There is an untold story in El Paso. You used to cross the border freely with no identification and everyone was fine. However, that all changed in 1916.
The following is from the article “The 1917 Bath Riots: An Untold Story Of The Border” from the STMU History Media:
The Immigration Law of 1917 required that immigrants at all points of entry had to have a passport, had to take a literacy test, and had to pay an $8 head tax. At the same time, the US public health services published a manual that outlined the “classes of aliens” that should be excluded from the US.
In 1916, the mayor of El Paso Tom Lea sent letters to Washington officials for months asking for the ability to quarantine all Mexicans at the border for 10 to 14 days, to make sure they were free of typhus before being allowed into the states. The mayor kept persisting even though he was told by Dr. B. J. Lloyd, the local public health official, that typhus was not a serious menace to the civilian population. Despite this, according to John Burnett, journalist for NPR, Dr. Lloyd echoed the mayor’s racist language and suggested the deployment of delousing centers, stating that he would “cheerfully bathe all the dirty lousy people coming from Mexico.” In 1916, the delousing centers were created.
In these delousing centers, Mexicans were forced to go through a toxic and dehumanizing process. It began in a facility called “the gas room,” where they were forced to strip naked, and hand over their clothes, which were put in steam dryers that would melt their shoes. They had their clothes fumigated with Zyklon B gas, the same chemical used later in Germany to kill millions of people.
For women such as Carmelita, American soldiers would take pictures of them naked and put them up in local bars in El Paso. After this process, they received a ticket that showed that they were “clean” for eight days; then they would be forced through the process all over again.
For more info on this topic: https://stmuhistorymedia.org/the-1917-bath-riots-an-untold-story-of-the-border/comment-page-1/?unapproved=104602
Therefore, we must take action and remove Tom Lea’s name from anything that recognizes him! This is a fight for our ancestors! This is a fight for our own! Will you be apart of HERstory and take part in this action of protest during Women’s HERstory Month?