July 29, 1963
The Honorable Augustus F. Hawkins
One of the most shocking things to come from this Congress was the decision to "kill" the Bracero program.
I am, in my business, a part of California Agriculture. Believe me, I know this Bracero program well. I have eaten with them, visited their camps. Contrary to some beliefs, they are well respected, earnest workers, not slave labor as many claim.
They are well paid, treated like respectable human beings, and are excellent people. We need them badly in California to harvest many crops. Lettuce, celery, strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, sugar beets, and tomatoes are just a few of them.
There is no pool of domestic labor to replace these men. Labor unions say differently, but it is not true. California citizens would rather be on relief or get unemployment pay rather than do field labor - it is hard work.
Just last Friday, as an instance, a grower, O. E. Jacobs of Napa, California, told me how he had been unable, using domestic help, to get adequate farm labor, going through 22 men to get four to finish out a crop harvest.
So please make every effort to get this "Bracero" program reinstated. We need it badly in California - and every housewife in the nation will ultimately be thankful. California-grown fruits and produce may either disappear from many markets or be sharply curtailed at higher prices all over the nation. It is not a program to "monkey" with for politics - please do something.
W. H. Ramsey