Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Tomas Summers-Sandoval

Reader 2

April Mayes

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The Commission of Immigration and Housing (CCIH) was created in the summer of 1913. This essay argues that the need California’s progressive felt to protect and improve Mexican immigrants during the early twentieth century shadowed the expression of agency by Mexican immigrants alongside working-class and non-white immigrants. The commission’s engagement with Mexican immigrants in efforts to “Americanize” them furthered ideas that rejected immigrants from full political participation. Through arguments about improving ‘the standard of living’ and the conditions in labor camp throughout the state, the commission balanced serving immigrant needs while staying away from interfering with California’s agricultural wage-labor system. As will be seen, the commission’s initial support of all immigrants quickly shifted to implicitly supporting only Mexican immigrants, revealing further their rejection of non-white heteronormative bodies.