The Failure During WW II, farmers in the Lower Rio Grande Valley used undocumented Mexican labor to produce crops. They called themselves mojados which translates into English as “wetbacks.” Federal officials tended to ignore them since they were helping with the war effort.
Following WW II, the Border Patrol attempted to deport all of these undocumented people. At about the same time, Herb started spending a lot of time in some of the mojado camps and made a lot of friends.
One evening as supper was being cooked, Herb was present at a mojado camp located in some trees in a bar ditch along an irrigation canal. This was a dry bar ditch, so there were no crawdads to catch. The camp was about 1/8 mile from the nearest gravel road. Later the camp was rebuilt about 1/8 of a mile further up the bar ditch near the intersection of two canals. There was not a road crossing at the canal, so if a person were to jump the canal to evade capture, the Border Patrol could not follow in their vehicles.
No one was paying attention, and all were caught without anyone having a chance to escape when a Border Patrol raid occurred. During the processing, even though Herb had blond hair and appeared to be of German heritage, he refused to speak English. If La Chota was going to deport his friends, they were going to deport him as well. His friends ratted on him, but he still would not admit he was a Gringo.
Herb made more noise than all of the other people and the Border Patrol agents put together, and he would not shut up.
Finally one of the agents turned Herb over his knees and beat him. The agent then gave Herb the option of shutting up and going home, or the officer would take Herb and turn him over to his father. The officer pointed out that he knew where Herb lived, and he knew Herb’s father’s name. Herb shut up and went home.
The Lesson Herb learned that being beaten by a Border Patrol officer was excellent fodder for a story.
The Success In the intervening nearly 70 years, Herb has had numerous interactions with policing agents, ranging from the US Border Patrol to Mexican Rurales. He has always had cordial relations with them and never been unjustly thrown into jail or shot because he has always treated them with respect.