June 10, 1949
Castro Charges "Wetbacks" Favored in Field Jobs Here
Father of Burned Boy Claims Lower Pay Rate Paid Illegals as Citizens Suffer
Fernando Cosio Castro of Route 1, Box 573, an Otay homeowner, yesterday hurled charges United States citizens were being denied jobs in South Bay agricultural work because he alleged a horde of illegal immigrants are hired by growers at a lower pay scale than the U.S. citizens receive.
Castro, father of Hector Castro, one of three youths burned badly in an explosion and fire at Otay two months ago, came to the Star office with his charges.
"Growers prefer the illegal residents as field workers because their pay rate is lower than t he 70 to 90 cents per hour demanded by workers who are citizens, some of them union members."
"Wetbacks" are forced to work under mistreatment by foreman and overseers, and are worked for longer hours daily than Unites State citizen workers.
Living conditions of the illegals immigrant hands are such as local residents will not tolerate.
Castro said he had not been able to get work in the fields here since the start of the celery season and had gone to work in Los Angeles. Recently he declared, he was forced to return here because his wife needed an operation.
He stated he went to work on an Otay valley ranch Tuesday but was laid off Wednesday when his employer told him a drop in the price of produce necessitated a cut in the crew.
He and four other U.S. nationals were dropped, he asserted while approximately 25 Mexicans in this country illegally, were retained on the crew.
Castro chose not to reveal the name of his employer.
His son is still in Chula Vista hospital recuperating from burns and will be there another month, he is commented, his wife is in the county hospital because of lack of funds, he has four other children at his home, and he said he was going to the county welfare office seeking relief yesterday. He noted that due to his lack of work he has not been able to pay taxes on the Otay home he owns.