and I have another one 
in the kitchen, and that is it." Mrs. Garcia related that they have no 
bathroom, no shower, no television set, no telephone, and no radio set. 

The summer before the hearing, Garcia migrated to Michigan and 
other Northern States and after Sji months in the fields was able to 
bring back to San Antonio $300, after expenses. Asked what he did 
with the $300, Garcia answered that much of it went to paying off 
debts in San Antonio, where he is making payments on his two-room 

Reynoso: And you are able to keep up with the payments? 

Mrs. Garcia: No, we are not keeping up with the payments. 

Turning to the husband, Reynoso asked him where he works in 
San Antonio. 

Garcia: ... I am working for a company, an oil company. 

Reynoso: . . . and how much do you make? 

Garcia: $1.35 an hour I am making now. 

Reynoso: How long have you been working for this oil company? 

Garcia: I have been working for them about 3 weeks .... 

Reynoso: And before that where were you working? 

Garcia: In a restaurant. 

Reynoso: How much did they pay there? 

Garcia: $1.15 an hour. 



In the months before the hearing, Garcia, who had gone to school 
only 2 months in his life, had worked at what he could from the Rio 
Grande Valley to the Northern States, but never made more than $1.35 
an hour and never for long. 

Directing his questioning to Mrs. Garcia, Reynoso wanted to know 
whether the family participated in the food stamp program [a plan 
which permits poor families to buy food cheaply through the purchase 
of Government stamps]. 

Mrs. Garcia: No. 

Reynoso: Why not? 

Mrs. Garcia: We don't have enough money to buy the stamps. 

Later, Reynoso asked the woman's teenage daughter, Maria, "Your 
mother said that you do not participate in the [school] program for 
free lunches, is that right?" 

Maria: Yes. 

Reynoso: And why haven't you talked to the principal about [the 
free lunches]? 

Maria: Because I am ashamed. 

Reynoso: And if you wouldn't have to ask or beg for food, if it were 
just offered, would you take it? 

Maria: Yes, I would. 

Father Ralph Ruiz, a Catholic priest who works in the barrios of 
San Antonio, told the Commission that even though there are many 
families like the Chavezes and Garcias, too many people prefer to close 
their eyes to the problem. 

Father Ruiz: . . . They [public officials] deny hunger. You see, we have 
to preserve an image of San Antonio . . . people can starve and people 
can be hungry and poor, but let's not tell the Nation this, you know, 
because we suffer, our reputation suffers. We are more concerned with 
images than with people. 

The priest told the Commission that the exposure of extreme poverty 
in San Antonio, by citizens' committees and a television program brought 
into the area FBI agents "asking questions, taking my time to prove 
that what we claim [poverty and hunger in the San Antonio area] is 
not true. I can handle these guys myself, they don't [frighten] me and 
they don't intimidate me. But when they go and bother people who are 
no match for them, I think this is a crime myself." 

Father Ruiz: They [FBI agents] invade the privacy of the poor. 
They ask them if they are hungry, how much money they make, they 
go into their kitchens and into their living rooms. . . . They say they 
want to find out if there are hungry people in San Antonio. What do 
they want? These FBI agents, what do they know about hunger, about 
the poor? . . . 

Locally, the priest told the Commission: "The welfare system intimi- 
dates our people, harasses them, asks them unnecessary questions. The 
family practically has to go to confession to them in order to get some 

help " 



As for the food stamp program, Father Ruiz told the Commission 
that he has seen store signs saying to separate the food that can be pur- 
chased with stamps from the rest before going to the cashier. 

"This is a pubHc insult," Father Ruiz said. "Why must they have 
stamps? If stamps equal money, then send them money. All they do is 
tell the whole store there that they are under welfare. ..." 

Welfare itself, the priest continued, "has become a master over the 
lives of these people. They fear it." 

Rubin asked him to explain. 

Father Ruiz: Their total life depends [on it], what other income 
do they have? When characters like the FBI agents come around asking 
this kind of questions . . . about how much money you get, does your 
husband work, what do you eat, are you telling the truth. Their very 
existence is at stake. Their very existence depends on a paternalistic 
type and very inadequate type of welfare. It is the master. They get 
their livelihood from there, and the welfare knows it. 

The priest said that the Federal Government, despite his anger with 
the FBI, should run the welfare programs and that the system should 
be changed so that people on welfare be given an incentive to work. 

After pointing out that some families of four or more members 
have to survive on $123 a month. Father Ruiz proposed one solution: 

"... I would put a minimum according to the families, say this 
family should get $300 per month. If somebody works in the family 
and makes $100, well, then the Government would supplement $200. 
The way it is right now, let's say, if the mother works, a mother on 
welfare works, say she irons clothes or washes clothing for somebody 
else, to make extra dollars, she has to report that. If she lives in a 
housing project ... if she reports this to the housing project her rent 
will come up. And if the welfare agent knows about this, her check 
comes down. So it is best for her not to work at all. She endangers 
what she is getting. 

"I know a case where this lady refused to take her social security 
increase in money because her rent would come up and she would 
be losing more money than otherwise. So the person is enslaved in this 
circle. ... I would give an opportunity to the people to do some work, 
not to be afraid of work, fearing their check will come low, or the 
housing rent will come up. To guarantee a monthly income, not to 
enslave them but to free them." 




When the Mexican American in the Southwest complains about 
having nightmares instead of the American dream, he's usually 
told: "Education is the answer, amigo. Get an education and your 
problems will be solved." 

Who can argue with that? At the San Antonio hearing, however, the 
Commission heard experts in the field of educating bilingual and bi- 
cultural children argue with the premise behind this alleged panacea. 
The premise, of course, is that the Mexican American child can re- 
ceive a meaningful education merely by wanting it. 

Dr. George I. Sanchez of the University of Texas told the Commis- 
sion that in his State "persons of Spanish surname ... 17 years of age 
or older averaged 4.7 years of school, whereas the Negroes averaged 8.1, 
and the average of the population averaged 10 plus." 

In California, that State's Advisory Committee to the Commission 
reported that the median school years completed for Mexican Ameri- 
cans was 8.6, for Negroes, 10.5, and for Anglos, 12.1. 



Why is Juanito so far behind? 

One of the reasons is that many Mexican American children enter 
school speaking little or no English because, generally, only Spanish is 
spoken at home. About the first thing that Juanito encounters at school 
is an IQ [intelligence quotient] test — in English. Usually, he makes a 
bad showing because of his limited knowledge of English. This means 
that at best he will be considered a "slow learner" and treated accord- 
ingly; at worst he will be placed in classes for the mentally retarded. 
Either way, the child begins his school career with a stigma which will 
remain for the rest of his life. Though many educators have recom- 
mended abolishing IQ tests in the early grades — as has been done by the 
Los Angeles School District — others have recommended that the tests 
be made more realistic. 

In California, Mexican American students once labeled mentally 
retarded showed dramatic increases in their IQ scores after taking 
Spanish-language tests. The report of the tests, submitted to the Cali- 
fornia Board of Education in May 1969, said that some children have 
been victims of a "retarding influence" by being left in the mentally re- 
tarded classes for long periods of time. The children who took part in 
the study were in such classes on the basis of English-language IQ tests. 
When they were retested in the Spanish language, the children's IQ 
scores jumped by as much as 28 points. 

Unfortunately, such studies, as enlightening as they are, do not 
change other realities. Reforms, which cost money, must be imple- 
mented to change the shabby education which many Mexican Ameri- 
cans receive. In Texas, although State allotments to school districts are 
determined by the average daily attendance, also considered are the 
level of academic attainment and the length of teachers' experience. 
Consequently, inequities are created between wealthier "Anglo dis- 
tricts" and less affluent Mexican American districts. 

A Commisson staff study of nine school districts in the San Antonio 
area showed that in the Northeast School District [predominantly 
Anglo] expenditures per pupil from all revenue sources in 1967-68 
amounted to $745.07. In the Edgewood School District [predominantly 
Mexican American] expenditures per pupil, also from all revenue 
sources, amounted to $465.54. The staff report showed that 98 percent 
of the noncollege degree teachers employed in the nine San Antonio dis- 
tricts are concentrated in the predominantly Mexican American 

An Edgewood district student told the Commission that a teacher 
admitted to a class that he was not qualified to teach the course and 
asked the students to bear with him. Another student testified that 
Mexican Americans are counseled away from college and into voca- 
tional training. A high school senior said Armed Forces representatives 
go to the schools before graduation to induce boys to enter the service. 
Commissioner Hector Garcia wanted to know whether any scientists, 



doctors, lawyers, or businessmen ever visited the schools to encourage 
graduating students to enter these fields. No, the boy answered. 

Edgewood's financial situation could be improved, for example, by 
merging with the San Antonio Independent School District. Edgewood 
has unsuccessfully petitioned for merger several times to equalize Edge- 
wood's property tax base with that of San Antonio's. But political reali- 
ties are at work to make this impossible. Indeed, districts are often 
created to avoid integration of Anglo and Mexican American students. 
In one case in Texas, the students residing at Laughlin Air Force Base 
[89 percent Anglo] are bused through the 97 percent Mexican American 
San Felipe School District (in which the base is located) to the Del 
Rio School District [51 percent Anglo]. 

As a result, Federal funds are awarded the Del Rio district for the 
education of military dependents. For example, in 1966 Del Rio 
received more than $200,000 in Federal impacted aid funds, while San 
Felipe, whose district boundaries encompass the Air Force installa- 
tion, received less than $41,000. 

In an impassioned plea to the Commission, Homero Sigala, school 
superintendent at San Felipe, called this situation "unfair" and asked 
that the Commission advise the President, Congress, and the Air 
Force "to direct the Commander at Laughlin Air Force Base to send 
the students residing at Laughlin to the San Felipe schools." 

Unfair though it may be, the political reality of the situation is that 
even though Val Verde County, where San Felipe is located, is about 
50 percent Mexican American, there are no Mexican Americans on the 
five-member county school board. In other words, Mexican Americans 
have no political muscle to make much of an impression on Washington. 

This might be attributed to what Dr. Jack Forbes of Berkeley's 
Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development 
described to the Commission as the "conquered population" syndrome. 
The indigenous people of Mexico, who included those in what is now 
the American Southwest, first experienced the Spanish conquest, 
followed by a long period of colonialism. Dr. Forbes explained. This 
was followed by the Anglo-American conquest of the Southwest, at 
the end of the Mexican-American War. 

To understand the significance of this syndrome. Dr. Forbes con- 
tinued, "one must of course get past the romance and mythology of 
the supposed westward movement of the pioneers and look at the 
Anglo-American conquest of the Southwest as we might look at the 
German march eastward against the Poles or as we might look at the 
Franco-Norman conquest of England, in other words, in a purely 
detached and objective manner." 

And if we are to do this, continued Dr. Forbes, "we would see the 
U.S. conquest of the Southwest as a very real case of aggression and 
imperialism, that it involved not only the military phase of immediate 
conquest, but the subsequent establishment of a colonial society, a 



rather complex colonial society because there was not one single 
colonial office to administer Mexican American people. Instead, there 
were many institutions that were created to control and administer 
Mexican American people and also to enable the dominant population 
to acquire almost complete control of the soil and the other forms of 
wealth, of the social institutions, cultural institutions, and so on. 

"Now the conquest in the colonial period can be further understood 
if we think about a community such as the city of Los Angeles in Cali- 
fornia which has long had a large Mexican American population but in 
which no major institution of any kind is controlled even proportionately 
to numbers by the Spanish-speaking population." 

The concept of conquest, the Berkeley historian told the Commis- 
sion, is very often ignored but "I can't emphasize it too much because 
we're beginning to learn the process of conquest," particularly the 
"tremendous effect upon people's behavior." 

"For example," Dr. Forbes continued, "a conquered population tends 
to exhibit certain characteristics such as apathy, apparent indifference, 
passivity, and a lack of motivation in relation to the goals of the 
dominant society." 

Another dimension of the Mexican American educational quandary 
was posed by Dr. Manuel Ramirez, an assistant professor of psychol- 
ogy at Rice University, Houston, who spoke of the conflict of cultures 
between the Anglo and the Mexican American. 

"My research has identified two different kinds of conflict," he stated. 
"The first type arises as a result of the fact that [the Mexican Ameri- 
can] is led to believe that he cannot be identified with two cultures at 
the same time. There is one message that is given by his parents, his 
relatives, and other Mexican American students, who tell him that if 
he rejects Mexican American culture and identifies with the Anglo cul- 
ture, he may be considered a traitor to his ethnic group." Dr. Ramirez 
went on to say: "The other message comes from teachers, employers, 
and Anglo friends, who tell him that if he doesn't reject the Mexican 
American culture, he will be unable to reap the educational and eco- 
nomic benefits that are in the Anglo culture. 

"The second type is really a series of conflicts which come about be- 
cause the Mexican American student is bringing with him a series of 
behaviors, perceptions, methods of viewing the world, of doing things . . . 
and this conflicts with the value system of the Anglo middle class." 
Then he concluded: 

"The big problem that we face as Mexican Americans is, how can we 
have our children maintain as many of the Mexican American values as 
possible and still be a success in the Anglo world? . . . And if we could 
have people who are sensitive to our culture, people who understand 
our problems and don't take this as a criticism to some teachers, I think 
that people like myself and others in Texas and other parts of the 
Southwest are living testimony that there were some Anglo teachers 
who work, but there aren't enough of them." 



Giving another view, Dr. Sanchez told the Commission that one 
of the barriers to educational reform in Texas was "the poverty of 
Mexican Americans and their lack of effective statewide political 

"[Mexican Americans] have not been heard yet as an effective 
political force," Dr. Sanchez said. "We number some 2)2 million in the 
State of Texas and that political weight has not been effectively 
harnessed to bring about reforms." 

Nevertheless, testimony at the San Antonio hearing indicated that 
young activists are beginning to stir in the "conquered" Mexican 
American community. 

Homer Garcia, a student at San Antonio's Lanier High School, 
told the Commission how a group of students and parents fought for a 
change in curriculum in the predominantly Mexican American school 
to include such studies as chemistry, physics, algebra, trigonometry, 
calculus, and computer programing. According to Homer, about 500 
parents and 500 students turned out to a meeting in a community hall 
to hear the student demands for a better education. At another 
Mexican American school, Edge wood High, students demanded better 
qualified teachers. 

Howard A. Glickstein, then Acting Staff Director of the Commission, 
asked Homer how the turnout of parents to the Lanier High School 
meeting compared to the number of parents who usually attend PTA 

Homer : Nobody comes to PTA meetings. For one thing, the parents 
really don't know what a PTA is, because they're held during the 
daytime when — well, my parents, for instance, can't go to the PTA 
meeting because they are held during the day for the convenience of 
the teachers. My dad works during the daytime. My mother has to 
take care of my brothers. I mean, it is not to their convenience at all. 
It's a teachers' organization, not a parent-teacher organization. 

The concern of students and parents for better education at San 
Antonio's Mexican American schools brought about positive results, 
according to student testimony. Much credit was given to parents 
who backed the students in their demands for cvirriculum reforms. 
Community participation in implementing school reforms is essential, 
the Commission was told, if the powerlessness and alienation felt by 
the Mexican American community is to be corrected. Ignoring the 
community while planning reforms is not only an insult to parents, 
the Commission was told, but it also indicates that groups of elite 
educational reformers seem to think they are the only ones who know 
what's best for the children. 

In at least three instances, Anglo educators in their testimony to the 
Commission revealed that cultural differences and the involvement of 
the Mexican American community were not even considered in pre- 
paring studies or proposing school reforms. The director of the Texas 
Governor's Committee on Public Education admitted that Mexican 



American parents were not consulted during a 3 -year study on improv- 
ing education in Texas; a member of the Governor's committee re- 
lated that not one top-notch Mexican American educator was con- 
sulted during this same 3-year study, and the State commissioner of 
education said he was not familiar with studies which indicate that 
Mexican Americans experience culture conflict when they enter an 
Anglo-oriented school system. 

If regular education for Mexican Americans is inadequate and un- 
realistic, the education of migrant children is a national scandal. 

Dr. Joseph Cardenas, director of Migrant Education for the South- 
west Educational Development Laboratory and now superintendent of 
the Edgewood School District, estimated that the dropout rate for 
migrant children is about 90 percent. But more "startling," said Dr. 
Cardenas, is the fact that "one-fifth of migrants are school dropouts at 
the preschool age. That is, one-fifth of all migrant children never enroll 
in any school in spite of the State's compulsory attendance laws. So by 
the time they [migrant children] start the first grade, or they are 6 
years old, you have already lost 20 percent of your population." 

Of the 65,000 migrant students in Texas, less than 14 percent are in 
the upper six grades, Dr. Cardenas disclosed. The average income of 
the Texas migrant, he continued, is $1,400 a year and a "person with 
this amount of money will have a lot of difficulty in educating his 
children adequately." » 

The only solution, Dr. Cardenas said, is a multi-State educational 
program geared especially for migrant children, to follow them where- 
ever the parents are following the crops. After agreeing that this 
would cost a great deal of money. Dr. Cardenas asserted that actually 
the only real solution is to stop migration altogether. This last drew 
the applause of the audience. But the perennial question loomed: 

How can Mexican Americans in the border States afford to stop 
migrating as long as armies of cheap labor are allowed to cross the 
international border? 

While this part of the hearing was intended to probe into the educa- 
tional problems of Mexican Americans in the Southwest, something 
just as important emerged from the testimony: the Anglo children 
(and for that matter, the Negroes) had been cheated also — they had 
not been permitted to take advantage of the Southwest's cultural and 
language heritage. This became clear when Harold C. Brantley, super- 
intendent of the United Consolidated School District of Webb County, 
Texas, explained his district's bilingual program. 

It should be noted that the United States' first full-fledged bilingual 
program in public schools was not initiated in the Southwest, where its 
need had been apparent for generations, but in Florida — following the 
Cuban crisis. It was in Florida that Brantley got some ideas for the 
bilingual program in his school district. 



The philosophy behind his approach, Brantley told the Commission, 
was that "I don't feel like a kid's ability to speak Spanish is a detri- 
ment. I think that it is an asset. ... It is merely our responsibility as 
educators to turn this asset that these kids bring to us, where it not only 
becomes an asset to them, but can become an asset to the little blue- 
eyed, blond-haired Anglo." 

Brantley's district is made up of the larger part of the rural area of 
border Webb County — some 2,400 square miles — and does not include 
the county's largest city, Laredo. The district has 987 students, 47 per- 
cent of them Mexican American and 53 percent Anglo. Without waiting 
for more research, specialized teachers, bilingual instructional ma- 
terials, or substantial financial resources, Brantley in 1964 persuaded 
his staff, Anglo and Mexican American parents, and the Texas Educa- 
tion Agency to begin a bilingual program in his bicultural district. 

Today, in the district's three elementary schools, instruction is 50 
percent in Spanish and 50 percent in English in the first through 
fifth grades. 

"I am not a linguist," Brantley explained to the Commission. 
"My sole service is creating [an] atmosphere where things can happen." 

Brantley said his program does not ignore the fact that it is very 
important for schools to facilitate Mexican American children "getting 
into the mainstream of the dominant culture and the dominant language 
of the country." By the same token, Brantley continued: "We also 
try to stress to that child who comes from this other culture, speaking 
this other language [that] we want to provide him with the opportunity 
to improve upon his knowledge of his culture and his ability to function 
in his vernacular." 

As for the Anglo child, Brantley said, his district tries "to create 
an atmosphere in the classroom where the children who come to us 
from the dominant culture, speaking the dominant language . . . 
recognize that here this little kid [Mexican American] has got some- 
thing that he [Anglo] doesn't have, and that he ought to be interested 
in getting what this little kid can teach him." 

Warming up to the subject, Brantley asked the Commission: "Now, 
can you begin to see what this does for the stature of this little kid that 
comes from this other culture with this other language? Where he is 
made to feel like he can do something that somebody can't do, and that 
he has something that this other little kid wants to learn about?" 

The Commission understood. 



When Mexico lost the Southwest to the United States, the Treaty 
of Guadalupe-Hidalgo specifically guaranteed the property and 
political rights of the conquered native population. The treaty, exe- 
cuted on February 2, 1848, also attempted to safeguard the Mexican 
culture and language. 

Throughout the San Antonio hearing, it became clear that Mexican 
Americans in the Southwest cling tenaciously to their ancestors' culture 
and language. But it also became evident that the spirit of the treaty 
has been violated. 

Though Mexican Americans persist in retaining the Spanish language, 
they do so at the price of obtaining a second rate education because 
bilingualism has been suppressed and has never been accepted as an 
asset. Though they have kept their culture, they have had to pay for it 
by being stereotyped as backward or, at best, quaint. Nowhere is this 
more evident than in the jobs Mexican Americans have traditionally 
held in the Southwest and the jobs they hold now. It is almost the rule 
that only Mexican Americans who have been willing to sacrifice their 
culture and language have succeeded in an Anglo society. 

Carey McWilliams in "North From Mexico" says that the "basic 
factor retarding the assimilation of the [Southwest Mexican], at all 
levels, has been the pattern of his employment. 

"With few exceptions," says McWilliams, "only a particular class 
of employers has employed Mexican labor in the Southwest: large-scale 
industrial enterprises, railroads, smelters, copper mines, sugar beet re- 
fineries" and, of course, agriculture. . . . "Traditionally," continues the 
author, "Mexicans have been paid less than Anglo Americans for the 
same jobs. These invidious distinctions have reenforced the Mexican 
stereotype and placed a premium on prejudice . . . the pattern of em- 
ployment . . . dictated the type and location of residence. Segregated 


36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 23 


residential areas have resulted in segregated schools, segregated schools 
have reenforced the stereotype and limited opportunities for accultura- 

"In setting this merry-go-around in motion, the pattern of employ- 
ment has been of crucial importance for it has stamped the Mexican as 
'inferior' and invested the stereotype with an appearance of reality. . . ." 

It was revealed at the San Antonio hearing that in some industries 
Mexican Americans are not even employed as laborers. 

Under questioning, Ralph Allen, director of employee relations. 
El Paso Natural Gas Company, told the Commission that in the com- 
pany's Permian division no Mexican Americans are employed as un- 
skilled laborers. Working for the company is considered unusually 
beneficial because it does not offer the dead-end jobs Mexican Americans 
often get. Allen said the company's Permian division laborers must be 
high school graduates "because they advance from that on up through." 

Commissioner Hector P. Garcia noted that in part of the operating 
area of the El Paso Natural Gas Company, the percentages of Mexican 
Americans by county are the following: Jeff Davis, 56 percent; El Paso, 
44 percent; Brewster, 42.6 percent; Presidio, 40.5 percent; and Hud- 
speth, 29.4 percent. 

In the city of El Paso, where the company makes its headquarters 
and is about 50 percent Mexican American, Allen testified that out of 
1,150 employees only 13 percent were Mexican American. 

Commissioner Garcia noted that El Paso was "practically the first 
settlement north of the Rio Grande that was colonized by Spaniards 
and Mexican Americans" and that Spanish-speaking people have been 
in the area for "hundreds of years." "And yet," Garcia said, ". . . you 
haven't been able to find one single Mexican American that you could 
. . . employ as a laborer . . .?" 

Working for the telephone company can be advantageous because 
of good wages and opportunities for advancement. Telephone com- 
panies, as well as any other firms having contracts with Federal 
agencies, must comply with Executive Order 11246 which requires 
affirmative action in seeking out members of minority groups for 

Joe Ridgway, employment manager for the San Antonio metropolitan 
sector of the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, was questioned 
about the Executive order by the Commission's Acting General Counsel 
David Rubin. 

Rubin: You still haven't answered my question as to whether you 
have ever received a communication which has directed you to take 
affirmative action to seek out members of minority groups for employ- 

Ridgway: Yes, sir, we have and are following an affirmative action 
program that has been presented to me. 



Rubin: When was that done? 

Ridgway: In November. 

Rubin: Of this year? 

Ridgway: Of this year. 

In other words, though Executive Order 11246 was issued in 1965, 
Ridgway testified that a program of affirmative action in employing 
members of minority groups was not initiated until November of 1968, 
a month before the Commission hearing. 

Ridgway added, however, that the program was meant to "continue" 
to "pursue the things that we have historically done in this area." 

This exchange followed: 

Rubin: Prior to speaking with staff members of the Civil Rights 
Commission, were you aware that less than 15 percent of your employees 
were members of minority groups? 

Ridgway: As I remember, there was some question as to exact 
percentages, and that 15 percent mentioned was a little on the low 

Rubin: Were you aware of the percentage of the total number of 
employees constituted by minority groups at that time? 

Ridgway: Yes, I was conscious that there would be a percentage. 

Rubin: But you didn't know what the percentage was? 

Ridgway: The actual percentage, I did not know what it was and 
had no way of knowing it at that time. 

Rubin: Now, your 1968 [Equal Employment Opportunity — 1] 
form shows that out of 626 craftsmen, only 12, or under 2 percent 
have a Spanish surname. How do you account for this in a city that is 
close to 40 percent Mexican American? 

Ridgway: Though I would like to answer your question, I am at a 
loss as to how to historically go back. It predates what I am personally 
acquainted with and could answer to. . . . 

Yet, a couple of minutes before, Ridgway had testified that the 
company's new program for affirmative action in employing members 
of minorities was merely "to pursue the things that we have historically 
done in this area." Despite Ridgway's seeming confusion over the 
historical practice of employment discrimination, it became apparent 
at the hearing that historically the Mexican American and other minor- 
ities had been victims of discrimination in employment. 

It was put quite bluntly when Rubin questioned Robert A. Wallace, 
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. 

Rubin : Mr. Wallace, the banking industry has been said to have been 
traditionally — and I am quoting, "a white man's industry." Would you 
agree with that characterization? 

Wallace: Until about 2 years ago, I would have to agree with that, 
yes. . . . 

Wallace's reference to "2 years ago," coincides with a 1966 Treasury 
Department ruling that all banks receiving Federal deposits are cov- 



ered by Executive Order 11246, and therefore are required to under- 
take affirmative policies to recruit minority group persons. 

A Commission staff report, however, showed that though all banks 
visited reported that they had Federal deposits, only two said they had 
been informed of this requirement by the Treasury Department. And, 
only one bank reported the establishment of an affirmative program to 
recruit minorities. The staff report also revealed that in San Antonio, 
where almost half of the population is Spanish-speaking, only 5.6 per- 
cent of all bank officials were Mexican Americans, and nearly half of 
them were found in one bank, the Frost National Bank. Seven banks 
reported that none of their officials were Mexican American and five 
others reported that they had only one Mexican American official. 

Of the clerical and office workers, 16.4 percent were Mexican Ameri- 
can and 1.4 percent were Negro. The percentage of Mexican American 
office workers ranged from 100 percent in one bank (located in the pre- 
dominantly Mexican American area) to less than 1 percent in two banks. 

In the schools, a staff report indicted that in the San Antonio In- 
dependent School District there were 14 Mexican American ad- 
ministrators out of a total of 132 administrators. In the Bexar County 
[where San Antonio is located] Welfare Department, Mexican Ameri- 
cans held close to 50 percent of all jobs and nearly one-third of the 
supervisory and administrative positions. But, the report notes, though 
Mexican Americans comprised 75 percent of all welfare recipients in 
Bexar County, only 20 of 91 social workers, or less than 22 percent, 
were Mexican Americans. 

In nine restaurants surveyed by the Commission staff, less than 15 
percent of the customer-contact positions were held by minorities, while 
minorities held 93 percent of the noncustomer contact positions. 
The staff report showed that at the Texas Employment Commission, 
the State agency responsible for aiding persons in obtaining employ- 
ment, Mexican Americans held less than 7 percent of the nonclerical 
and custodial positions in the State of Texas. 

In emphasizing that the Commission was not trying to condemn 
one section of the country or any one industry, Commissioner Theodore 
M. Hesburgh said that in its 11 -year history, the Commission has found 
that "there isn't a single city. North, South, East or West, where we 
have gone to, where it doesn't appear very difficult for minority groups 
to have some kind of adequate representation in all kinds of businesses 
and professions and trades. 

"As a matter of fact," continued Commissioner Hesburgh, "I could 
say quite openly, the most difficult task we have had is with the con- 
struction trades where the minorities find it very difficult to become 
members of the unions." 

The historical pattern of employment for Mexican Americans was 
perhaps best dramatized by the controversy over employment prac- 
tices at Kelly Air Force Base, one of San Antonio's major employers. 



There is so much argument on the subject, that between June 1966 
and December 1968, there were six surveys of equal employment prac- 
tices conducted at Kelly. 

One of the reports, that of the Texas State Advisory Committee to 
the Commission, issued in June 1968, found that at Kelly Field there 
"are broad and glaring inequities in the distribution of supervisory and 
higher grade positions among Mexican Americans and Negroes. ..." 

The Advisory Committee said that among Mexican American white- 
collar employees at Kelly, 68,9 percent were in grades 1-5, for which the 
initial per annum salaries in 1966 were $3,609 to $5,331. 

In the higher pay scales, the committee reported, even though 
Mexican Americans comprise about 44 percent of the total work force, 
only 8 percent of them were in the $9,221 per year and up white-collar 
jobs and only 5 percent were in the $7,000 and up blue-collar jobs. 

The Advisory Committee also asserted that "there exists at Kelly Air 
Force Base and in the San Antonio community, among a significant 
number of Mexican American citizens and leaders, a lack of confidence 
in the base's management and equal employment opportunity program. 
The Mexican American community feels that it does not receive equal 
treatment and that Kelly Air Force Base management has failed to 
remedy this situation, despite the community's protestations. This 
fact takes on greater significance when it is recognized that Kelly Air 
Force Base is one of the largest employers of Mexican Americans in the 

Dennis Seidman, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff Personnel, on the 
other hand, curiously concluded, after his staff conducted a study, that 
there was a "lack of credibility" on the part of the Mexican American 
community, but asserted that there did not seem "to be a significant 
number of employees who felt that the employment opportunity pro- 
gram was a negative kind of program." Seidman also told the Commis- 
sion that he himself was not personally at Kelly during this particular 
study but drew his conclusions from reports by 12 personnel manage- 
ment experts who spent 6 weeks at Kelly. 

Howard A. Glickstein, then Acting Staff Director of the Commission, 
reminded Seidman that the Commission's Texas State Advisory Com- 
mittee report showed that in 1966, Mexican Americans held 11.6 
percent of the starting high grade jobs at Kelly. And that in 1967 that 
figure was 12.3 percent. 

"And your report," Glickstein continued, "I believe shows that in 
1968 it was 13.7 percent. 

"Now the Mexican Americans represent about 30 percent of the 
[higher category] employees, and about 44 to 45 percent of the total 
work force. Would you consider that a broad and glaring inequity?" 

Seidman: I think we have considered that in the report to be an 
imbalance in the number of people in each of these grades as related to 
their proportion in the population. 



Glickstein: Mr. Seidman, there is one overriding impression that I 
receive by reading your report, and I wonder if you would care to com- 
ment on it. It seems as though the word discrimination, or the word 
inequity, is just a dirty word that will not be used. Is there any reason 
why that is so? 

Seidman: . . . We put no value either positive or negative on those 
words. We have no evidence to indicate that there is discrimination. 
We have no empirical evidence that there has been discrimination and 
therefore the word discrimination does not appear. 

Glickstein wanted to know whether Seidman disputed a report 
issued by the subcommittee of the equal opportunity committee at Kelly 
before the hearing which asserted that "minority group members 
employed at Kelly during the period 1917 to 1966 did not have equal 
employment opportunities." 

Seidman: I think the phrase . . . which projected, as it were, a 
historical discrimination, is just that, a projection. I don't believe there 
are any — there are any empirical evidence in our report to indicate 
that there has been discrimination, by organization, by grade, or by 

Glickstein: Do you think it is possible to find out if there has been 
discrimination? Do you think that is a relevant consideration? 

Seidman: I think it is possible. I wouldn't know at the moment 
how to find out, historically. 

Later, Glickstein pointed out that at the rate Mexican Americans 
were obtaining higher grade level jobs at Kelly it would take about 17 
more years to equalize the situation. "And if they were to attain a 
proportionate number of jobs in proportion to their representation in 
the entire work force, it will take until about 2000." 

Seidman answered that he thought "there are 'many, many factors 
that impinge on predicting the rate of movement," and that minor- 
ities had made good progress in moving up to the higher levels especially 
in the past 12 months. 

Later, Matt Garcia, a Mexican American attorney who had handled 
job discrimination cases, told the Commission he felt the Air Force 
survey team, headed by Seidman, had come to San Antonio, "only in 
an effort to negate the Texas State Advisory Committee's report." 
Seidman had earlier testified that it was just a "coincidence" that his 
team made the study just after the Advisory Committee's and just 
before the Commission met in San Antonio. 

Attorney Garcia also charged that Seidman's contention that mem- 
bers of minorities were obtaining more higher paid jobs at Kelly was 
misleading because Seidman did not mention that more higher level 
positions had been created in 1968. It's true, he said, that in 1966 
there were 142 Mexican Americans in the beginning category of the 
higher paying jobs but the number had increased to 208 in 1968. 



Furthermore, he continued, Seidman did not mention the fact that in 
1967 there were 1,434 such jobs while in 1968 there were 1,520. 

Maj. Gen. Frank E. Rouse, Commander of Kelly Air Force Base, 
told the Commission he didn't believe "there was any necessity for 
Mr. Seidman and his [surveying] team in the first place," but he agreed 
that there is "an ethnic imbalance" in the number of good jobs Mexican 
Americans have at Kelly. However, he agreed with Seidman that this 
was not caused by "discriminatory acts either in the recent past, or 
the fairly distant past." 

I must believe what I see, can touch, and prove. And I think the 
conclusion I come to is that under the merit promotion system, rightly 
or wrongly, the opinion is that the best people were promoted." 

Despite General Rouse's contention that discrimination must be 
seen and touched to be proven, Mexican Americans have long noted 
that racial prejudice against them has been perpetrated in a more subtle 
way than against blacks but that it has been just as effective. 

Prof. Daniel P. Rodriguez of Trinity University in San Antonio, who 
also conducted an employment opportunity study at Kelly, explained 
to the Commission how this subtle discrimination works. 

During his investigation, Rodriguez told the Commission, he got the 
impression that Kelly management "were complying with the require- 
ment of the [equal employment opportunity] regulation without com- 
plying with the spirit of it." 

Some of management's remarks, Rodriguez said, "led me to believe 
that among some of these men, even though they felt there was no prej- 
udice or bias on their part, they were not even aware of it." 

Rodriguez: I had one supervisor tell me that when a Mexican Ameri- 
can was promoted you had to be careful to insure that the Anglo group 
there was going to accept him as a supervisor. What he left unsaid of 
course — and I casually pointed it out to him — was that when an Anglo 
was being promoted that there was never any question about whether 
he could handle minority group people working under him. 

Glickstein: Did you think that he thought he was discriminating? 

Rodriguez: I am positive that he didn't feel that he was discriminat- 
ing, or that the statement he made to me was — that there was anything 
wrong with it. I think he was a little bit surprised when he realized 
what he had said. 

The historical pattern of Mexican American employment can be 
changed abruptly for the better with imagination, know-how, sensi- 
tivity, and money. This was the message conveyed to the Commission 
by Joseph B. Andrasko, director of industrial relations for the aeronau- 
tics division of the Ling-Temco-Vought Aerospace Corporation of 
Dallas, in one of the hearing's most positive presentations. 

Andrasko said that in 1965, his company, which builds airplanes, 
foresaw the need for about 14,000 semi skilled and skilled workers for 
its expansion program. Dallas, where the company is located, could not 



be a main source of labor because that city had a less than 2 percent 
unemployment rate. It was suggested that the Rio Grande Valley, 
whose unemployment rate is very high as a result of the cheap labor 
available just across the border, be considered as a source for workers. 

"This came as much of a shocker," Andrasko said, "as the Rio 
Grande Valley is approximately 450 to 500 miles from our plant. . . ." 

Nevertheless, the company took the plunge and after 2}^ years of 
negotiations with local, State, and Federal agencies, the company 
reached an agreement to train 750 persons in the Rio Grande Valley 
in a period of 12 months. Of the 750 persons who entered the training 
program, 684 finished the course and 622 were still on the payroll at the 
time of the hearing. The trainees, 97 percent of them Mexican Ameri- 
cans, who could not have hoped to earn more than $1,200 to $1,500 a 
year in the Valley, started making $5,000 to $6,000 a year after 5 weeks' 

It was quite an undertaking, considering the workers had to be up- 
rooted from the Rio Grande Valley to live in a Dallas suburb, where 
they would have to look for housing and schools for their children. 
These problems were solved, Andrasko said, by assigning company 
counselors to help the workers get settled in Dallas. 

"The counselors were Mexican American," Andrasko said, "all of 
them. And we did it by design." 

Federal and State funds provided wages for the trainees while they 
trained, salaries for instructors, rent for equipment that had to be taken 
to the Valley, and transportation for the workers from the Valley to 
Dallas. It cost the State and Federal Government about $1,200 per 

Was the money well spent? 

Andrasko told the Commission that the company made a survey 
which showed that when the trainee started working full-time it took 
about 18 months for the newly trained worker to pay $1,200 in taxes. 

"As a taxpayer I'd say you're darn right [the money was well spent]," 
Andrasko said. 

The trainees, Andrasko added, turned out to be "conscientious, hard 
workers and followed instructions." As a matter of fact, he continued, 
the first two wing panels which they built after training were found to 
have no defects by the inspectors. 

The team of Mexican Americans who were brought to Dallas from 
the Valley broke the myth that Mexican Americans can do only certain 
types of work, Andrasko said. All they needed was an opportunity to 
prove themselves. 




Justice is the most important word in race relations. Yet too many 
Mexican Americans in the Southwest feel with David Sanchez, Los 
Angeles Brown Beret leader, that "to Anglos justice means 'just us'." 

La Ley or The Law, as Mexican Americans call the administration 
of justice, takes forms that Anglos — and even Negroes — never have to 
experience. A Mexican American, though a third generation American, 
for instance, may have to prove with documents that he is an American 
citizen at border crossings while a blue-eyed blond German immigrant, 
for example, can cross by merely saying "American." 

Besides the usual complaints made by racial minorities about police 
brutality and harassment, Mexican Americans have an added problem: 
sometimes they literally cannot communicate with the police. A Com- 
mission report told of a young Mexican American, who, while trying 
to quell a potentially explosive situation, was arrested because the 
police officers, who did not understand Spanish, thought that he was 
trying to incite the crowd to riot. 

In another case, the Commission report told of a Mexican American 
in Arizona who was held in jail for 2 months on a charge of sexually 
molesting his daughter. As it turned out, he had been mistakenly 
charged with this off"ense, but he did not voice any objections at the 
time because he did not understand the proceedings and no interpreter 
was provided for him. A probation officer, who spoke Spanish, talked to 
the defendant later and upon learning the facts explained the situation 
to the local magistrate, who dismissed the case. 

One of the many reasons a Mexican American cannot relate well 
to La Ley is that he doesn't see many of his own in positions of author- 
ity serving on agencies which administer justice. The 1960 census 
indicated that Mexican Americans represent about 12 percent of the 
Southwest's population. In 1968, only 7.4 percent of the total uni- 
formed personnel in law enforcement agencies in the Southwest were 
Mexican Americans, according to those agencies answering a Com- 
mission questionnaire. 

As for policymaking positions, the Commission learned in its sur- 
vey that only 10 law enforcement agencies are headed by Mexican 
Americans and eight of these are in communities of less than 10,000 
in population. 




(A Commission study of the grand jury system of 22 California coun- 
ties concluded that discrimination against Mexican Americans in juror 
selection is "as severe — sometimes more severe — as discrimination 
against Negroes in grand juries in the South.") 

In East Los Angeles, which is the largest single urban Mexican 
American community in the United States, "friction between law en- 
forcement and the Mexican American community" is on the increase, 
according to a psychiatric social worker, Armando Morales. 

Morales is State chairman of the California Unity Council, Police 
Community Relations Committee, which is composed of members from 
five statewide Mexican American organizations — the Community 
Service Organization, the League of United Latin American Citizens, 
(LULAC) the Mexican American Educators, the American GI Forum, 
and the Mexican American Political Association. 

One of the reasons for this increasing friction. Morales told the Com- 
mission, was that "gradually the Mexican American community is be- 
coming much more aggressive as to its social demands, its social needs. 
It is becoming more active. And, at the same time, law enforcement is 
becoming much more suppressive, hence creating that much more fric- 
tion between the two." Morales also contended that police aggressive 
behavior seems to be condoned by high level government. 

Morales charged "indifference and apathy to the justice and needs of 
the Mexican American" by the Federal Government. He said his council 
investigated 25 cases of alleged police brutality, five of which were sub- 
mitted for consideration to the FBI. The FBI referred them to the 
U.S. Department of Justice, which in turn ignored the matter, accord- 
ing to Morales. 

The Reverend John P. Luce, rector of the Epiphany Parish in East 
Los Angeles, agreed with Morales that communication between Mexi- 
can Americans and the Los Angeles police had broken down and said he 
feared "we are on a collision course in Los Angeles" along the lines of a 
"police-barrio confrontation." Rev. Luce charged that the Los Angeles 
police and sheriff departments "refuse to talk with militant and political 
leaders with whom they might disagree, with young people, with a 
whole variety of activist people who want change." 

The Anglo clergyman told the Commission that the indictment of 13 
Mexican American leaders in the March 1968 East Los Angeles High 
School walkouts has led to the strong feeling that "the [Los Angeles] 
district attorney has singled out the Mexican community because he 
thought they were weaker than some other communities" but that he 
"miscalculated on this point, because the Mexican is organizing even 
that much more." 

A Commission staff report said that "one of the most common com- 
plaints (throughout the Southwest) was that Anglo juvenile offenders 
are released to the custody of their parents and no charges are brought, 
while Mexican American youths are charged with offenses, held in cus- 
tody, and sent to a reformatory." 



A counselor for the New Mexico State Employment Office told the 
Commission's Advisory Committee: 

". . .1 was very shocked when I became involved in working with 
young [Mexican American] people . . . and found that charges were 
made against them, such as stealing cantaloupes out of a farmer's 
field, curfew violations, being truant from school, and things like this. 
These would all be on record and they all have quite extensive juvenile 
records. Among the Anglo people I work with, this just [isn't] done. 
I don't think the Anglo children are this much better." 

The Commission's report further stated that it is felt throughout the 
Southwest that "the most serious police harassment involves inter- 
ference with attempts by Mexican Americans to organize themselves 
in order to assert their collective power." 

To the advocates of brown or Chicano power, the Texas Rangers, or 
"Los Rinches," are the symbols of this repression. The Texas Rangers 
is an elite 136-year-old statewide law enforcement agency under the 
Texas Department of Public Safety. At the time of the hearing there 
were 62 Texas Rangers, none of them Mexican Americans. 

To the Mexican American, especially the poor, such as the farm 
worker in the Rio Grande Valley, the Rangers in their Stetson hats, 
fancy boots, hand tooled revolvers, and holsters personify everything 
they fear: tough-talking, rancher-grower types who can run you out of 
town at the slightest suspicion that the Mexican Americans want to 
assert themselves. 

"The Rangers are the cowboys and we're the Indians," say Mexican 

Farm workers, labor organizers, and civil rights workers testified 
before the Commission that the Texas Rangers break agriculture worker 
strikes in the Rio Grande Valley through force and intimidation. 
The unionization of farm workers is seen as a holy war in Texas where 
farm hands get no workmen's compensation, no State minimum wage, 
no unemployment and disability insurance, and where there are no 
mandatory standards in farm worker housing. (In contrast, California 
requires by law all of these things.) 

Reynaldo de la Cruz, 26, a farm worker and father of six children, 
who had been arrested six times for union activities, told the Com- 
mission he joined the union because of "what every Mexican American 
farm worker faces, that they have been cheated too long . . . because I 
had been cheated too many times. [I joined the union] so that we could 
fight for our rights and for the rights of other people that don't know 
how to defend themselves." 

Asked what the feeling of Mexican Americans is toward the Texas 
Rangers, Jose M. Martinez, a farm worker, told the Commission: 

"Many people hate them, many people are afraid, because the 
majority of the Mexicans are not armed. They [Rangers] are armed. And 
when the Rangers are coming, then the people are afraid. They are 



afraid of being hit, or being pushed around. . . . The minute that you 
hear the Rangers are coming, everybody hides. If you are on strike, if 
you know the Rangers are coming, then they don't want to strike. This 
is the feehng of the people in the Valley. They are afraid." 

Trying to determine what Mexican Americans thought of Govern- 
ment as an administrator of justice, Howard A. Glickstein, then Acting 
Staff Director of the Commission, asked farm worker de la Cruz whether 
in his work as a union organizer he saw the State government and State 
officials as friends or enemies. 

De la Cruz: Well, considering that the Rangers are State officials, I 
think they are our enemies. 

Glickstein: How do you view the Federal Government? What do 
you think of the role the Federal Government has played or hasn't 

De la Cruz: Well, I am not too sure about the Federal Government. 
But if they were really our friends, then something would have been 
done when the Texas Rangers were messing with the strike. 

Earlier, Pete Tijerina, executive director of the Mexican American 
Legal Defense and Educational Fund, had noted that the U.S. Attor- 
ney General had intervened on behalf of Negro cases throughout the 
South but that "not once, not once, has the Attorney General . . . 
intervened in any Mexican American case." 

The Reverend Edgar A. Krueger, an ordained minister whom the 
Texas Council of Churches sent to the Rio Grande Valley as an observer 
during a long farm workers' strike, told the Commission of his experi- 
ences with the Texas Rangers, including his arrest. 

He said he went to Mission, Texas, one night, in the lower Rio Grande 
Valley, where he heard farm workers would be picketing. When he, 
his wife, and their 18-year-old son arrived at Mission he learned that 
12 farm workers had been arrested. He spotted Ranger Captain Alfred 
Y. Allee and other Rangers in their parked cars in the drive-in bank on 
the other side of the railroad tracks. The Reverend Krueger said that 
since it was Friday night, "when people just gather, visit, and watch 
the cars go by," there were about 200 people on both sides of the 
tracks. But no one was trying to gather a crowd, no one was talking 
to the group, or trying to convince anyone to become a union member," 
the Reverend Krueger said. "No one was trying to stop the train, nor 
was anyone carrying a picket sign at that particular time. All we wanted 
to do was to find out where the persons had been taken that were 

When the train arrived, the Texas Rangers with very long flashlights 
signaled the train to pass, the minister said, and he decided to take a 
picture with his wife's small camera from a hundred feet away. "About 
that time Captain Allee walked right straight down the west side of 
the street toward me," recalled the Reverend Krueger, "and said, as 
he was walking up, 'Krueger, I am sick and tired of seeing you around.' 



He grabbed me by the collar and the seat of the pants and lifted me 
practically to the center of the street." 

Mrs. Krueger then took a picture of what was happening, the Rev- 
erend Krueger said. 

"And then Captain Allee yelled, 'Grab that woman.'," the minister 
told the Commission. "Another Ranger grabbed my wife, and I didn't 
see it when it happened, but he grabbed her. But I did see later on that 
he had her arm twisted behind her back." 

Captain Allee then turned the minister over to another Ranger and 
walked up to a farm worker, Magdaleno Dimas, who was eating a 
hamburger, the Reverend Krueger said. 

"Captain Allee slapped the hamburger out of his hand," the Reverend 
Krueger continued, "and then with double hands slapped him in 
the face. . . . And then they took me [and Dimas] to the passing train. 
Since they were running around so rapidly there in something of a 
frenzy, I was very fearful when they held Dimas, it seemed like his 
head was just a few inches from the metal that was sticking out from 
the passing train, and held us there beside the train while it was 

After manhandling Dimas some more, the minister, his wife, Dimas, 
and a friend were thrown into the back seat of a Ranger car and searched, 
the Reverend Krueger said. Seeing that the pipe of one of the men 
had bounced off the car doorway, the minister said: "It seemed like 
a very natural thing sitting on the edge of the seat like that to reach 
down and pick up his pipe. At that time Ranger Jack Van Cleve, with 
tremendous force, slapped me in the cheek." The Reverend Krueger, 
his wife, and friends were arraigned for unlawful assembly. This was a 
year and a half before the Commission hearing and up to then their 
case had not come to trial. In charging that the Texas Rangers and 
sheriff's deputies were "strike breakers," and completely partial to the 
growers, the Reverend Krueger told the Commission that a sheriff's 
deputy told him [Krueger] that if he really wanted to help "these 
people" he should tell them to go back to work. 

"And there was an occasion when Captain Allee did say that if the 
[striking] farm workers wanted jobs he would see that they would get 
jobs," the Reverend Krueger told the Commission. "And he also said 
that if they didn't go to work that it would have a depressing effect on 
the whole Valley, and they would suffer and the whole Valley would 
suffer if they didn't get the cantaloupes out." 

But perhaps the Reverend Krueger's most serious charge was that 
mass arrests by Rangers and other law enforcement officers usually fol- 
lowed any success the strikers or union had. "For example," said the 
minister, "the night when my wife and 114 other persons were arrested. 
This was on the same day, I believe, that the Texas Advisory Commit- 
tee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights finished their hearing in 
Starr County, in Rio Grande City, and it seemed that that hearing 



gave some support to the union's cause, and that same night people 
were arrested." 

Arnulfo Guerra, a Rio Grande Valley attorney, charged that local 
and State government openly opposed the strike and the farm workers' 
right to organize and he said that the Rangers in particular "were en- 
tirely and completely partial to the growers. And I say this because 
the people who called them [Rangers] in was the county administration, 
and the county administration was completely and totally partial to 
the growers. It was a one-sided affair, and they [Rangers] were exces- 
sively partial. ..." 

Ranger Captain Allee, a 36-year veteran of the Texas Rangers, ap- 
peared before the Commission on the closing day of the San Antonio 

Commission Acting General Counsel Rubin asked him why the 
Texas Rangers were sent to Starr County during the farm workers' 

Captain Allee: To keep peace and order and to protect the lives and 
property and to assist the sheriff's department. 

Rubin: What was occurring at that time to warrant [the Rangers 
going to Starr County]? 

Captain Allee: It is my understanding that it had been going on a 
good while and the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee was 
trying to organize the employees there. 

Rubin : And that was the reason why . . . why . . . the Rangers [were] 

Captain Allee: That's right. There had been trouble, there was a 
railroad trestle had been burned and I had my sergeant down there 
before then and had one or two Rangers there. . . . [the Rangers] were 
sent ... to make [an] investigation. . . . 

Asked why he had arrested the Reverend Krueger, Captain Allee 
said "he came up and talked to me, and he got pretty arrogant about it, 
and he was poking me on the chest with his finger and accused me of 
putting his men in jail. My people, he called them, my people. And he 
was loud and abusive. 

"And I got Reverend Krueger by the belt and the collar and took 
him over to the car. On the way over there Mrs. Krueger, she had a 
camera and she was with him, and about that time I heard someone say, 
look out, captain. And he said, give me that camera, Mrs. Krueger, and 
he was Ranger Jack Van Cleve, and he said she attempted to hit me 
over the head with it." 

Rubin wanted to know why the minister was arrested. 

Captain Allee: I just got through telling you this, for [being] loud 
and abusive, and disturbing the peace. Language, of course, one thing 
and another is why I arrested him. 

Rubin: What charge was placed against him? 

Captain Allee: I don't know. I didn't file the complaint. I can get 
that for you and send it to you, if you wish. 



Rubin: Did Reverend Krueger resist arrest? 

Captain Allee: No, he didn't resist arrest. 

Rubin: What did he do? You said that you Ufted Reverend Krueger 
by the seat of his pants? 

Captain Allee : No, I didn't lift him by the seat of the pants, I said I 
got him by the belt. 

Rubin: By the belt? 

Captain Allee: Yes, sir, 

Rubin: Why was it necessary to do that? 

Captain Allee: Well, I don't know why it was necessary to do it. . . . 
I usually grab a fellow by the belt if I am going to take him somewhere. 
Of course, he didn't especially want to go after I talked to him there a 
little while. 

Later, Rubin wanted to know about the arrest of farm worker Dimas 
and whether the captain had slapped him. 

Captain Allee : I slapped a hamburger out of his hand. 

Rubin: Why did you do that? 

Captain Allee: Well, he was trying to tell me something, I don't 
know what it was, and he was spitting that mustard. . . . 

Asked what reputation the Texas Rangers have among Mexican 
Americans, Captain Allee said: "Among Mexican Americans I think 
they have a good reputation. I worked around the Mexican people all 
my life. I had a big percentage of the people of Starr, Texas, of Mexican 
American people send a petition into Austin and I didn't request it, 
asking the Rangers to stay there because they feared violence and blood- 
shed. And that petition is on file. ..." 

Questioned whether there were workers in the fields during the strike, 
Captain Allee responded: "Oh, yes, there were workers in the fields, 
lots of people working in the fields. I couldn't tell you whether they 
were from Starr County or not. Some of them were and some of them 
from across the border, the green card workers. 

Glickstein: There were a lot of green card workers? 

Captain Allee: I don't know how many. 

Glickstein: They come across [the border] in the morning and go 
home at night? 

Captain Allee: That's right. 

It was as if Captain Allee was reminding Mexican Americans what 
they have known for many years : If they rock the boat, they can always 
be replaced by cheaper Mexicans from across the border. 



In restrospect, perhaps the most positive result of the hearing was 
that barrio Mexican Americans came out of it with a feeling that 
the Government does care about them. 

This was no small accomplishment. To Mexicans el ^obierno, the 
Government, has traditionally been a natural enemy. Until the Revolu- 
tion of 1910, which at last made Mexico a free country, Mexicans 
experienced foreign dictatorships — Spanish colonialism and the French 
imposed Emperor Maximilian, for example — and domestic dictator- 
ships, Santa Anna and Porfirio Diaz. 

It is not surprising therefore that Mexican Americans have an 
inherent distrust of Government. The older ones remember that during 
the depression of the 1930's, the Government "incited" Mexican 
resident aliens to leave the United States to what was almost certain 
worse poverty in Mexico. Many Mexican Americans over 30 in the 
border areas can remember unpleasant moments at the hands of the 
U.S. Immigration and Customs agents at border crossings. They 
remember learning to live with the fear of deportation posed by el 
gobierno which at any moment might demand proof that they're 
American citizens and not Mexican nationals. 

To many Mexican Americans, dealings with el gobierno have always 
been unpleasant. The contacts with teachers, employment officials, 
social workers, police, and other representatives of el gobierno have. 


36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 24 


in many instances, left behind memories of mistreatment and 

With the San Antonio hearing there was a breakthrough for Mexican 
Americans who have felt neglected, if not persecuted, in the past by 
their Government. They had been studied many times before San 
Antonio, but at the hearing, for the first time on a national platform, 
the problems of the Mexican American were explored not only in the 
general sense but also in the specific. 

The obvious challenges of discrimination in employment, competition 
of cheap labor from Mexico, inadequate education, police harassment, 
and cultural conflicts were again aired with a monotonous consistency, 
but there was a difference. This time the investigators talked face to 
face with members of the "establishment" involved in the areas 
indicated above and the Commission dealt in precise names, organiza- 
tions, and systems accused of insensitivity toward the Mexican 

The hearing did not end in a tone of: "Look, we've got problems 
and something must be done." Instead, it ended saying in effect: 
"Look, these people and these situations are keeping us back and this 
has to be done." 

Something else very valuable came out of the hearing — an under- 
scoring of the gravity of the problems that are now bubbling to the 
surface in the Mexican American community. Only the most insensitive 
spectator could miss the sense of urgency of the problems of the Mexi- 
can Americans and the realization that delay in reaching solutions 
could only exacerbate those problems. 

Following the hearing, though not necessarily because of it, the 
State of Texas appropriated money for its first bilingual education pro- 
gram, passed a minimum wage law for farm workers, raised the ceiling 
on money to be made available for welfare benefits, and enacted legisla- 
tion to prevent confiscation of property outright for a missing delin- 
quent house payment. 

The hearing represented another step in a trend toward understand- 
ing of the Mexican American which started a few years ago. The crea- 
tion of the Inter-Agency Committee on Mexican American Affairs in 
June of 1967, by President Lyndon B. Johnson, showed a growing 
awareness by Washington of the Spanish-speaking population. 

Making the Committee a permanent agency under President Nixon 
further indicated that the National Government recognized that the 
Mexican American had unique problems that required separate con- 
sideration from the seat of power. 

The formation of the Southwest Council of La Raza and the Mexican 
American Legal Defense and Education Fund with the help of Ford 
Foundation money showed that the private sector was also interested. 



But what probably has most warmed the Mexican American to el 
gobierno is the Government's growing concern for the uneducated and 
rural Mexican American. 

Congress' refusal to extend the bracero program was a significant vic- 
tory for the Mexican American farm workers who claimed braceros 
were taking jobs away from them. 

The Federal Government's funding of the California Rural Legal 
Assistance through the Office of Economic Opportunity was further 
proof that Washington cared about Mexican Americans, who comprise 
about 67 percent of the State's agriculture workers. 

The CRLA was founded on the philosophy that the poor, like the 
rich, are entitled to good lawyers who take the time to serve their 

Mexican American farm workers who, with their fellow black and 
Anglo colleagues, are the only major occupational group excluded from 
unemployment insurance coverage and other federally conferred bene- 
fits such as collective bargaining legislation, had now someone to 
represent them in court. 

At least technically, the Mexican American farm worker could now 
defend himself not only from powerful growers but from the Govern- 
ment itself. 

As for education, the passing of the Bilingual Education Act of 1967 
recognized the absurdity of punishing children for speaking Spanish in 
the school grounds. 

It also showed that the time would come when the knowledge of a 
second language would become an asset instead of a liability. 

A stirring has occurred in the Mexican American community itself. 
New groups are emerging, older ones are moving in new directions. 
There is a sense of mobility, typified by expressions of solidarity and 
demands for change. Not untypical of the mood was the gathering, 
several months after the San Antonio hearing, of some 1,000 Mexican 
Americans in Del Rio, Texas, to protest the termination of a 
VISTA program. 

The hearing can be described as a piece of a mosaic, and it provided 
the groundwork for an even better understanding by the Government of 
the Mexican American. The information from the hearing was also ex- 
tremely valuable in the comprehensive studies on Mexican American 
education and the administration of justice in the Southwest under- 
taken by the Commission. 

So stark was the picture of the Mexican American in the Southwest 
drawn by the words of the witnesses, so evident was the need for addi- 
tional resources, that the Commission subsequently approved the 
conversion of its temporary field office in San Antonio to a permanent 



Despite all this, and because change takes time, those attending the 
hearing could easily come to the conclusion that Mexican Americans 
have been victims of fraud. 

Much of the testimony showed how Mexican Americans have been 
cheated of things most Americans take for granted : their right to their 
language, their culture, their color. 

This was perhaps most poignantly expressed when Commissioner 
Hector P. Garcia asked Irene Ramirez, a San Antonio high school girl, 
whether she wanted to have "nice things." 

"Of course," answered Irene, "but from the very beginning we are 
taught ... I mean, this is an impossible dream." 

"What is impossible, dear?" Garcia asked. 

"Going to college and achieving something . . . ," she answered. 

This exchange dramatized to those attending the hearing that 
though lip service has always been paid to the theory that Mexican 
Americans "are like any other Americans," in reality they are not. 

The hearing showed that the Mexican American has been made to 
feel negatively about his Mexican background — ^to the point where 
even the word "Mexican" has become a liabiUty. 

As a result, Mexican Americans have tried to assimilate into Anglo 
society as quietly as possible. Some have succeeded. But, if the testi- 
mony is to be believed, the attempt at assimilation has failed for too 

The feeling among activist Mexican Americans — who prefer to 
call themselves Chicanos — is that Spanish-speaking people should 
resist any attempt to become American at the expense of their language 
and culture. 

Chicanos also emphasize that assimilation for assimilation's sake 
has been oversold and that it must be learned once and for all that you 
can't turn a brown child into a white child through patriotic rhetoric. 

The hearing may also have helped kill the myth that with time 
Mexican Americans will assimilate as have the Irish, Italians, Polish, 
and other ethnic groups. This argument crumbles with the obvious 
fact that the United States and Mexico share a 1,800-mile open border, 
and not an ocean as do the United States and Ireland. 

The influence of Mexico on the Mexican American will continue as 
long as Mexico is there. 

The Americanization of the Mexican American has too often meant 
that he must shun his background and assume a ridiculous role of 
being what has been described as a "tanned Anglo". 

The hearing may have helped bring home an obvious historical fact: 
Mexicans are not strangers to this land, especially in the Southwest. 
They are indigenous to it. 

The hearing may have focused a growing feeling among Mexican 
Americans. That is, that they understand the importance of becoming 
Anglicized but that in the process they insist that Anglos become 
Mexicanized, if the melting pot theory of America is to have value. 


Rural California: 




Poverty is not just a lack of money or education; 

it is racial discrimination^ 

it is cultural difference^ 

it is a state of mind. 

Most of all, it is a position of non-participation ^ 

the symptoms of which are apathy, 


lack of organization and involvement, 

divisiveness , 


It is self -denigration. 

The poor see the law and lawyers as oppressors. 

They come in contact with lawyers when they are being sued, 

when they have been arrested, 

or when their children are in trouble. 

The poor see the law as benefitting those with money 

and with power. 

The poor have little faith that the agents of the law 

— the judges, police, lawyers — 

will protect -^em, . 

the poor. 

The poor see laws meant for their benefit ignored and unenforced. 

Most of us see a different world — 

Lawyers are officers of the court; 

the judges (who sit on courts) uphold the law. 

The policemen enforce the law. 

The law is meant to be a protector of the weak 

and of the coirmon good. 

Society cannot exist without laws 

and without the enforcers of these laws 

including lawyers. 

California Riipal Legal Assistance. 

The poor whom we have represented 

have seen that the taw can be a friend; 

that the law can be a vehicle for protecting the rights of the poor; 

that the laws meant for the protection of the poor can be enforced; 

that the powerful, too, can be accountable. 

Tnese insights can be the beginning of hope among the poor 

that the law and lawyers 

will serve man 

irrespective of station or wealth. 

— Cruz Fteynoso 
California Rural Legal Assistance 



"Growers and aontractors should be made to have sanitary 
facilities out in the field for the workers. If there is 
such a law that these facilities have to be provided, I 
can't understand what the hang~up is. If it's a law, 
it's a law. And it should be obeyed. CELA should help 
here. Mostly the law is to protect the growers and the 
rich. Most of the time, when a farm worker is in contact 
with the law it is because he is in trouble with the law, 
or the law is being used against him. And that isn't right." 
—EOSENDO MONTANA, farm worker, McFarland 

California has one of the most extensive series of laws designed 
to protect the health arid safety of farm workers in the nation. 
Government agencies charged with their enforcement have been 
derelict in their enforcement duties. CRLA has brought a number 
of suits, only some of which have been successful, seeking to 
compel the government to apply the standards set by the law to 
the rich as well as the poor. 

"J have worked for the same employer for more than a year. 
He grows artidhokss, and I have no complaint with him. He 
is fair with me. Last year because of the rains I could 
not find work for about three months during the winter. 
This year when the rains come, I guess I won't be able to 
find work again. I don't like to have to get help from 
welfare. I want my self respect. I need unemployment 
insurance before the rains come so that I can have enough 
to give food and shelter to my eight children. " 

—ANTONIO DOEADO, farm worker, Castroville 

Every major occupational group but farm workers is covered by 
unen^jloyment insurance. CRLA has a pending case seeking to 
provide this basic protection to every American farm worker. 

"The government has a lot of programs, like the War on Poverty. 
I do believe that they are going wrong because they are trying 
to cure poverty without getting rid of the thing that causes 
poverty. Can you see what I mean? Like you're trying to cure 
cancer with an aspirin. I think that one of the biggest 
problems is we got to take into consideration the people as 
a people, and we should try to teach the people their rights 
as a human being. " 

— RECTOR REYES, community organizer. El Centra 

Most Federally-funded programs perpetuate dependence rather 
than encourage independence. Although most of CRLA's cases 
are service-oriented and designed solely to treat the symptoms 
of poverty, a number of its class action cases seek to deal 
with the causes of poverty. In addition, it has helped design 
various farm worker controlled corporations to produce housing 
and jobs. 




COLLEGE In Gonzales, California, in a school district with a 50% 
FOR student enrollment of Mexican descent, a young Mexican- 

FARM American National Teacher Corps teacher v/as fired, and 

Vv'ORKERS her husband's job as a school-home liaison representative 

, eliminated, when she helped local high school students 

form a chapter of the Mexican-Airierican Youth Association (M/vYA) . The 
primary function of RAYA vjas to encourage in Mexican-American students a 
pride in their cultural heritage, and to stimulate interest in furthtjr 
ednciition among some who previously had accepted farm v7ork as an end in 
ifnelf. In part, the program attempted to awaken the students' interest 
in professional careers, such as medicine and law, and at least to 
encourage them to secure their high school diplomas. As a result of 
this dual eniphcisis, farm worker parents, who had alv;ays assumed that 
their children would be farm workers by the age of 17, began to encourage 
them to apply for college. A record number of Mexican-American students 
(.'^5) thereafter applied under special minority-group programs at several 
local colleges. CRLA, after failing to convince the local school board 
to reinstate the fired teachers, v/as successful in securing a Federal 
Court order of temporary reinstatement. 

(Al varez v. Force , U. S. District Court for Northern 
California, No. 51089) CRLA was joined in this suit 
by the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund. 

EQUAL Although an equal education for all children is guaranteed 

EDUCATION by California's Constitution, local taxpayers are forced 
FOR to absorb 70% of the costs of this state-guaranteed 

RU}:AI. POOR education without regard to their financial ability. 

Beverly Hills taxpayers, therefore, are able to provide 
their cliildren with free musical instruments, intensive mediceil and 
psychiatric care, and remedial education, while rural taxpayers do not 
even have sufficient funds to secure an adequate number of teachers or 
to provide children with school transportation even when they reside 
three hours walking distance (10 miles) from the school. CRIJ\ filed suit 
to alter this by requiring a more equitable rate of taxation and distri- 
bution of such sums throughout the state. However, as the result of a 
recent U. S. Supreme Court case, it dismissed its lawsuit without 
achieving the de.sired result. The Governor of California has recently 
proposed a plan v/hereby soma of these tax inequities will be eliminated. 

(Silva V. A tascadero, California Superior Court, San 
Francisco County, No. 595954) 




I^lAJORTTY California school children are denied adequate school 
RULE ON facilities: unless their parents can convince tv;o-thirds 
SCHOOL of the voters in the school district to approve such 
FACILITIES facilities. As a result of this requirement, the will 

of the majority of voters favoring additional school 
facilities has been frvistrated in 155 out of 218 instances in the last 
two years. In reliance on the Supreip.e Court's "one man, one vote" 
principle, CR],A has brouglit suit seeking to prevent a small minority 
from frustrating the educational needs as determined by the majority, 

( Lareri v. Sh cvmon, Califovriia Superior Court, Sutter 
County, Ho. YeT'/l 




UNEMPLOYMENT Evezy major occuxjational group jn the United States is 
INSURANCE covered by unemployment insurance benefits with the 

exception of one: farm workers. A combination of Federal 
and State legislation precludes one of America's poorest 
and most seasonal occupational groups from these benefits. 
As a result of a CRLA lav/suit, a three- judge Federal Court is presently 
considering whether to declare that exclusion unconstitutional and order 
unemployment benefit coverage for farm v7orkers . Should the Court so 
order, farm workers throughout the United States could receive approxi- 
mately $250 million dollars per annum, and hundreds of thousands of them 
would be removed from dependence upon v/elfare assistance. Most important, 
job security vrould partialjly eliminate the need to be migratory, therehy 
keeping children in school thrbxighout the year, and encouraging tlieir 
parents to become involved in conuTiunity affairs. 

(R omero v. Wirtz, U. S. District Court for Northern 
California^ No. 50213) 

ILLEGAL Virtually every occupational group has restrictions, 
FOREIGN either by statute or professional code, on the number of 
COMPETITION persons who can practice their occupation. Farm v7orkers 
are not only denied such benefits, but are faced with a 
continuous supply of cheap foreign labor competition. 
A number of CRLA lawsuits have sought to prevent illegal and unfair 
foreign competition without obstructing growers from securing an adequate 
supply of labor. Until CRLA brought a successful lawsuit on Septeriber 8, 
1967, hundreds of thousands of foreign laborers (braceros) had been 
imported into California each year to compete with local farm v:orkcrs. 
As a result, Ar:.erican citizens were forced upon welfare and deprived of 
work. S\absaquent to CRLA's success in Federal Court, the U. S. Depart- 
ment of Labor on September 11, 1967, entered into a formal agreement 
with CRLA in which for the first time domestic farm workers were given 
a voice in determining future farm labor policies. Thus, in 1968 fc)r 
the first time in 25 years, the U. S. Secretary of Labor announced that 
no foreign workers (braceros) V70uld be imported into the United States. 
It is estimated that this decision provided $3 million dollars in 
additional incom^e for local farm workers, a minimum of $1 milliori dollars 
in additional income to local merchants, and a $750 thousand dollar 
savings to local welfare departments. 

(Alar niz v. Uirtz, U. S. District Court for Northern 
Califoyr-iia, No. 47807) 




VJOKKING In 1065, California passed legislation which for the 
CONDITIONS first time protected the farm worker's health and safety. 
Because of the inability of the appropriate government 
agencies to enforce the law, farm workers were compelled 
to yo to court in a series of suits seeking what the law 
crdercd: toilets, handv;ashing facilities, and drinking water for farm 
v.'orkers. As of the svimmer of 1969, neither the lav; of four years before, 
iior the conditions that the law sought to improve, had substantially 

(Uanr' iqv.ez v . Mose cian, ■California Superior Court, 
Ker-n Countij, No. 105175; Ga rcia iK Kovaoeirch, 
California Superior Court, Kern County, No. 105072; 
Pe rez v . Morales, California Superior Court, Stanis- 
Ta'up CaurJt.v,^ No'. 100602) 




FOOD Congress has provided tv;o Federal food programs to assist 

FOR THE the poor: the Food Stamp and the (surplus) Commodity 
HUNGRY Distribution programs. As of December, 1968, 16 of 

California's 58 counties had refused to institute such 
programs. CRLA secured an injunction, before a three- 
judge Federal Court, to compel the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture to 
institute Federal food programs in each of these counties. On June 2, 
1969, State Superintendent of Schools Max Rafferty joined CR];,A in con- 
tending that the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture v;as discriminating 
against poor people and violating President Nexon's mandate that all 
hungry persons be afforded an opportunity for a minimal adequate diet. 
The State of California joined CRI-A in this action primarily because 
the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture ignored the law and refused to comply 
with a binding Court Order to make food .available for hungry persons in 
every California county. By the suminer of 1959, California became the 
first large state in which every county -was operating a Federal food 
program - CRLA, therefore, voluntarily dismissed its suit. 

( Heimandez v. Hardin^ , U. S. District Court for 
Northeim California, No. 50333) 

FEDERAL Perhaps the most striking example of the Federal Govern- 
GOVERIslMENT ment's failure to be responsive to the needs of the states, 
ENCOUR^'vGES local communities., and the poor, is a CRLA case presently 
FATHERS before a three-judge Federal Court seeking to abolish the 
NOT TO WORK "Don't Work" rule, a Federal welfare rule which discourages 

fathers from seeking employment and encourages them to 
desert their families. (Fathers can secure assistance for their children 
only if they refuse to work or desert their families.) U. S. Housing, 
Education and VJelfare Secretary Robert H. Finth is at least equally 
concerned, and has submitted certain proposals to the President which 
could achieve legislatively the results CRLA seeks in its lawsuit. 

(Ma o-las v. Finok, U. S. Distinct Court for Northern 
California, No. 50956) 



GOVERMi'iENT (continued) 

DIVORCE The Federal welfare structure encourages divorces, and 
OR frequently makes assistance for children dependent on the 

DEPRIVATION securing of a divorce without regard to the desires of 
WELFARE RULE the parents. Presently pending before a Federal three- 
judge Court is a CRLA action seeking to abolish this 
"Divorce or Deprivation" rule, V7hich annually destroys thousands of 
California marriages and compels a similarly high nuiiibor of persons to 
file fraudulant divorce proceedings. A prelirainary order on behalf of 
the clients has been issued in this case. 

(Jenisch v. State of California, U. S. District Court 
■ for Nortliem California, No. 48462) 

The "Divorce or Deprivation" case is presently before the three-judge 
Federal Court as a result of a prior CRLA case which was the first 

successful Legal Services case ever brought before the U. S. Supreme 

( Datinco v. State of California, U. S. Supreme Court, 
No. 629 misc., Oct. term, 1967) 




THE RIGHT Only one major group in America is denied the right to 
TO VOTE vote: the American of Mexican ancestry who is literate 

only in Spanish. As the result of special Congressional 
legislation, even illiterates are permitted to vote in 
certain states. In addition, Americans of Puerto Rican 
ancestry, despite being literate only in Spanish, are permitted to vote 
in most states. The irony and the irrationality of this is graphically 
illustrated in California. Despite the State's long and uniquely rich 
Spanish-Mexican heritage, and its 11% Spanish- surnamed population, 
Spanish literacy has not been sufficient as a basis for eligibility at 
the polls. The result of this inequitable exclusion has been an increas- 
ing loss of interest in community affairs by a group that helped write 
the California Constitution (in both Spanish and English) and v;hich 
continued to be a real part of the California community until recent 
decades when the California Constitution was changed. CRLA presently 
has before the District Court of Appeals in California a case contending 
that it is unconstitutional to discriminate against persons who are 
literate in. Spanish, especially since a large number of Spanish-language 
newspapers and radio stations serve these people. U. S. Attorney General 
John Mitchell recently suggested legislation (nation-wide abolition of 
literacy tests) that might achieve the same result. 

(Castro V. State of California, California Court of 
Appeals, No. 32520) 

WATER Imperial County lies at the southeast corner of California. 

IN THE It is part of the Colorado Desert, one of the most 
DESERT geologically arid regions in North America. The Imperial 
Irrigation District, through its control of waters from 
the Colorado River, has made this land into the fifth 
most productive agricultural county in the United States. On the other 
hand, it still has one of the highest percentages of poor anywhere in 
California. This paradox has occured partially as a result of the 
Irrigation District charging abnormally low water rates to the grower 
and unusually high rates to the consumer. The Irrigation District has 
been s\iccessful in continuing this inequitable system solely because it 
has been unconstitutionally apportioned. The voters residing in districts 
serving growers have 5 times more voting power than their numbers would 
justify. As a result, CRJJ^, on behalf of Imperial County consumers, has 
brought suit to compel the Irrigation District to permit majority rule. 
The case was on appeal at the beginning of si-mimer, 1969. 

(Girth V. Thompson, California Superior Court, 
Imperial County, No. 40096) 




RIGHT TO Federal law guarantees to every major occupational group 
FREEDOM OF except farm workers the right to join a labor union. 
ASSOCIATION California is one of the few states that does protect 
farm v/orkers . It prohibits employers from firing any 
worker, including a farm work&r, merely for exercising 
his freedom of association by joining a labor union. Some growers have 
recently commenced to negotiate with such farm worker unions. On the 
other hand, at least a few growers have not only refused to negotiate 
with farm v/orker unions, but have proceeded to summarily fire workers 
who have exercised their legislatively-protected right to join a labor 
union. In one case, 9 skilled farm workers were fired when their 
employer discovered that they had joined the United Farm Workers Organ- 
izing Committee, AFL-CIO. CRLA filed a lawsuit on their behalf, and 
within four months the men were rehired and a full settlement was 
reached. As part of the settlement the farm workers were guaranteed a 
minimum annual salary of $4,500, protected from future firing by an 
arbitration clause, and their rights to join a labor union were fully 

( Wethei^ton v. Martin Produce j , California Superior 
Courts Monterey County, No. 63696) 



California Rural Legal Assistance is a statewide law firm, funded by 
the Office of Econorrdc Opportunity to provide free legal services to 
many of California's rural poor. It was the first OEO program designed 
to assist farm workers, and its initial funding in June of 1966 in the 
air.ount of $1,276 million dollars represented the largest grant ever 
made by the OEO offi.ce. 

During the first year of its existence, its central adminiatrative office 
was established in Los Angeles, v/ith nine regional law offices throughout 
the state. Despite often strong political pressures, the program has 
been refunded each year since. For two years, CRIA also maintained a 
special office to represent Indians in their peculiarly Indian problems. 
Recognizing the enormity and the uniqueness of these problems, CRtA was 
successful in securing independent funding for a program to exclusively 
serve Indians - "California Indian Legal Services." 

In 1968, the central office was moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco 
as an efficiency-economy measure. As a result, the central office v.'as 
placed substantially closer to a majority of the clients served by 
CRLA's nine regional offices and to the agencies and courts where most 
of their problems are sought to be resolved. An office was also 
opened in Sacramento to conduct an advocacy and legislative information 
program which would serve administrative agencies, the Legislature, and 
other rule-making bodies on issues affecting CRLA's client community. 

In the same yecir, tlie firm was named the outstanding Legal Services 
Program in the nation by the Office of Economic Opportunity's National 
Advisory Committee for Legal Services "for its service to the cause of 
justice for the poavj through innovation^ taw reform^ legislative workj 
and test cases. " 


Legal services are most effective in rural areas if they are provided or 
a statewide basis. This is true, partly because in the sparsely populated 
regions of the state there is often no single county with a population 
large enough to support a program of its o'.\m. It is also true because 
clients are frequently compelled by their work to migrate from cno area 
of the state to another, repeatedly crossing county lines, and thus 
losing touch with attorneys whose operations are restricted by jurisdic- 
tional boundaxies. A statewide organization provides a unique opportunity 
for correlation of activities for maximum efficiency, and for speciliza- 
tion in problcns of particular concern to the rural population. 

The CRLA staff, statewide, consists of approximately 120 persons, of whom 
about 40 are attorneys and 25 are liaisons with the local community 
(investigators, community workers) , plus appropriate secretarial and 
clerical staff. The central office coordinates legal and agency matters 
throughout the state and houses the administrative staff for the entire 



During the calendar year, July 1, 1967, to June 30, 1958, CRLA accepted 
10,351 new cases. Despite this average of 1,000 new cases per office, 
the median number c-f open cases per office was less than 150, indicating 
that there was a reasonably rapid resolution of the majority of the cases. 
Approximately 85% of CRLA's cases have been and continue to be conventional 
"service" cases - such as adoptions, wage attachments, and used car problems, 

According to the m.onthly reports of CRLA regional offices, 25,877 clients 
were directly benefitted by these cases during the same calendar year, 
V7itb indirect benefits being extended to as many as one million more 
persons because of the statewide effects of some of the cases handled. 

The average cost per case during the same time span was under $100 
($96.26). This lov/ cost v/as partially attributable to CRLA's lov; attorney- 
per-hour costs - $10.93 including overhead per hour as compared with a 
minimum of $25 per hour for associate attorneys in most California law 
firms. It is estimated that CRLA annually has produced income, or 
secured savings, to the California taxpayer in an amount in excess of 
one hundred times its yearly appropriation.* 

For example, $9 mi] lion per annum saved by the elimination of county 
subsidies to landlords, Phillips v. Davenport , California Superior 
Court, Monterey County, No. 54125; $3 m.illion gener'ated in income in 
1958 througli restrictions on foreign workers, Alaniz v. Wirtz , U. S. 
District Court for Northern California, No. 47807; $250 million saved 
in 1958 by the suit to prevent Medi-Cal cuts, Morris v. Williams , 
California Supreme Court, No. SAC-7817; and $10 million per annum 
saved by the food ste;mp case, Hernandez v. Hardin , U. S. District 
Court for Northern California, No. 50333. On the other hand, CRLA's 
aniiual budget is only $1^ million dollars. 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 25 



Since its inception, the philosophy of CRLA has 
been to provide to the poor the same high quality 
of service that the wealthy client would expect 
from the law firm representing his interests. The 
poor, like the rich, are entitled to good lav/yers 
who take the time to serve their needs . Just as 
the best large law firm represents business associ- 
ations and groups of wealthy clients, because those 
groups have similar interests, so CRLA has acted 
as "house counsel" for groups of poor people. The 
problems which a poor person faces are not just 
his individual problems; all too often they are 
problems common to all the poor. 

The wealthy have traditionally used the lawyer as 
an adviser - on what is best regarding his business, 
on what is best regarding his children's education, 
and on what is best regarding his employees. CRLA 
attorneys have attempted to be that type of resource 
for the poor - to advise regarding schools, jobs, 
housing and governm^ent. Those clients which CRLA 
has been able to serve, for it is only able to 
serve a fraction of those who need its services, 
have come to see the law as a vehicle for their 

Poverty often brings despair and cynicism toward 
the possibility of change, individual and collective, 
through the legal order. The philosophy of CRLA 
has been and is that the poor, when served by 
vigorous, competent and high-minded ' lawyers , can 
have hope amidst poverty. Our short history 
confirms that this philosophy works. 




San Francisco 
1212 Market Street 
(415) 863-4911 



901 "F" Street 
(916) 446-7901 


2. El Centro 
Professional Building 
Fifth and Main Streets 
Room 228 

(714) 353-0220 

3. Gilroy 

22 Martin Street 
(408) 842-8271 

4. Madera 

529 South "D" Street 
(209) 674-5671 

5. Mary svi lie 
116 7th Street 
(916) 742-5191 

6. McFarland 

335 Perkins Street 
(805) 792-2157 

7. Modesto 

405 "H" Street 
(209) 529-8452 

8. Salinas 
328 Cayuga 
(408) 424-2201 

9. Santa Maria 
109 East Cook 
(P. 0. Box 425 
(805) 922-4563 

10. Santa Rosa 

1049 4th Street 
(P. O. Box 879) 
(707) 545-4610 


■\ { 




Working With the "System": The Progress of United 
Farm Workers (Obreros-Unidos) Under Wisconsin Law 

David Loeffler 
Attorney at Law 

"It is really not so bad to be a Migrant, if 
you can earn a decent life from it and if that 
IS what you really want to do. It is no worse 
than being a plumber or a carpenter. The 
trouble is that my people have no choice. We 
want to give them a chance to be plumbers 
if they want to be plumbers, or carpenters if 
they want to be carpenters, or migrants if 
they want to be migrants, and have a decent 
life no matter what they choose, just like you 
or me." 

Statement of Jesus Salas in Backes, "The 
Migrant's Union Comes to Pickle Country," 
Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, October 
20, 1968, p. 37. 

Traditionally, American trade unions have 
been concerned with only a "piece" of a 
worker's life. The Unions have attempted to 
improve the worker's compensation, shorten 
his hours, secure his job, and improve the 
qualitative aspects of the work situation. The 
employee's general life circumstances are 
considered only in terms of impact upon the 
work place. Recently, a new kind of labor 
organization has come on the scene. Loosely 
labeled "community unions," they reverse 
the focus of the traditional labor organization. 

More analogous to a Civil Rights organiza- 
tion, the community union is concerned with 
the total life space of its member. His job 
is seen as only one dimension of his exist- 
ence. Self-determination, through direct ac- 
tion and active member participation in such 
action, is the basic theme of the organization, 
as contrasted to the goal of "more" in the 
quantitative sense — the basic objective of 
most traditional trade unions. The community 
union wants to win "souls" over and above 
a "seven cents increase" in wages. 

Not surprisingly, the membership of such 
community unions is primarily black, Mexi- 
can-American, or Puerto Rican. While the 
member's job is not an unimportant consid- 
eration for the community union leadership, 
it is not more significant than the whole set 

of relationships between the person and the 
wider community, relationships which can be 
characterized as political, i.e., the police, 
"welfare," and all layers of government. The 
leadership of such unions is racially and 
ethnically indigenous, and tends to be more 
ideological than traditional trade union lead- 
ership. "Confrontation" with the "power 
structure" is the basic tactic. 

Perhaps the most prominent community 
union is the United Farm Workers Organizing 
Committee (AFL-CIO) directed by Cesar 
Chavez. Although most of its activity has been 
in California and Texas, it has a Wisconsin 
affiliate, Obreros-Unidos (United Workers) 
directed by Jesus and Manuel Salas and 
staffed by a group of college students and 
recent college graduates, who could be ac- 
curately described as more or less New Left 
or "Movement" people in their general polit- 
ical and social stance. The constituency for 
Obreros-Unidos is the Texas based, Mexican- 
American migrant laborer. 

The work places for these persons are 
cucumber and potato fields in Central Wis- 
consin, primarily Waushara and Portage 
Counties, and food processing plants through- 
out Central and Southeastern Wisconsin. 
Because affirmative legal tools are not avail- 
able to field employees, either under federal 
law or the law of Texas and California, the 
parent organization, UFOC (AFL-CIO), has 
had to rely exclusively upon direct economic 
action, either strikes or product boycotts to 
achieve job-related goals. The Wisconsin 
group, on the oth^r hand, has found itself in 
a unique legal context. 

In Wisconsin, employee efforts at self- 
determination through unionism are regu- 
lated by a comprehensive labor code nearly 
identical to the federal National Labor Rela- 
tions Act. A significant difference between the 
National Labor Relations Act and the Wiscon- 
sin Peace Act confers advantages upon mi- 
grant field laborers who are employed by 
Wisconsin employers. While the National Act 
expressly excludes field agricultural laborers 



from Its coverage, the Wisconsin Act does 
not The Wisconsin Employment Relations 
Commission has affirmatively held that field 
agricultural workers are covered by the pro- 
visions of the Wisconsin Act. 

Additionally, the minimum wage statutes in 
Wisconsin are applicable to women and minor 
children engaged m agricultural harvesting 
labor. The federal minimum wage law has 
been applicable to all harvesting employees 
only since February 1. 1967. Currently, in Wis- 
consin, the minimum wage for women and 
minor children over 18 is SI 30 per hour and 
$1.10 per hour for minors 17-12. The federal 
minimum for harvesting employees is a flat 
$1.15 per hour. 

Although Obreros-Unidos follows the com- 
munity union pattern of attempting to or- 
ganize the "whole" man, the Union's signifi- 
cant contact with the legal system came in 
its efforts to obtain self-determination in the 
economic market place. 

Before discussing the particular cases in 
some detail, it is useful to have some sense 
of the migrant laborers' economic position in 
our -capitalist market economy. The annual 
income for the migrant farm laborer is below 
the poverty line — in 1966 an average total 
wage income of $1,500 of which $1,046 de- 
rived from farm work and $534 from non-farm 
work.' The migrant farm workers' low income 
is a function of the operation of classical 
supply and demand forces. Because of in- 
creasing mechanization, the demand for agri- 
cultural labor has dropped 54% in the period 
1947 to 1965.2 The supply of migrant labor 
has remained constant throughout this period. 
Because of low educational attainments, the 
migrant worker cannot find alternative em- 
ployment in industries requiring a skilled 
work force Alternative employment oppor- 
tunities in Texas are concentrated in elec- 
tronics, chemicals, oils, steel machine tools, 
aircraft and construction — industries de- 
manding predominantly skilled labor. ^ Since 
the median years of school completed for 
migrants in 1967 was 7.9 years compared 

with 12.2 for the labor force as a whole the 
migrant worker finds himself locked into the 
migrant stream ■* These factors, combined 
with overt prejudice in hiring practices, re- 
sult in an adjusted unemployment rate for all 
farm workers in 1966 of 6.5°o.- With supply 
far in excess of demand, the "price" of the 
labor commodity is inevitably depressed. 

f\/1oreover, in Wisconsin there are a limited 
number of organized "purchasers" of migrant 
farm labor. The dominant "buyers" are large 
scale food processors — Libby tVlcNeill & 
Libby, Dean Foods, and Hawthorn-l\/lellody. 
The "on-the-scene" Wisconsin companies 
such as Green Bay Foods, or Chicago Pickle 
are in effect, subsidiaries of these larger 
processors. The individual farmers and grow- 
ers are from an economic point of view little 
more than rentiers who make their land avail- 
able to the large processing companies on 
terms dictated by the latter. Since the proces- 
sors are motivated by a desire to maximize 
their profit, they take full advantage of the 
"sellers" labor market so as to minimize their 
labor costs. Obreros-Unidos is attempting to 
offset this balance of power through the tradi- 
tional devices of the trade union — the threat 
of strike, a labor agreement controlling the 
labor supply through the use of a union-run 
hiring hall, job security through various pro- 
visions of the labor contract. Beginning in 
1967, the Union looked to the law primarily as 
an affirmative weapon. 

In the summer of 1967, the Union success- 
fully organized the hand harvesting em- 

1. "Tlie Migratory Farm Worker," Monthly Labor Re- 
view, June 1968. p. 11 (The Mfinthly Labor Review is 
ttie official publication o( the Bureau of Labor Statis- 
tics of the U.S Department of Labor ) 

2. Erenburg, Mark, "Obreros-Unidos in Wisconsin." 
Monthly Labor Review. June 1938, p. 18. 

3. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Economic Re- 
search Service. "The Farm Labor Situation in Selected 
States, 1935-1966, Agricultural Economic Report. 110: 
12, April, 1967. 

4. Erenburg, op. cit.. p. 19. 

5. Senate Subcommittee on Migratory Labor. Senate 
Report No. 1006. 90th Congress, 2d Session, p 47. 



ployees of Libby McNeill & Libby. Obreros- 
Unldos filed a representation petition witfi ttie 
Wisconsin Employment Relations Commis- 
sion seeking an election among tfiese per- 
sons to determine wfiettier they wanted to 
unionize. At a fiearing to define the dimen- 
sions of the electorate, the employer denied 
that any of these persons were employees. 
The Company maintained that they were 
really employees of the farmers who owned 
the cucumber fields. The Employment Rela- 
tions Commission rejected this contention, 
finding that Libby recruited the workers, de- 
termined their wages, and effectively decreed 
the manner of work. The Wisconsin Employ- 
ment Relations Commission ordered an elec- 
tion among the 650 eligible employees which 
the Union won handily, 405 to 8. Because the 
election was held at the end of a harvest 
season, many eligible employees had left 
Waushara County before election day. With 
the Union's election victory, the employer was 
under a legal obligation to meet and nego- 
tiate a labor agreement. The entire transac- 
tion was a legal first. No employer of field 
laborers had ever been legally obligated to 
deal with their labor organization. 

Libby and the Union commenced negotia- 
tions. After several meetings in September 
and October of 1967 the employer announced 
that he was terminating negotiations. Libby 
had decided to replace the hand harvesters 
with mechanical cucumber pickers, in the 
employer's view it no longer had any em- 
ployees; therefore, there was nothing to 

The Union filed unfair labor practice 
charges with the Wisconsin Employment Re- 
lations Commission. The Union claimed (1) 
that the change from hand to mechanical 
harvesting was motivated in large part by a 
desire to avoid doing any business with the 
Union (2) regardless of the employer's moti- 
vation, he was under an obligation to discuss 
the decision to mechanize with the Union 
before it became a fait accompli and further, 
the employer was obliged to discuss the 

economic and social impact of such a deci- 
sion upon the employees represented by the 
Union. The matter went to tnai before a Com- 
mission hearing examiner in January of 1968. 
The Union offered substantia' economic and 
horticultural evidence to demonstrate that the 
decision to go to machine harvesting was not 
economically justified, even accepting the 
employer's goal of maximization of profit. 
The inference to be drawn was that the em- 
ployer was willing to run extraordinary eco-. 
nomic risks simply to be rid of the Union. 
Additionally, the Union offered evidence to 
support its claim that the employees never 
meaningfully participated in the decision to 
destroy their jobs. In June of 1968. the Capi- 
mission rendered its decision. It rejected the 
Union claim that the change in methods was 
designed to eliminate unionism. However, fhe 
Commission did find that Libby had violated 
the state law by failing to negotiate the de- 
cision to mechanize before its accomplish- 
ment, and by further failing to meaningfully 
negotiate the economic impact of that de- 
cision upon the affected employees. The 
Union had argued that the only effective 
remedy for this failure to negotiate the de- 
cision to close was the payment of a certain 
base level of severance pay and an order to 
negotiate on an increment above that base. 
With the workers dispersed and the opera- 
lion being performed mechanically, the Union 
had no economic leverage to cornpel mean- 
ingful severance pay through threat of eco- 
nomic^ reprisal. Additionally, the Union re- 
quested that the displaced workers be given 
factory jobs in the Libby processing plants in 
this state, as job openings ar&se. The Com- 
mission refused to grant any severance pay. 
It did, however, order the employer to at least 
negotiate on means of lessening the impact 
of its decision to close, and ordered the em- 
ployer to give the displaced workers prefer- 
ential hiring advantages in its existing pro- 
cessing operations. The employer has ap- 
pealed the decision of the Commission to the 
Circuit Court in Waushara County and will 



presumably continue to appeal to the Wis- 
consin Supreme Court if rebuffed. The Union 
has taken advantage of the employer's appeal 
to ask the Courts to review the Commission's 
refusal to grant a minimum base of severance 
pay. At least for the time being, tti« Union has 
established the principle that migrant vi/ork- 
ers have a right to participate in the decisions 
which might destroy their livelihood in this 
state. IT represents a first step toward the goal 
of self-determination. 

The second major lawsuit involved a con- 
frontation with the Department of Industry, 
Labor & Human Relations, a state government 
agency, legally charged with the duty of pro- 
tecting the migrant worker's economic in- 
terests through enforcement of the state 
minimum wage law As noted above, the law 
obliges an employer of women and minor 
children to pay them a 'Living Wage." Under 
the statute. "Living Wage " is defined in terms 
of a level of income designed to permit the 
covered person to maintain himself or her- 
self under conditions consistent with his or 
her welfare." The employer is to pay "any 
woman or minor employee " a wage adequate 
to generate this level of income. The statute 
goes on to state that the mode of payment 
may be an hourly rate, salary, or a piece rate. 

Under the statutory structure, the Depart- 
ment of Industry, Labor & Human Relations 
has the power to quantify the "Living Wage" 
and determine the mode of payment. Pur- 
suant to this power, in December of 1967, 
and in anticipation of the 1968 growing sea- 
son, the Commission decreed that women 
and minors over 18 engaged in agricultural 
labor should receive $1.30 per hour while 
minors from 17-12 should receive $1.10 per 
hour. However, the Commission further ruled 
that the employer could compensate the em- 
ployee by a piece rate and could establish 
various rates for varying grades of cucum- 
bers. The sum of the various rates by grade 
was to equal $2.32 CWT 

The Commission added a critical proviso. 
If 65% of the members of the class covered 

by the statute earned $1,39 per hour when 
their piece rate was translated into an hourly 
rate, then even though the remaining 35% of 
the class did not earn $1.30 per hour under 
the piece rate, the employer was not obliged 
to make up the difference between their ac- 
tual piece rate earnings and compensation at 
$1.30 or $1.10 per hour of work. 

The Union commenced an action in the 
Circuit Court for Dane County to enjoin the 
enforcement of the 65% — 35% rule. The 
Union argued that under the statute each 
person employed in agricultural labor was 
entitled to at least $1.30 or $1.10 per hour 
regardless of his Individual productivity. 
Again, the Union relied upon considerable 
economic evidence and data relating to the 
nature of the work process in cucumber har- 
vesting to demonstrate that individual pro- 
ductivity was a matter quite beyond the con- 
trol of a given worker. Worker productivity 
(that is to say, amount of cucumbers picked 
per unit of time), was a function of weather 
and the employer's cultivation methods. A 
fertilized, irrigated field was obviously going 
to yield more cucumbers per acre than one 
that was not cultivated by the best modern 
techniques. The total yield of the field of 
course provided the structure for individual 
productivity. Whether a given worker was as- 
signed to fertile acreage was a matter wholly 
outside his control. The Department essenti- 
ally argued that no employer should be com- 
pelled to pay wages in excess of the value of 
the worker's product. Of course, this Is an 
argument against the very concept of a mini- 
mum wage. Additionally, the Department ar- 
gued that "they" (th» migrant workers) 
"liked" the piece rate system. To which the 
Union replied, "well and good, retain the 
piece rate system but oblige the employer to 
make up any difference between that rate 
and the level of income legislatively deter- 
mined to be necessary to maintain oneself in 
minimal dignity." The Circuit Court agreed 
with the Union. It concluded that under the 
statute each person who worked at agricul- 



tural labor was entitled to the minimum wage 
for each hour of labor. Moreo\/er. the Court, 
Judge Norris f^aloney, concluded that to pay 
persons similarly situated a different wage on 
the basis of factors over which they had no 
control was to deny them equal protection 
under the 14th Amendment of the U. S. Con- 
stitution. The final result then was that all 
persons employed in agricultural labor would 
receive at least the minimum wage, the em- 
ployer being obliged to pay the difference be- 
tween earnings under the piece rate and the 
statutory hourly minimum. Additionally, the 
employer was obliged to keep records of 
hours worked daily and weekly and wages 
earned under the piece rate, so that enforce- 
ment agencies could determine whether the 
minimum wage requirements had been satis- 
fied. (It was never clearly explained how the 
Commission intended to ascertain whether 
65% of the members of the class had made 
$1.39 without records of hours worked or 
wages paid.) 

Judge Maloney's decision was the Union's 
finest hour. Not only did the result guarantee 
the maximum amount of income for those em- 
ployed under the system but more important- 
ly, the affected people, through the mech- 
anism of their Union, had checked the power 
of a state bureaucracy which was supposed 
to be on their side. The Union had done its 
thing. This action represented a major step 
toward the goal of self-determination for all 

This past summer, the Union again used 
the legal process in several skirmishes with 
the employer. After complaints were filed, 
with the Employment Commission, employers 
voluntarily agreed to permit Union organizers 
access to migrant labor camps during non- 
working hours, and another employer agreed 
to reinstate several employees whom the 
Union claimed had been fired because they 
picketed a local supermarket in support of 
the National Farm Workers grape boycott. 

Can the Union continue to use the system 
to achieve its goals? So far the answer is 
yes. The victories to date came in the Court, 
not in the street. The Union availed itself of 
various "establishment" services. Economists 
and Horticulturists from The University of 
Wisconsin testified in both the Libby and the 
Department of Industry trials. Extensive use 
of expert testimony Is perhaps the salient 
feature of Obreros-Unidos litigation. Legal 
services were provided by the State AFL-CIO 
whose President, John Schmitt. gave out of 
deep and unflagging personal committment. 
The direction in the Farm Workers Movement 
depends upon whether the legal system can 
develop new concepts and accommodate 
within traditional doctrine the Farm Workers 
demand for dignity, self-determination, and 
simple justice. Obreros-Unidos is willing to 
give the system a chance. Let us hope it can 
respond in kind. 




Camden Regional Legal Services, Inc. Number 4 

Farm Worker Division October-December, 1969 

Although a number of important cases are summarized herein, 
this report reflects an increasing emphasis within the Farm VJ^orker 
Division on activities outside the traditional realm of case-by- 
case legal services. We firmly believe the nature of problems 
confronting seasonal farm workers dictates that significant legal 
effort be devoted to certain areas other than individual case 
representation. Also, of course, as the number of seasonal farm 
workers has greatly reduced during recent months, activities on 
their behalf have been increasingly devoted to broader issues 
confronting them. 


Many routine situations of little general consequence here 
■were handled during the last three months. These concerned motor 
vehicle violations, welfare problems, wage and workmen's compensa- 
tion claims, and a myriad of administrative problems including 
everything from titles of automobiles to certificates of birth for 
children. Nonetheless certain cases deserve closer attention. 

1. Criminal 

Although the Division is prohibited from acting as counsel 
for those accused of indictable offenses, it can assume a vital 
role in protecting rights of seasonal farm workers in some criminal 
situations. Report No. 3 clearly documented the fact that farm 


workers face serious disabilities upon arrest. Because of language 
differences and discrimination, not only are they usually uninformed 
of rights to coxonsel, typically they are placed under exceedingly 
high bail for relatively minor transgressions. The following 
cases continue dociomenting inequities of the criminal justice 
system as applied to seasonal farm workers; they also illustrate 
the role this Division can assume in attempting to combat them. 

A. We noted in Report No. 3 (I.E., p. 5) the plight of a 
Puerto Rican farm worker awaiting trial in Salem County Jail for 
atrocious assault and battery. He had already spent over five 
months in jail for lack of $500 bail. Although our own investiga- 
tion had strongly indicated self defense, and that witnesses for 
the prosecution would be difficult to produce, the Public Defender 
(assigned early in this case) had not yet even made his presence 
known to the defendant. Until we prodded he had taken no action 
on his client's behalf. Quickly he concluded the worker should 
plead guilty; after having spent this long in jail, he probably 
would be freed. The worker, having now spent over five months in 
jail and apprised that in any event his trial would start within 
the next month, declined the offer. One month later charges were 
dismissed for lack of witnesses. Certainly steps might have been 
taken to facilitate dismissal of this case months earlier. 

B. That informal methods of negotiation in criminal cases 
exist and are available to an attorney who is present shortly after 
arrest is clear from the next case. We were informed of a Puerto 
Rican farm worker charged with carrying a concealed weapon. After ■ ■ 
speaking with the man prior to his preliminary hearing in a mimi- 
cipal court in Gloucester County, we personally contacted the Pro- 
secutor* s Office rather than merely forward an application for the 
Public Defender. 


We informed the Prosecutor of consititutional problems pre- 
sent here, i.e., an iinreasonable search and seizure involving a 
shake-dovm and a failure to provide counsel. We noted the farmer 
employing the defendant had stated it was common for police to 
arrest a farm worker and incarcerate him without either informing 
him of his rights nor the fanner of his detention. Since the 
alleged offense involved no violence or theft, we received the 
impression that prosecution might be withdrawn. Charges against 
this man were dismissed three weeks later. 

C, Unfortunately, the following situation did not come to 

our attention until subsequent to the release of the two black 

farm worker-defendants. It is another striking example of the 
ineffectiveness of local systems of criminal justice as applied 
to seasonal farm workers: 

1. On September 1, 1969, the men were arrested 
in their camp and charged with robbery. On 
September 8, bail was set at $200 each whi«^h 
they were unable to meet. 

2. On September 15, they pled not guilty in a 
rural municipal court in Cumberland County, 
informing the court they were indigent and 
unable to afford private counsel. The judge 
postponed their preliminary hearing and in- 
structed them they would shortly be given an 
application for appointment of a Public Defender. 

3. On September 19, they received and completed 
the application. 

4. On approximately October 15, an investigator 
for the Public Defender interviewed them and 
received their statements. 

5. On December 8, they were again brought before 
the municipal judge where their case was dis- 
missed for lack of prosecution. 


The men were referred to the Farm Worker Division by an 
apologetic Public Defender who requested we assist them return to 
their winter homes in Florida. He stated that a county judge 
trying to clear out the jail prior to Christmas noticed the men 
were arrested on September 1 and had not yet received a preliminary 
hearing. We brought the case to the attention of SCOPE Farm Worker 
Division and emergency funds were secured for their return. 

D. An interesting case illustrates the disinterest of 
local police when confronted with a situation in which a Puerto 
Rican farm worker is the complaining witness. The man was victim 
of an assault by two men in a bar in Vineland. The following day, 
we were informed that the police, who had taken the man to a 
hospital for treatment of cuts on the head, face and arms and who 
was still suffering chest, leg and back pains as a result-of the- 
fracas, had charged one of the assailants with simple assault and 
battery and the other with loud and abusive language. 

An inquiry into the matter with the Vineland Police Depart- 
ment resulted in discussion with the two police officers concerned 
and the chief of police. The latter, of course, maintained that 
the charges made were satisfactory and that the municipal judge 
could always upgrade them. After extended discussion we convinced 
the authorities justice and our client would be better served by 

charging atrocious assult and battery, and that the judge cjDuld 

always down-grade the offense if so inclined. Predictably, after 
defendants received two postponements of their hearings, the worker 
was obligated to return to Puerto Rico and charges were dismissed. 

E. Report No. 3 (l.F. , p. 5) related the predicament of a 
Puerto Rican farm worker who had spent two months in Camden County 
Jail prior to being advised of rights to counsel or to receiving 

a preliminary hearing on charges of larceny of auto. We eventually 


represented him at a mionicipal court hearing on four motor vehicle 
violations arising out of the same incident (he got drunk on July 
4 and took a spin in the car of a visitor to the camp) . A length- 
ier account would chronicle three more months of attempting to 
facilitate the disposition of this case in both Atlantic and 
Camden Counties. Again, the local system of justice as applied 
to seasonal farm workers resulted in grave injustice. 

In short, the Public Defender of Atlantic County was unable 
to persuade the Prosecutor' s Office to accept a plea luider the joy 
riding statute. The latter would, of course, accept a plea to 
petty larceny, i.e., theft of a value under $200. V/ith little 
alternative after 5 months in jail, he pled guilty to the offense 
and was shortly thereafter sentenced to six months in jail, the 
final two weeks of which were suspended. We secured temporary 
lodging for him and, shortly thereafter, suitable housing and a 
job in a nearby area. The case is presently under review by a 
private attorney interested in bringing suit for the violations 

2. Civil Rights Violation; Public Accomodations 

Also noted in the previous report (4, p. 9) was an investi- 
gation into discriminatory practices of barber shops in Swedesboro. 
After a conciliation conference with one shop, the Division of 
Civil Rights of the Department of Public Safety of New Jersey in- 
formed us that a consent order'and decree, had been signed, and 
that the Farm Worker Division might take a future opportunity to ■ 
insure that shop was complying with the order. In effect, the 
conciliation conference resulted in settlement without a full public 
hearing. The order and decree required that the owner immediately 
cease and desist from the proscribed acts and post notices of 
compliance within his shop. 


We will conduct a subsequent investigation and refer all 
findings to the Division of Civil Rights. If a subsequent vio- 
lation exists, the matter would be immediately removed to court 
and considered under normal judicial procedures pursuant to 
N.J.S.A. 10:5-17. 

3. Administrative Discrimination; Salem County Migrant 
Health t-'rograni 

We also noted in the prior report (8, p. 11) an incredible 
case of abuse of administrative responsibility on the part of the 
Salem County Migrant Health Program. The situation concerned 
lack of treatment afforded a seasonal farm worker couple over a 
three to four month period. Although the workers' problems are 
not yet completely resolved, the following represents a capsule 
summary of the situation to date. 

A lengthy chronology would trace efforts of this office 
and the SCOPE Farm Worker Division to insure that SCMHP executed 
its responsibility. In short, during tvjo months of attempting to 
gain assistance due this family, SCMHP forwarded the following 
excuses to justify refusals and delays in service: 

1. The lack of migrant status (improperly determined) , 

2. The chronic condition of the ailment, later proven 
not chronic for the man, and still undetermined 
for the woman, 

3. The lack of funds available to the program for 
care; and, 

4. The contemplated change of residence of the family 
to Pennsylvania (Note that although SCIfflP ori- 
ginally offered to provide a referral to Pennsyl- 
vania, the man stated that as of two months after 
v/e had originally notified Salem of this case, 
they still had received none) . 



During the last three months, we have devoted much effort 
to insuring that these workers, now residing in Pennsylvania, receive 
the proper attention they should have been afforded in New Jersey. 
Two weeks after SCMHP knew the couple's address in Pennsylvania, 
it did forward a copy of records to proper authorities in Pennsyl- 
vania. Although the Farm V/orker Division has no jurisdiction to 
investigate the inadequacy of programs in Pennsylvania, v;e still 
assume a responsibility for securing medical assistance long de- 
prived the family as a result of SCMHP' s refusal to perform satis- 

We will forvrard a complete documentation of the history of 
this situation to the New Jersey Department of Health. This will 
include demand upon it for proper recompensation to this couple, 
for an investigation into the activities of SCrJIHP, and for imme- 
diate placement of SCMP under the direct supervision of the Nev; 
Jersey Department of Health. 

4. Breach of Contract 

We recently commenced suit based on the following circum- 
stances. Seven months ago a farm worker vras involved in an accident 
in which his car sustained substantial damages. Shortly there- 
after, he verbally contracted with defendant for repair v/ithin a 
reasonable time of all damage to his automobile for the sum of 
$750. Approximately one month later, the worker signed a written 
embodiment of this contract stipulating that defendant vrauld make 
repairs as he received successive payments. Thereafter, he paid 
defendant the sum of $600 prior to commencement of this action 
and has been viilling since to pay the remaining $150 for completion 
of the repairs. However, defendant has performed only a small 


portion of the repairs necessary, has delayed excessively in 
making these repairs, and now refuses to complete repairs without 
additional payments far in excess of the amount agreed upon. 

Although the client has on several occasions demanded that 
defendant complete repairs or return the car, together with part 
of the money which he had advanced the defendant, defendant has 
steadfastly refused. Therefore, in a complaint attached to an 
order to show cause, plaintiff has requested the following relief: 

1. That plaintiff be excused from performance ^ 
of all obligations undgr the contract; 

2. That defendant be ordered to return the ^^ 
automobile to plaintiff immediately, 
together with money defendant has re- 
ceived from plaintiff in excess of the 
reasonable value of repairs already made; 

3. That plaintiff be granted judgment for 
damage he has sustained through deprivation 
of his rightful use and enjoyment of his 
automobile ; and 

4. That plaintiff be granted judgment for 
exemplary damages for defendant's malicious 
refusal to comply with the contract or re- 
turn the automobile. 

An interesting sidelight occured when a Division attorney 
attempted to serve the order to show cause and complaint upon 
defendant. Defendant refused to accept the papers, placed them 
back in the inside pocket of the attorney' s jacket , pushed the 
attorney and ordered him from the premises. Since plaintiff's 
attorney was duly authorized to serve these papers, he has filed 
two complaints for interference with service of process and ob- 
struction of justice, both indictable offenses, against defendant, 


He again served the papers with assistance from a state police- 
man who kindly consented to accompany him on this hazardous 
expedition. All actions in this case are pending. 

5. Housing 

A. In a case illustrative of problems of Puerto Rican farm 
worker families in the three counties, we assisted a family of 
15| victims of a fire that destroyed the farm house in which they 
had resided for six years. The family was removed to a barracks- 
like structure which houses single male workers in the summer. 

Together with the SCOPE Farm Worker Division, we immediately- 
assisted them with emergency food and clothing and began inquiries 
concerning responsibility for the immediate and future housing of 
the family. We also took the family to Gloucester County Welfare. 
Welfare had denied assistance because it maintained there was no 
emergency, i.e., no catastrophe, although it had conducted no in- 
vestigation. Therefore, since five of the thirteen children were 
already receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Welfare 
maintained with some interesting reasoning, the other eight, although 
admittedly eligible, had to be processed under normal and much 
slower procedures. After considerable discussion, however, we con- 
vinced Welfare the situation was indeed a catastrophe, that the 
remaining children should be covered immediately. 

Neither the Bureau of Migrant Labor nor the Gloucester 
County Health Department were effective in dealing with the housing 
situation. The Bureau recommended a few inconsequential corrections 
for the barracks while the Health Department maintained it could 
do nothing since the family was not a paying tenant. V/e are 
coordinating an attempt to secure suitable housing. Proceedings 
against the lessee-corporation-farmer for negligence resulting 
in the fire are being instituted by a private attorney. 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 26 


B. While concerned with the situation described above, we 
also discovered in Gloucester County, a family of 15 living in 
a converted chicken coop. After assisting the family secure 
emergency medical attention for some of the children we discovered 
once more that not all those eligible were receiving v^elfare. 
This situation was immediately remedied. 

Upon personally visiting the structure in which the family 
was existing, we immediately moved them and their few possessions 
to the Father Fitzgerald Memorial Center near Vineland. We are 
coordinating assistance to the family including a search for 
suitable housing. 


A VISTA Volunteer, Norman R. V/illiams, joined the program in 
November. A graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, 
he was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1968 and has previously 
served as a VISTA lawyer with V/'estern Idaho Legal Aid, in Caldwell 
Idaho. Among other responsibilities, he assisted staff attorneys 
vdth the daily case load, worked with a farm workers co-op, and 
conducted legal education classes, Western Idaho Legal Aid devoted 
much of its efforts to problems of Mexican-American farm workers 
in southwestern Idaho. 


The Farm Worker Division continued its practice of offering 
comprehensive assistance to farm workers with legal problems. The 
importance of doing so has been confirmed by recent experience. 
State and local agencies are increasingly unresponsive to the needs 
of New Jersey's seasonal farm workers. 


Witness the following examples of lack of commitment by 
vaiTLous agencies to the welfare of their clients: 

1. The Salem County Migrajit Health Program ~- ■ 
refused over a period of three months 

to provide proper medical assistance 
to an elderly Puerto Rican couple. 
(See Cases, 3» p. 6). 

2. The Gloucester County Office of the 
Bureau of Children's Services, a state 
agency supervising the welfare of various 
categories of underprivileged children, 

knew of 13 Puerto Rican children living -— 

in a converted chicken coop with no heat 

or water. Incredibly, although the agency 
had hospitalized children on two occasions " 
with pneumonia, it returned them to the 
coop vrithout assuming responsibility for 
either moving the family or prosecuting the 
owner of the dwelling. (See Cases, $B., p. 10). 

3. Gloucester County Vfelfare, aware of the same 
situation, refused to provide rent because the 
coop v/as unfit for human habitation. However, 
it knew the family was forced to pay $12 5 a 
month out of its Aid to Dependant Children 
grant and allowed this to continue v/ithout 
assuming further responsibility. 

k» Gloucester County Welfare refused to give 
additional financial assistance to another 
Puerto Rican family of 1$ after it determined 
no "catastrophe" existed. Unfortunately, no 
one had investigated the labor camp to which 
the family was removed after its house burned 
down. (See Cases, 5A., p. 9). 

5. County V/elfare offices provided AFDC to some 
children in families of Puerto Rican farm workers 
when others were also qualified, the excuse being 
the families never requested aid for the addi- 
tional children. 

6. The Vineland Adult Migrant Education Program 
refused to re-enroll a Puerto Rican farm 
worker after it had placed him in a job he 


claimed he was medically unfit to carry out. 
The Program had not provided a medical exami- 

7. A number of schools have not informed fami- 
lies of Puerto Rican farm workers that their 
children were eligible for free lunches 
although the school participated in that pro- 
gram; meanwhile, these children have not been 
eating since they could not afford it^ 

8. Many agencies have gratuitously suggested to 
Puerto Rican families in need of assistance 
that they return to Puerto Rico. Since efforts 

of these agencies are often inadequate, we— — -_ 

doubt not their sincerity in encouraging 

families to leave during the winter. Perhaps ^ ■ — • 

next year they will provide air fare. 

These, of course, are only representative of situations in the tri-- 

county area. Although many agencies are becoming more defensive 

in their attitudes toward the Farm Worker Divisidn, we v;ill parti-- 

cipate as much as possible with them in an attempt to maximize 

their effectiveness as well as our own. 

We have increased contact with families remaining in the 
area during the winter. The heads of these families are crew 
leaders in summer, and the relationships established should increase 
our opportunities for providing legal services when workers arrive 
for the season. 

We continue to coordinate our work with fieldworkers of 
the Farm V/orker Division of SCOPE. Together we are accumulating, 
producing and distributing information of importance to seasonal 
farm workers and agencies having contact with them. V/e are meeting 
vrLth health, welfare and education agencies trying to evaluate 
the effectiveness and adequacy of services currently available. 

Presently, we are exploring the possibility of establishing 
a translation and transportation service. Since most social 
agencies in this area do not hire interpreters nor offer transporta- 
tion to their clients they have traditionally depended on SCOPE 


fieldworkers and increasingly on Legal Services staff. If persons 
could be recruited to provide these services, they might be paid 
by the agency served in each individual situation. 


As summarized in Report No. 3> Governor Richard J. Hughes 
issued, on January 13, 1969, Executive Order No. 49 creating an 
Interdepartmental Cabinet Coordinating Committee on Seasonal Farm 
Labor. This Committee was charged with a number of responsibilities 
culminating with preparation of a long-range plan for improving 
the condition of seasonal farm workers in Nev/ Jersey. 

In answer to a letter written to the Commissioner of the 
Department of Community Affairs we were informed that Department 
was unaware of any reports or plans of the Committee. On October 
29, we wrote directly to the Commissioner of the Department of 
Labor and Industry, the officer designated Chairman of the Committee. 
We registered our disappointment v.dth the failure of this Committee 
to execute its responsibilities but nonetheless urged it to convene 
as quickly as possible. 

On November 14, 1969, the Commissioner answered; unfor- 
tunately, his explanation was unresponsive. He cited us to a 
Committee on Farm Safety established for other purposes prior to 
the execution of the Executive Order, and suggested we discuss 
"any recommendations you might have to alleviate the plight of the 
migrant farm worker in New Jersey" with the Director of the Bureau 
of Migrant Labor (within the Department of Labor and Industry) . 

We wrote to him again on November 2 5 and again registered 
disappointment at the failure of this Committee to execute its 


responsibilities. On December 2, we met vdrth the Director of the 
Biireau of Migrant Labor, and requested that he urge- hi3- superiors 
to convene the Committee. Having received no answer to all of this 
by December 17, we wrote to the Governor-elect of the State of 
New Jersey apprising him of the situation and urging that he con- 
vene this Committee upon commencement of his administration. The 
Grovernor-elect' s letter of December 23 stated that he looked for- . 
ward to our "cooperation and advice in this matter." _ . 

This Division together vrLth SCOPE has begun preparation of 
position papers on a number of issues affecting seasonal farm 
labor in New Jersey. We seek the opportunity to present these - 
suggestions to the Interdepartmental Committee in the. near future. 
These recommendations contain suggestions for legislation as well 
as for independent action within various executive departments. 


Three separate bills affecting seasonal farm labor in New 
Jersey have been pending before the state legislature. 

Assembly Bill No. 464 amends the Workmen's Compensation laws, 
making protection mandatory for employers of farm labor. Although 
all contract v/orkers from Puerto Rico receive this protection 
under the contract and although most farmers maintain coverage as 
a matter of self protection, we believe the bill essential and 
important as a matter of public policy. , 

Assembly Bill No. 465 protects the right of persons in pri- 
vate employment to organize and bargain collectively by prohibiting 
unlawful interference with the exercise of these rights. Such 
interference shall be deemed a misdemeanor. The bill provides 
some small protection for the exercise of an existing Constitutional 
right (no state agency is authorized to enforce this right). 


Assembly Bill No. 466 allows any occupant of a farm labor 

csunp to have a reasonable right of visitation by persons of his 
ovm choice- and in his ovm living quarters. The bill would* prohibit 
interference with the exercise of this right. 

In cooperation with the State Office of Legal Services, we 
communicated with a number of important legislators regarding the 
future of these bills. We were informed by all sources that only 
the Workmen's Compensation measure might pass at this time. We 
then communicated directly with leaders of the State Senate in 
order to bring to their attention factors supporting passage of 
the bill. As expected, at the final session of the Senate for 
1969 f Assembly Bill No. 464 was approved. 

We anticipate greater activity in encouraging and supporting 
legislation improving the conditions of seasonal farm labor in 


The Division undertook an examination of the New Jersey 
Seasonal Farm Labor Act and Regulations promulgated thereunder. 
From this, we received a more comprehensive understanding of the 
nature and goals of the Act and Regulations. With regard to labor 
camps, both documents are relatively comprehensive and problems 
here are more of vigorous enforcement of existing provisions rather 
than lack of comprehensive coverage. Perhaps the two most note- 
worthy changes in these documents for 1970 are mandatory provi-- . _. 
sions for flush toilets and increased space requirements per in- 
habitant . 

The Act offers interesting suggestions for this Division's 
cooperation and communication with the Bureau of Migrant Labor. 
Apart from responsibilities regard to the labor camps themselves 


the— Act lists a minber of related areas in which -the_aureau has 
jurisdiction, at times conciirrently vfith other state and local 
agencies. It is here we might make concrete recommendations for 
increased activity within the Bureau. 

For example, the Bureau has the power to enforce all labor 
laws, provide health and educational services, cooperate with 
State Police, build experimental camps, and assist with welfare 
problems of seasonal farm labor. The Bureau, however, has never 
taken much initiative in these additional areas of responsibility. 
Although one recent meeting with the Bureau was unproductive, we . . 
anticipate further communication with it under the new administra- 
tion. \ie are particularly interested in accompanying Bureau in- 
spectors to the farms for the dual purpose of posting notice of 
the Farm V/orker Division and of acquainting our staff v.-ith the 
locations of all camps in the three-county area. 

Both under the Act and in practice the Director of the Bureau 
is given primary consideration regarding proposed action affecting 
seasonal farm labor in New Jersey. For instance, in response to 
our first letter to the Commissioner of the Department of Labor 
and Industry, regarding a request that the Governor's Committee on 
Seasonal Farm Labor be convened, he referred us to the Director 
and requested we meet with him. We have also received this londer- 
standing from other State and local officials involved '.sath farm 
worker problems. 


Approximately one-quarter to one-third of all seasonal farm 
workers in New Jersey are covered by an agreement with certain 



employers. In southern New Jersey, the contract is negotiated 
between the Department of Labor of the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico on behalf of its citizens and the Glassboro Service Associa-" 
tion, a division of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, acting on behalf 
of its grower members. Note that actual parties to this document 
are the individual workers and the Glassboro Service Association 
(and, in some instances, individual growers). Of course, the 
Commonwealth acts on behalf of the workers in administering the 
provisions of the contract. 

The Division conducted an extensive analysis of the_terms 
of the agreement culminating in tv;o days of discussion with repre- 
sentatives of the Commonwealth. Again, as with the Seasonal Farm 
Labor Act, it is noteworthy that although many protections are 
included, actually benefit to the worker is essentially a question 
of adequate monitoring or enforcement of the contract. Although 
the Commonwealth reacts reasonably well when apprised of particular 
situations, limited resources restrict the scope of its active 

The contract is interesting in another sense. It does pro- 
vide a number of basic protections for farm workers absent at the 
state level. For example, it has long included V/orkmen' s Compensa- 
tion protection, and now contains minimum wage guarantees, provides 
for hospitalization and group insurance, and stipulates piece_ work.- 
rateg perhaps more importantly, it is administered by an agency 
having a strong interest in the welfare of its citizens. V/e have 
used and will continue to use resources of the Commonwealth office 
for purposes of obtaining assistance in situations involving con- 
tract workers. 

36-513 O - 70 - pt. 4B - 27 



Events of the past three months have substantiated our 
belief that New Jersey iirgently requires a bail project for its 
seasonal farm workers. All too often unfamiliarity with the 
language and system of criminal justice, coupled with a lack of 
funds, has subjected workers to grave injustices. 

Unfortunately, efforts to establish some type of pjroject 
have met negative reaction. A representative of New Jersey OEO 

-Stat-ed—that creation of a bail fund would be difficult without 

built-in provisions for reform. He also noted most resources for 
-the f-ollowi-ng year were already committed. He suggested vfe try^-- 
to establish a VERA-type point system designed especially for 
seasonal farm workers. 

Conversation with a bail expert at the VERA Foundation con- 
cerning adjustment of the traditional point system was also un- 
productive. Since the VERA system is approximately 90?J geared to 
the nature and extent of community connections of a particular 
accused, we believed revision was necessary. VERA had no prior 
experience with farm workers and their representative was unable 
to offer workable suggestions for adjustment. He also believed 
creation of a special fund would be difficult without provision