811.504 Mexico/1–1145

The Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Department of Justice ( Carusi ) to the Secretary of State 41

My Dear Mr. Secretary: On June 2, 1944 an agreement was reached between representatives of this Government and the Government of Mexico concerning the matter of the entry of Mexican nationals into the United States, whereby the Mexican Government was to impede the illegal exodus of Mexican workers and the United States Government was to prevent as far as possible their illegal entrance and to return to Mexico such workers who had crossed the border and were unlawfully in this country.42

Pursuant to that agreement the Immigration and Naturalization Service returned to Mexico between June 1 and December 1, 1944, 45,461 Mexican nationals from the states adjacent to the Mexican border. It is probable that some 15 or 20,000 Mexican nationals still remain unlawfully in these states because of the unprecedented clandestine entry of Mexican nationals during the past few months. For some months illegal entrants in the Imperial Valley have been returned to Mexico through Mexicali at the rate of 100 to 150 per day, and it is estimated that approximately 6,000 more illegal residents remain in that vicinity.

The Mexican Government, without previous notice, on December 5, 1944 closed its border at Mexicali to the return of Mexican nationals who were unlawfully in the United States. It has been informally ascertained that this action was taken at the request of the Governors of Sonora and Baja California because of the inability of those states to care for the large number of nonresident Mexican nationals who were being returned across the border by the United States authorities and the unavailability of transportation to the central states of Mexico, where most of the nationals were previously residents. The Immigration [Page 1140] and Naturalization Service is, therefore, forced to temporarily discontinue its action looking to the arrest and return to Mexico of Mexican nationals who are residing unlawfully in that area and new arrivals there who are reported to be clandestinely crossing the border at the rate of about 150 per day. Detention facilities are not available for the prolonged detention of such a large number of aliens, and to return them through other points along the Mexican border would only create problems in those communities similar to the ones being faced in Mexicali.

It is desired to point out that apparently no problem is involved in the return to Mexico of several thousands of workers who have been imported by this Government under contract who are being returned to the point of recruitment in Mexico at the expiration of their contracts by the War Food Administration or other employers in the United States.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service proposes, in order to adjust this serious situation, to return Mexican nationals unlawfully in the United States through the port of Mexicali if residents of Baja California; and through the port of Nogales if residents of Sonora, Sinaloa and Jalisco; and to return all such other nationals from the southwestern part of the United States through the port of Juarez. Any arrangement, however, to return Mexican nationals from the Imperial Valley through the ports of Nogales and El Paso must be contingent upon the Mexican Government providing for and arranging transportation of these nationals to their homes or other points in Mexico removed from the border. It is suggested that the Mexican Government be also requested to provide transportation to the appropriate interior points of Mexico for unlawful residents in the lower bend area of Texas who are now being returned daily through the ports of Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros.

The Mexican Government should be urged to take this action at once in order that the apprehension and return at a steady rate be continued of Mexican nationals who are unlawfully in the United States. It is believed that the failure to make and carry out such an arrangement will encourage the employment in the United States of illegal entrants in preference to contract workers and eventually bring about a demand on the part of this Government for the return to Mexico, in large numbers, of its nationals who have been found to be unlawfully in the United States.

Sincerely yours,

Ugo Carusi
  1. For attention of John W. Carrigan.
  2. Agreement of June 2, 1944, not printed; for summary, see despatch 18,085, June 6, 1944, from Mexico, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vii, p. 1314.