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Thread: Media Ignore César Chávez’s Opposition to Illegal Immigration, Racial Advocacy

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    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Media Ignore César Chávez’s Opposition to Illegal Immigration, Racial Advocacy

    By Sean Long | March 27, 2014 | 13:45

    Rather than dismissing his contrary views as sour grapes, the media simply ignore César Chávez’s opinions that stray from liberal orthodoxy.

    Chávez was a 1960s and 70s union leader who promoted unionization and Californian farm workers’ strikes. The farm workers of the time were predominantly Latino. He is particularly famous for the Delano grape strike: a five-year strike and boycott against Californian grapes. Liberals seized on this boycott, as well as several high profile hunger strikes, to promote Chávez as a symbol of immigrant and Latino rights.

    Even today, prominent media outlets often praise Chávez, just as they lauded his movement during the 1960s. With the new biopic, “César Chávez,” being released on March 28 ahead of his March 31 birth date, immigration activists have once again begun invoking his legacy.

    However, Chávez reportedly compared La Raza to Hitler and called for increased enforcement against illegal immigration but liberal media outlets ignore these statements while using his legacy to promote their own agenda on immigration and identity politics.

    Throughout the Delano grape strike, print media such as The Washington Post and The New York Times endlessly touted Chávez’s role in the labor movement. On June 17, 1968, the Times praised the “inspirational leadership of Cesar Chavez” in promoting labor unions.

    In addition, the Post’s Jack Fox described Chávez on Nov. 14, 1968, as the “apostle of non-violence, liberal, and champion of civil rights for the ‘brown’ people of the United States.”

    Today, liberal outlets have seized on that same narrative. For example, the Post described him on March 20, 2014, as a “Latino labor Hero,” and on March 23, 2014, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Ordoña called him an “extraordinary ordinary man.”

    Ignoring his actual views, the liberal media have also linked this hero worship to the fight over illegal immigration and amnesty. Tony Castro, writing for The Huffington Post on Dec. 27, 2013, praised an immigration activist’s “22 days on a water-only fast to protest Congress’ failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform” and said the fast was “Following in that tradition of Chavez’s fasting.”

    The Los Angeles Times’ Hector Tobar also linked Chávez to immigrant rights. On March 22, 2014, he described Chávez’s “successful series of marches, fasts and strikes he led on behalf of mostly immigrant farmworkers.”

    Modern politicians including President Barack Obama also praised Chávez. On March 19, 2014, the National Review reported that Obama called Chávez “an American hero” before a White House pre-screening of the upcoming film on the labor leader.

    Such liberal praise completely ignores Chávez’s criticism of many contemporary liberal positions on Latino rights.

    Even The New York Times admitted that the modern immigration movement was not in line with Chávez’s views on illegal immigration. On June 12, 2013 the Times’ Michael Cieply reported that Chávez “held complex and evolving views on the status of unauthorized immigrants, some of which would be at odds with the changes many Latinos and others are seeking today.”

    Of course, the Times concealed the extent to which he opposed illegal immigration by simply calling it “complex,” when in fact, Chávez demanded government crackdowns on illegal immigration and actively denounced illegal immigrants.

    The Blaze reported that Chávez, while testifying in front of the Senate in 1979, condemned the “unlimited, unrestricted use of illegal alien strikebreakers” and complained that “the Immigration and Naturalization Service has looked the other way and assisted in the strike breaking.”

    Chávez demanded deportation of illegal immigrants. Ruben Navarrette, Jr. of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in 2005 that Chávez had told union members “to report the presence of illegal immigrants in the fields” and “demand that the [INS] deport them.”

    These outlets praising Chávez as a racial leader also ignore his stated opposition to Latino advocacy groups. Specifically, he attacked the Latino “La Raza” or “The Race” movement, putting himself at odds with The National Council of La Raza (NCLR). NCLR president Janet Murguía described the organization in 2009 as “the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization.”

    The National Review’s Mark Krikorian chronicled Chávez’s objections to the “La Raza” movement in 2009. He cited a 1969 New Yorker profile by Peter Matthiessen which quoted Chávez saying “La raza is a very dangerous concept” and “Today it’s anti-gringo [white], tomorrow it will be anti-Negro.”

    Matthiessen had written that Chávez’s deputy Leroy Chatfield said that Chávez compared the “La Raza” movement to the Nazis. According to Chatfield, Chávez said “Can’t they understand that that’s just the way Hitler started?” and that “it’s related to Hitler’s concept.”
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Cesar Chavez's Legacy: Iconic Civil Rights Leader's Controversial Take On ...

    Fox News Latino
    4 hours ago
    Written by
    Elizabeth Llorente
    Chavez's ambivalence over - and sometimes apparent outright disdain for - undocumented immigrants also is drawing attention via new published works such as a new biography whose author, journalist Miriam Pawel, says shows the icon as the complex ...

    Cesar Chavez's Legacy: Iconic Civil Rights Leader's Controversial Take On Illegal Immigration Rarely Explored

    By Elizabeth Llorente
    Published March 28, 2014Fox News Latino

    • United Farm Workers union founder Cesar Chavez (AP)

    Michael Harpold, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent, recalled driving in his green and white government van in the mid-1960’s that clearly identified his role to those who lived and worked in the area.
    Suddenly, a man on the side of the road waved at him to stop.
    The man, agent Harpold recalled, introduced himself as César Chavez, president of the National Farm Workers Association.
    “Coming right to the point, Chavez said his members were complaining that the growers were hiring illegal aliens,” Harpold wrote in an article. “Chavez saw illegal immigrants as not only a threat to his union, but as having different interests than the U.S. workers he sought to organize. The illegals slipped across the border, worked for a short time, then returned to Mexico. They were interested only in wages, he said, and not the benefits important to domestic farm workers and families.”
    It is a side of the labor rights leader that often is eclipsed, or rendered absent altogether, by the more defining image of him as a benevolent defender of farm workers and – by extension – immigrants, regardless of their legal status.
    Chavez’s birthday on Sunday coincides with tributes to how Chavez, an Arizona-born descendant of Mexicans who toiled in fields as a migrant worker with his family, devoted his life to improving treatment and pay for farm workers.
    Chavez’s ambivalence over – and sometimes apparent outright disdain for – undocumented immigrants also is drawing attention via new published works such as a new biography whose author, journalist Miriam Pawel, says shows the icon as the complex person that he was.
    “It’s so complicated,” she said of Cesar’s handling of undocumented immigrants, in an interview with Fox News Latino. “The border was very different then. There was no militarization of the border, people crossed the border every day, very easily.”
    Chavez practically lived – and even risked his health – to improve life for U.S. farm workers. He pushed and pushed to persuade reluctant workers to unionize. He launched boycotts and labor strikes. He staged several hunger strikes, including one that lasted 25 days.
    His devotion, some say, led to an overzealous approach to those he perceived as undermining U.S. workers.
    “He had very strong feelings about undocumented immigrants,” Pawel said.
    “He launched the ‘Illegals Campaign’ in 1974, it was in the context of strike breakers and easy availability of people who were brought across the border [by U.S. employers] to replace striking workers.”
    Chavez’s cousin, Manuel, started what was known as the “wet line,” a series of tents along a 25-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexican border along Arizona where some 300 members of what was then the United Farm Workers Union patrolled – to keep would-be border crossers out.
    “Ostensibly, the ‘wet line’ existed to strengthen a citrus strike in the Yuma lemon groves by convincing Mexicans who might work as scabs to turn around and stay home,” Pawel wrote in her book.
    But the patrols went beyond just monitoring the border for people who might be crossing illegally to replace striking workers, Pawel said.
    “Stories had begun to surface about widespread violence and beatings along the ‘wet line,’” she said. There were also many reports, she said, of UFW members stealing from people crossing the border.
    Pawel said that when confronted at the time about the reports of abuse by ‘wet line’ patrols, Cesar Chavez denied knowing about it or condoning it.
    But, she wrote, “the willingness of illegal immigrants to voluntarily report crimes to U.S. authorities, generally unsympathetic to the migrants’ status, reflected the severity of the violence.”
    A judge who sentenced two UFW members to probation said: “There is no justification for stopping these people, robbing them, beating them and throwing them back across the line,” Pawel wrote in her new book.
    Pawel and others say that Cesar Chavez did direct union members to seek out suspected undocumented immigrants and report them to immigration officials.
    “They found workers in fields all over Fresno” for instance, she said, “and reported them to [immigration officials].
    Chavez granted an interview to KQED, the National Public Radio station in San Francisco, in which he expressed his disapproval of “wetbacks” who worked as scabs, and undermined U.S. workers.
    Many unions, in fact, had strong objections to undocumented immigrants, seeing them as threats to American workers and their organizing efforts. Later, when their memberships began dwindling, they grew more supportive of immigration, and now many unions are at the forefront of pushing for laws that would help legalize undocumented workers.
    Pawel said that for his part, Chavez had misgivings over immigrants in general.
    “He was very wary of them,” she said, viewing them as not sharing his values “about what workers should want and aspire to.”
    Chavez felt that workers should strive to live comfortable lives, but not be greedy and forget their communities or the plight of laborers.
    “He felt that immigrants came just to make money,” she said, “and he had a real problem with it.”
    At one time, Pawel’s book said, his comrade-in-arms, Dolores Huerta, who helped found the United Farm Workers Union with him, objected to the use of “wetback” and “illegal,” saying some people found those terms offensive.
    “Chavez turned on Huerta angrily,” Pawel wrote. “No, a spade’s a spade,” her book quoted him as saying, “You guys get these hang-ups. Goddamn it, how do we build a union? They’re wets, you know. They’re wets, and let’s go after them.”
    In an interview with the Huffington Post last year, Huerta defended Chavez, saying the UFW helped undocumented immigrants fill out paperwork, and helped develop the 1986 amnesty that President Ronald Reagan signed into law. Almost three million people obtained amnesty through that program.
    Huerta’s not the only one coming to Chavez’s defense, essentially arguing that his stance on illegal immigration did not overshadow his overall impact on Hispanic civil rights.
    Jaime P. Martinez, founder and president of the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Foundation in San Antonio, Texas, recalled the labor rights legend as a humble and big-hearted person who helped undocumented immigrants.
    “He was a great humanitarian,” Martinez, who marched alongside Chavez, told Fox News Latino. “He felt about undocumented immigrants the way advocates feel right now. He fought for the poor, the disenfranchised.”
    Chavez did get upset, he said, over the strike-breakers brought over by growers who did not want to improve working conditions for U.S. workers.
    But Chavez’s union, Martinez insisted, was supportive of all Hispanics looking to improve their lot, including undocumented immigrants.
    “There were people on strike who were undocumented,” he said. “He was a unique and humble leader. He was a strong believer in the principles of non-violence. He had to preserve the strike. But he was not against undocumented immigrants.”

    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 03-28-2014 at 06:35 PM.

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