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A Social Worker Calls Upon Unions to Accept Mexican Immigrants

Ernestine Alvarado, of New York's YWCA, sharply criticized Americans who disparaged Mexico and did not welcome Mexican immigrants. She defended Mexican immigrants, calling them "bold dreamers," and castigated nativist stereotypes and unwelcoming labor unions.

Unfortunately, our country [Mexico] is misrepresented and abused nearly everywhere in the United States, in theaters, moving pictures, newspapers, books, and private conversations... Mexicans find an antagonistic atmosphere for everything that is Mexican, and this fact necessarily tends to make difficult their uniting with you [Americans]. You could hardly become friends with one who begins by insulting your mother, and for us Mexicans, love for our country is not less than love for our mothers...

To found really friendly relations between our two countries, closer contact between American and Mexican labor must be established.  But unfortunately, the Mexican worker finds very often that it is impossible for him to join your workers' organizations.  Mexicans go back to Mexico and carry with them the recollection of the animosity they found here...  All this also will have to disappear when education has taught your laborers that the Mexican laborer does not belong to an inferior race, and should by no means be discriminated against.  Fraternity is an international obligation, a duty of humanity. 

Source | Ernestine Alvarado, "Mexican Immigration to the United States," from Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work, 1920.
Creator | Ernestine Alvarado
Item Type | Speech
Cite This document | Ernestine Alvarado, “A Social Worker Calls Upon Unions to Accept Mexican Immigrants,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed December 7, 2023,

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