Some people say that civil rights leader Cesar Chavez was fiercely opposed to undocumented migrant labor.
There is video footage that shows Chavez referring to undocumented immigrants as “illegals”and “wetbacks.” At one point he also encouraged union members to join “wet lines” along the Arizona-Mexico border to prevent undocumented immigrants from crossing into the U.S.
But labor activist Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association with Chavez, says that’s not true. SHe offered some insight in to the civil rights leader’s complicated and evolving views on undocumented immigration.
“I can prove it to you. When we first started organizing way back in 1962, the bracero program ended in 1963, we worked to end the bracero program because a lot of the Braceros were being exploited…It was not being against undocumented, it was a lot of undocumented people were in the union,” Huerta said.
The UFW supported undocumented migrant laborers before and after the strike, Huerta told Open Source host Leon Krauze.