Pachuca/os: The Criminalization of Mexican Youth, Part I

Part I – Series On The Criminalization Of Mexican Youth:


Mexican American youths detained for questioning, Daily News, Los Angeles, CA (1942). Source: UCLA, Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

In my process of researching the history of Mexicans in Ventura County, I have collected thousands of news clippings. The majority of the clippings focus on the themes of labor, migration, and activism, which I’m writing on.

It’s common for my colleagues to contact me to see if I have anything on a selected topic, they or their student are working on. Months ago, my friend contacted me to see if I had anything on pachuca/os in Oxnard. One of his students was writing a research paper on the subject and was having a hard time finding any primary sources.

So, I looked through my news-clipping database and I found that I have collected a lot of information on pachuca/os between 1942 and 1944.


During this time period, politicians, educators, and law enforcement waged a war against juvenile delinquency which targeted Mexican youth. As noted by historian Eduardo Obregón Pagán, the public would “debate whether Mexican citizens and their American-born children were culturally, politically, intellectually, and biologically capable of living with a white, civilized, democratic society.”[1]

Like, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers during this period, the Oxnard Press-Courier was utilized by local officials to criminalize  pachuca/os in Oxnard and Ventura County!


Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 25 Aug 1942.


Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 17 Sep 1942.


Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 18 Sep 1942.


Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 19 Sep 1942.


Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 23 Sep 1942.


Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 5 Oct 1942.


Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 15 Oct 1942.


Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 28 Oct 1942.

[1] Eduardo Obregón Pagán, Murder at the Sleepy Lagoon Zoot Suits, Race, and Riot in Wartime L.A. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 3.



Below is a copy of the letter that was mailed to me (along with 5 citations), two weeks after we had our October 13, 2013 March Against Police Brutality. As you can see, the police state that my “ACTIONS CREATED A HAZARDOUS SITUATION.



This is fabrication and an insult to our community, the families, the organizations and participants. For the past 20 years I have been an advocate for community organization, for resistance, for exposing police brutality – THIS IS THE REAL REASON FOR TARGETING ME AND OUR COMMUNITY.

For the past year we fought in the courts to get all of the evidence, and in their own undercover surveillance it clearly shows that I was assisting in making the march as ORGANIZED AND SAFE as possible. NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON WAS HURT at the protest march. We will post picture screenshots from the videos to show how myself and other great community members assisted in keeping the march organized.

Truth is, the Oxnard Police had dozens of undercover cops following us, most likely within the march, and had nearly 100 cops staged near our march, including a BearCat Armored Carrier, plus neighboring city and county law enforcement on stand-by. The police had a manual that indicated that if the march became unsafe, they would issue a dispersal order. They never ordered or announced the dispersal order. That day, traffic units for Oxnard Police also stopped traffic along our march route. THEY SPENT NEARLY $15,000 in overtime that night of the protest.

The letter below, is signed by Senior cop Jamie Brown of the Traffic Division. He confessed in court on the stand that he did not write the letter, it was prepared for him and he signed it. He never even seen me the date of the action. The letter was written by Oxnard PD Alex Arnett – the Surveillance team director. He later also admitted in court, that what I did (i.e. assist in asking people to march safely “had to be done.” So why mail me tickets then?

The answer is simple, it is an attempt to tie us up in the courts with fines, bench warrants, all in the hopes of CRIMINALIZING US. They are doing this in attempt to intimidate and put fear in our community for standing up for gente.

The City of Oxnard, Oxnard Police Department and the District Attorney have WASTED over $20,000 in TAX PAYER MONEY to fund this POLITICAL ATTACK. They are leveling the power of the state and its resources in an attempt to SILENCE US.

OUR COMMUNITY REFUSES TO BE SILENT… So we continue to protest, expose, and organize to challenge city and police abuse.

TRAIL DATES: The Romero vs. Oxnard Police trial is set of August 27 & 28, 8:30am. Dept. 23, Ventura Courthouse 800 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura CA.