The Aftermath of the 'Bath Riots'
Although Carmelita Torres is referred to as the “fronteriza Rosa Parks,” her actions were long forgotten and had no effects on the establishment of the Santa Fe Bridge disinfection building. Even though the typhus scare ended in 1918, “only 31 cases of typhus were found (with three fatalities in El Paso),” four more decades passed before the complete stop of these disinfecting buildings was put into place (Romo, 2006, para.8).
The establishment of these disinfecting centers in 1917 ultimately steered immigrants into crossing the border illegally to avoid having to undergo the humiliating, dangerous fumigations. Illegal crossing steadily grew until the U.S. government had to devise a way to cut off these illegal cross points, which was the implementation of the Border Patrol formed by the Immigration Act of 1924.
The Immigration Act of 1924 was enacted, establishing the Border Patrol and limiting the amount of immigrants allowed into the U.S. The notion of eugenics, and a “pure race,” contributed greatly to the newly implemented act. Even Adolf Hitler commended the U.S. immigration restriction tactics (Figure 20).
In 1929, the use of Zyklon B became the prominent choice in the fumigation stations, besides “gasoline, sodium cyanide, cyanogen, sulfuric acid, and later DDT” (Romo, 2005, p. 240). Zyklon B was an ominous, poisonous chemical used to eradicate millions with in their gas chambers.
In 1942, the Bracero Program was established as manual labor was in high demand because of WWII. This allowed Mexican laborers to work in the U.S. temporarily but DDT was still used to disinfect them before they crossed over.
It was finally realized by health officials that these means of trying to remove unwanted bacteria was harmful.
Figure 20. This digital photograph is an excerpt from Adolf Hitler’s second book to Mein Kampf. Here he praises the United States for implementing specific requirements of immigrants to enter the U.S. and the social cleansing to create a racially ‘pure’ society within America, set forth by the Immigration Act of 1924.