Joe Biden Portrays Populist César Chávez as Cheap-Labor Amnesty Advocate

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: A sculpted bust of Cesar Chavez is seen with a collection of framed photos on a table as U.S. President Joe Biden prepares to sign a series of executive orders at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office just hours after his inauguration on January …
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President Joe Biden is trying to impose a pro-amnesty, post-American political makeover on the anti-migration, pro-American, labor-rights hero César Chávez.

“Ever since Chávez died [in 1993], the left — and in this case — the corporate interests posing as the left, have been doing that,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.

Chávez used his United Farm Workers union to level the playing field for working Americans whose jobs were being illegally outsourced to cheap foreign labor, said Krikorian. Yet Biden is now pushing a farmworker amnesty bill that would legally replace hundreds of thousands of American agricultural workers with indentured, low-wage, disposable, and compliant visa-workers, Krikorian continued, adding:

It is an inversion of Chávez’s goal, which was to give [labor market] power to powerless workers in the tug-of-war between management and labor. It wasn’t socialism — it was making sure that workers were able to flex their muscles.

Biden pushed the left-wing makeover in a March 31 statement, saying: “I was proud to place a bust of César Chávez in the Oval Office, so that no one who enters that historic room may forget the powerful truths his farm worker hands imparted.”

The statement, titled, “Proclamation on César Chávez Day, 2021,” portrays Chávez as a supporter of illegal migration, saying (emphasis added):

As we work to recover and rebuild an economy that rewards hard work and brings everyone along — including the immigrants and farm workers he championed, as well as the essential workers carrying our Nation on their backs today — we have no finer role model than César Chávez.

In recent years, Democrats and their media allies have described illegal migrants as “immigrants.” More recently, the influential advocacy group has pushed the claim that Americans are morally obliged to share their citizenship with the low-wage illegals who pushed Americans out of “essential” jobs, including delivery drivers, restaurant cooks, and janitors.

In reality, Arizona-born Chávez was a strong advocate for American workers, especially the American Latinos who worked in the low-tech California agriculture of the 1960s and 1970s.

He pushed for enforcement of anti-migration laws because he knew farmworkers would never pay higher wages — or even invest in machines to help Americans harvest crops faster — so long as they could hire cheap temporary labor from Mexico.

But the federal government has done little to stop the inflow of illegal migrants for farm companies that rely on ancient stoop-labor farming techniques, instead of using productive American-built machinery:

“He opposed undocumented immigrants to the point of urging his followers to report them to la migra,” wrote Gustav Arellano, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Arellano’s March 29 column continued:

… he once lashed out at Dolores Huerta — who had urged him to use more sympathetic language for immigrants in the country illegally than “wetbacks” — by saying, “You [Chicano liberals] get these hang-ups.… They’re wets, you know. They’re wets, and let’s go after them.”

In a March 30 column for, Krikorian wrote:

But if Chávez’s bust could talk [to President Biden, it] might alert the president, “We have had no enforcement by the Border Patrol.” (From Chávez’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.)

Both Krikorian and Arellano spotlighted Chávez’s violations of modern conservative preferences and woke pieties.

Krikorian said:

He wasn’t a conservative. Let’s not get it wrong: He was a labor guy. He wasn’t totally against amnesty for people — he once said he wanted it for people with family and roots in the U.S. So you don’t want to oversell him — but he understood the basic issue of labor demand: Infusions of foreign labor — legal or illegal — undermines the bargaining power of American workers, especially those who are the poorest and most exploited.

Arellano wrote from the left:

[Biographer Miriam] Pawel asked a former Arizona UFW leader who had parted ways with Chávez long ago whether he still thought of him as a great man. “Palms up, he held his right hand above his head and lowered his left near the floor,” Pawel wrote. “On balance, he said, the good outweighed the bad. It was not even close.”

Reporters should call Biden out for the deformation of Chávez, said Krikorian:

Media fact-checks who were working overtime during the Trump administration have an obligation to set the record straight on Chávez. … But on Chávez’s birthday, especially when his memory is being manipulated for political purposes, the media has an obligation to at least put that in context.


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