Effort Underway To Rename Cesar Chavez's Birthday 'National Border Control Day'

March 26, 2018
(Photo by Joel Levine - CC BY 3.0)
César Chávez speaking at the Delano UFW−United Farm Workers rally in Delano, California, June 1972.

A resolution has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to support calling Cesar Chavez’s birthday National Border Control Day.

Chavez, a labor organizer who was born in Yuma, would have turned 91 on March 31, 2018.

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), cites times between 1969 and 1979 when Chavez spoke about illegal immigration and its impact on efforts to organize farmworkers.

Chavez understood illegal labor was a tool employers could use to break strikes, said John Coughlin, residential faculty member teaching history at Glendale Community College. Honoring Chavez’s birthday as National Border Control Day is dishonest, he said.

“And it has the naked feel of a publicity stunt,” Coughlin said. “And it feels, I think the kids say, ‘feels like trolling.’”

Long-time Chavez aide Marc Grossman said in an e-mail that the resolution is an abomination, and no U.S. leader fought for immigration reform longer and more consistently than Chavez.

The resolution has been sent to a House committee for review.