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February 28, 2006

Crossing the line

By David Dorado Romo, who is the author of "Ringside Seat to a Revolution: An Underground Cultural History of El Paso and Juarez, 1893-1923," just published by Cinco Puntos Press.
February 27 2006

I was born in California to Mexican immigrants but have lived most of my life in El Paso, where the anti-immigrant fervor that's sweeping the U.S. today is nothing new. In fact, the first public calls for a fence along the Rio Grande to keep out unwanted foreigners were heard in El Paso a century ago, in 1904. But back then — unlike what the Republicans want to do these days with their proposal for a 700-mile border fence — they weren't trying to keep the Latin hordes out. It was the Chinese who were the undesirable aliens.

Mexican border crossers were not considered illegal in the United States until 1917, when a new law imposed formidable barriers to entry: a literacy test, a head tax and a prohibition against contract labor. Mexican nationals for the first time needed a passport to enter the United States. That's also the year that the U.S. entered World War I".

http://www.latimes.com

Posted by VisaLawyer at February 28, 2006 09:12 AM

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