Ruben Navarrette, Jr., a supporter of comprehensive immigration who has "studied and written about Chavez and the United Farm Workers ... for more than 20 years," wrote in a 2010 essay that "the historical record shows that Chavez was a fierce opponent of illegal immigration."...
"Chavez ordered union members to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service and report illegal immigrants who were working in the fields so that they could be deported."
The official bio on the Chavez Foundation website says, “Cesar made everyone, especially the farm workers, feel the jobs they were doing in the movement were very important.”
But the real Cesar Chavez treated his volunteers horribly: "Those of us who worked boycott operations worked 14-16 hour days, often 7 days a week. We were paid $5/week and had to beg for donated food to eat.
Once we were burned out, the UFW happily replaced us in a process Chavez once compared with pumping water," writes Manley.
In a meeting in 1977, he referred to them as "pigs." The comments were reportedly removed from the minutes of the meeting: "Every time we look at [the farmworkers], they want more money. Like pigs, you know. Here we’re slaving, and we’re starving and the goddam workers don’t give a shit about anything because we don’t train them, you know, we don’t teach them anything.”
According to many historical accounts, Chavez ordered union members to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service and report illegal immigrants who were working in the fields so that they could be deported. Some UFW officials were also known to picket INS offices to demand a crackdown on illegal immigrants.
In the 70s, the UFW set up a "wet line" to stop undocumented Mexican immigrants from entering the United States. Under the supervision of Chavez's cousin, Manuel, UFW members tried at first to persuade Mexicans not to cross the border.
One time when that didn't work, they physically attacked and beat them up to scare them off, according to reports at the time.
-Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Cesar Chavez: "Wetbacks" and "Illegals"
Cesar Chavez: "Wetbacks" Driving Down Union Wages...
"No, a spade's a spade. You guys get these hang-ups. Goddamn it, how do we build a union? They're wets, you know. They're wets, and let's go after them."