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State establishes agency to encourage immigration

May
23
1871

On this day in 1871, the Texas legislature directed the governor to appoint a superintendent with a four-year term to administer the Texas Bureau of Immigration, with "the purpose of promoting and protecting immigration" into the state. The superintendent was empowered to use tax revenues to write material describing Texas as a destination for the immigrant and to appoint paid agents and volunteer lecturers to travel to southern and northern states as well as to Europe, to encourage potential immigrants to seek land in Texas. Gustav Loeffler served as the first superintendent until 1874, when Governor Richard Coke appointed Jerome Bonaparte Robertson to that position. Fiscal retrenchment incorporated in the Constitution of 1876 brought an end to the bureau, as the constitution included a specific prohibition against using state funds "for any purpose of bringing immigrants to the State." While the bureau existed, its superintendents negotiated with transportation companies to help bring immigrants into the state and published such enticement literature as the pamphlet "Texas, the Home for the Emigrant, From Everywhere."

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