National Archives Blog Post #2

Sean Thomas

For all intents and purposes, this second trip to the National Archives was much more successful then the first in terms of the number of useful documents that I was able to find. Compared to the first time, I was able to go through documents much more quickly and found the information I was looking for with less effort. One of the files that I found which was relevant to our group’s topic was about a man named Geronimo Campo. Geronimo was a Mexican immigrant to the United States who lived here legally for four years. However, he was arrested on charges of Burglary in 1920, during which time he received a medical examination which showed he had syphilis. What is interesting about this file is that while committing burglary within five years of immigrating to the US would usually be enough of a reason to deport someone, in this case the officials involved at least seemed to be alright with just giving him one to two years of jail time. What appears to be the main reason for Geronimo’s deportation was the fact that he had syphilis, which he claims he contracted after arriving in the US. Although it is not right to make claims based on only one case file, what this one in particular indicates is that at least for some immigration officers, being afflicted by syphilis is a worse crime then burglary.  

Assistant Secretary of Labor, El Paso, TX., Commisioner of Immigration, New Orleans, LA., May 29, 1920, File 54,808-97, accession E9, Subject Correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington, DC).

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