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To President, From Alonso S. Perales, April 30, 1927.



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To President, From Alonso S. Perales, April 30, 1927.


PERALES, Alonso S., 1898-1960
COOLIDGE, Calvin, 1872-1933
MEXICAN Americans
DUE Process of Law


A letter to the President from Alonso Perales regarding the slaying in Willacy County, Texas of Tomás Huñez, Mexican citizen, Ben[illegible] and José Nuñez, American citizens, Inocencio González, American citizen and Mat Zoler, Austrian citizen. The murders took place while in "custody of Willacy County officers" with no one being punished for the crime. Alonso Perales is requesting government assistance.


Perales, Alonso S.





Content compilation of The Latino/Hispanic American Experience Leaders, Writers and Thinkers copyright 2012 by Arte Publico Historical Collections. All rights reserved.














900-19th Street, N.W.[From]
Washington, D.C.
April 30, 1927.

The President:

In addressing the members and guests of the United Press, in New York City, on the night of April 25, 1927, Your Excellency was quoted by the local newspapers as saying:

“We live under a system that guarantees the sanctity of life and liberty through public order and protects the rights of private property under the principle of due process of law. We have thrown every possible safeguard around the individual in order to protect him from any invasion of his rights even by the Government itself. It is peculiarly an American doctrine, now usually accepted in principle. If not adopted in practice, by all civilized countries, that these are inalienable rights, that they ought to belong to all persons every where, and that it is the chief function of government to provide instrumentalities by which these rights can be secured and protected. We have adopted these ideals because we believe that they are of universal application and square with the eternal principles of right. But we may as well realise that they will not continue to prevail unless we are prepared constantly to put forth great efforts and make large sacrifices for their support.”

I quite agree with Your Excellency that it is the duty of our Government to protect the lives of American citizens abroad; however, I am sorry Your Excellency did not lay equal stress upon the fact that our Government is also duty bound to protect the lives of American citizens and foreigners within our own borders. In this connection I invite Your Excellency’s attention to my letter of February 14, 1927, in which I informed Your Excellency concerning the slaying in Willacy County, Texas, on or about September 7, 1926, of Tomás Nuñez, a Mexican citizen, his two sons, Benanolo and José Nuñez, American citizens, Inocencio Gonzalez, an American citizen, and Mat Zeler, an Austrian,


while they were in the custody of Willacy County officers. No one was punished, or even apprehended, in connection with these crimes, and the incident now seems to be closed., although not et forgotten by American citizens of Mexican descent and the Mexican people generally.

In view of the murder of these five men on Texas soil it would seem that the system which guarantees the sanctity of life and liberty of all persons residing in the United States was adopted by us in principle only. If we adopted it in practice as well, why does our Government permit such crimes as these to remain unpunished? I am reluctant to arrive at such a conclusion, Mr. President, but in the light of this and other similar outrages committed in Texas without the guilty parties ever having been punished therefor, and in view also of our Government’s avowed determination to protect the lives of American citizens in foreign countries through the use of armed forces, it would seem that as a matter of fact the lives of American citizens are safer in Nicaragua and China than in the United States proper.

I am about to engage in a lecture tour throughout the States of Texas, in the course of which I shall, much to my regret, have to inform my fellow-citizens of Mexican extraction that I failed in my efforts to induce our Government to take action in the case I have alluded to, since neither Your Excellency nor the Governor of Texas, the Honorable Dan Moody, even acknowledged receipt of the communications in which I asked you to be good enough to use your good offices to bring the slayers of the defenseless citizens above mentioned before the bars of justice.

Respectfully submitted,

(Alonso S. Perales)

The President
The White House.

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Perales, Alonso S., “To President, From Alonso S. Perales, April 30, 1927.,” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections, accessed June 12, 2024,