GOP Congressman Trolls Immigration Advocates With Insulting Proposal for Cesar Chavez's Birthday

Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert on Tuesday filed a House resolution to declare March 31 “National Border Control Day.” The date marks the birthday of Cesar Chavez, the revered Mexican-American labor leader who co-founded the United Farm Workers union.

“Cesar Chavez was best known for his passionate fight to gain better working environments for thousands of workers laboring in harsh conditions on farms for low wages. He also staunchly believed in sovereignty of the United States border,” Gohmert said in an accompanying press release. “In fact, it was his firm belief that preventing illegal immigration was an essential prerequisite to improving the circumstances of American farmworkers.”

Though Gohmert clearly only aims to troll his Democratic counterparts, it bears noting that Chavez opposed illegal immigration only insofar as it was a means for California growers to recruit scab laborers during the UFW’s 1979 Imperial Valley lettuce strike.

Chavez brought his case to Washington, D.C., where he bemoaned the Carter administration’s complacency in the growers “transporting and housing and feeding and hiring and paying and importing illegal immigrants, which is a violation of the federal law.”

Reporting on the strike contemporaneously, the Washington Post wrote, “It is an axiom of the turbulent, bloody history of farm labor conflict in the southwest that unions rarely win a strike near the border and its cheap, plentiful supply of Mexican labor.”

California Democrat Mark Takano and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus were among the Twitter horde ridiculing Gohmer’s proposal:

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