Governor Pat Quinn may or may not know that he named March 31 to honor an American that came into fame in the 1970s as a staunch opponent of illegal immigration. He complained that the Immigration & Naturalization Service wasn't tough enough. Chavez reportedly offered his UFW staffers to the INS to serve as volunteer border guards to keep Mexicans from sneaking into California.
As Ruben Navarrette Jr. reported in the Arizona Republic: (8/31/97) "Cesar Chavez, a labor leader intent on protecting union membership, was as effective a surrogate for the INS as ever existed. Indeed, Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union he headed routinely reported, to the INS, for deportation, suspected illegal immigrants who served as strikebreakers or refused to unionize."
But Quinn honored Chavez for his work in fighting for migrant farm workers rights and setting up the United Farm Workers union. Chavez has Chicago ties - having been trained by the famous Chicago agitator Saul Alinksy. He worked closely with Community Party USA members and was affiliated to the US’ largest Marxist organization, Democratic Socialists of America.
"César Chávez organized the United Farm Workers to fight for fair wages, humane living conditions and basic dignity for some of the most oppressed workers on earth,” Governor Quinn said. “I had the honor of meeting him in 1974, and his message of ‘juntos podemos’ – together we can – has stayed with me to this day.”
Chávez, who would have turned 87 on Monday, fused strikes and boycotts with principles of nonviolence used by Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the governor's press release said. Later in his life, Chavez crusaded for food safety, clean water, animal rights and voter registration. He died in 1993.