Front Cover of "What Price Wetbacks"

Front Cover of “What Price Wetbacks”

Text from "What Price Wetbacks"


Images Depicting Men and Women Crossing the Border via the Rio Grande Text from "What Price Wetbacks" A Spread from "What Price Wetbacks" Images from "What Price Wetbacks" Statistics from "What Price Wetbacks" Newspaper Collage From "What Price Wetbacks" Text and Images from "What Price Wetbacks" Ending Page of "What Price Wetbacks"

(above) Select photos from, “What Price Wetbacks?” by the American G.I. Forum of Texas and the Texas State Federation of Labor, 1953

Concerned about the influx of undocumented labor, this report evidences the racialization of the “wetback”— a pejorative for Mexican immigrants, named for illegal crossings via the Rio Grande–plaguing Texas officials during the Bracero Program [1]. This anti-immigrant propaganda was used to compile a profile of the “wetback,” catalog the dangers of this group, and propose penal reformations to immigration policy [2].


[1] American G.I. Forum of Texas and Texas State Federation of Labor (AFL). What Price Wetbacks? Austin, 1953. Repr. 1976 in Mexican Migration to the United States. New York: Arno Press. 3-10. Print.

[2] Hernández, Kelly Lytle. Migra!: A History of the U.S. Border Patrol. Los Angeles: Berkeley UP, 2010. 252-254. Print.