For years past, the armies of ragged, hungry men had come from all over Mexico, up the highways and the railroads, on foot under the burning sun. Drawn by the hope of the Yankee dollar, they swarmed to the border by the tens of faceless thousands. They milled briefly amid slinking dogs and neon-lighted stench of Mexicali, and then streamed, furtively and endlessly across the border into California.

Some of them paid smugglers $10 to sneak them over the line in automobile trunks. But most simply walked to the east or west of...

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