If Cesar Chavez’s Bust Could Talk

On Wednesday, First Lady Jill Biden will celebrate National Border Control Day.

Well, sort of.

March 31 would have been Cesar Chavez’s 94th birthday, and the president’s wife is scheduled to attend a ceremony honoring the late labor leader at his United Farm Workers union’s first headquarters in California’s Central Valley.

Chavez’s lifelong advocacy for tight borders and against illegal immigration are the reasons his birthday is increasingly celebrated as National Border Control Day. But the first lady isn’t likely to mention any of that, especially given her husband’s responsibility for sparking the current border disaster.

The Left’s inversion of Chavez into a prophet of open borders is the reason the president’s staff strategically placed a bust of him in the Oval Office during the photo op when Biden signed a series of executive orders weakening immigration enforcement.

But if Chavez’s bust could talk, it might offer a very different take on immigration than what those who lionize him today might expect.

It could say something like, “You guys get these hang-ups. . . . They’re wets, you know. They’re wets, and let’s go after them.” (That was Chavez’s rebuke to UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta at a board meeting when she objected to the term “illegal alien.”)

Or the bust might alert the president, “We have had no enforcement by the Border Patrol.” (From Chavez’s 1969 congressional testimony explaining his boycott campaign.)

The labor leader’s likeness might whisper in the president’s ear, “If my mother was breaking the strike, if she was illegal, I’d ask the same thing.” (In response to a question at a 1979 event, “Do you feel uneasy being allied with the reactionary groups, like the Ku Klux Klan, in calling for stricter enforcement of immigration laws?”)

Or it might express frustration over the lack of immigration enforcement by asking, “What the heck’s going on? It’s just, it’s a complete breakdown of the law. They’re not doing anything.” (From the same 1979 event.)

Unfortunately, whatever inanimate objects President Biden may have bumped into and spoken with, Mr. Magoo-like, the Chavez bust was not one of them. Instead, the Biden Administration has backed, and the Democratic House has passed, an indentured labor program for farmworkers, tying them to work in the fields for up to eight years.

More importantly, the administration has presided over an historic surge in illegal immigration at the border, which even Mexico’s president acknowledged is Biden’s fault. When Chavez was faced with government unwillingness to enforce the border, he sent his ex-con cousin Manny down to set up what was called at the time a “wet-line”—i.e., a human barrier to illegal aliens trying to come in and take the jobs of legal workers. If illegals didn’t take the hint, Manny’s boys sometimes applied more physical forms of persuasion.

Chavez’s rough tactics are unnecessary today; our immigration agents are eager to do their jobs but are obstructed by the current administration’s loose-borders policies. Unlike the narrow strike-breaking agendas of the past, today’s mass immigration agenda is informed by the desire to create a looser labor market generally, in all industries, so that more workers are chasing after fewer jobs.

A simple understanding of supply and demand would make clear that a tight labor market—one not loosened by immigration—is the poor man’s best friend. But the president doesn’t have to take my word for it—he should just ask the figure on the table behind his desk.

 

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