Leonel J. Castillo


Oscar J. Martinez


Border Labor History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

(Former INS Commissioner, politician) Born in Victoria, Texas, on June 9, 1939; grew up in Galveston; graduated from Saint Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, in 1961; served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines for four years; received his Master's in Community Organization at the University of Pitt; worked for the Houston Neighborhood Centers Day Care Association in a Manpower Program; head of Houston SER office; employed by the diocese at Galveston and Houston; elected and re-elected Houston's Comptroller from 1971-1977; in 1977 served as INS Commissioner for two and a half years; operates Castillo interests; headed the National Economic Development Association (NEDA) in 1980; has served as State Treasurer of the Democratic Party in Texas; was appointed to the National Hispanic Advisory Committee.

Summary of Interview

Biography; circumstances leading to his appointment as INS Commissioner, including anecdotes about high government officials; his work at INS, including opposition to his policies, unannounced visits to INS centers and problems encountered, participation in apprehending the undocumented and conversations with them; bridge demonstration at El Paso-Cd. Juarez in March, 1979; meetings with with Mexican officials; Carter Plan for the Undocumented; criticism of INS policies by Chicano groups; trip to refugee camp in Thailand in 1978; the "Boat People"; the Tortilla Curtain; meetings with Lopez Portillo; Cuban refugees; United Farm Workers Unions with respect to undocumented migration; the KKK incident; Mennonite question; unsuccessful plan to shift Border Patrol from Dept. of Justice to Dept. of Treasury; "Operation Outreach"; problems along the U.S.-Canadian border.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

4 hours

Tape Number

No. 532

Transcript Number

No. 532

Length of Transcript

105 pages

Date Transcribed



Virgilio H. Sanchez, Manuela Barron, Irene Ramirez

Interview Number

No. 532

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