Mexican Repatriation Campaigns

During the Great Depression in the United States, there were up to 2-million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans deported or expelled from cities and towns across the U. S. and shipped to Mexico. Some estimate that more than half of these people were U. S. citizens, born in the United States. At this same time when up to a quarter of Americans were unemployed many believed that Mexicans were taking scarce jobs.  In response, federal, state and local officials lauched so-called “repatriation” campaigns. Raids took place in workplaces and in public places Mexican and Mexican-Ameriican’s alike were rouned up and deported to Mexico. 

U. S. Government officials often used coercison to get rid of Mexican-Americans who were in fact U. S. citizens.  During that time, in Los Angeles California, it was standard practice for county social workers to tell those receiving public assistance that they would lose their benefits and that they would be better off in Mexico. Those social workers would then get tickets for families to travel to Mexico.  It is estimated that one-third of LA’s Mexican population were expelled between 1929 and 1944 as a result of these practices.  

In 2005, Senate Bill 670 was passed that resulted in the State of California offering a formal apology and ordering a plaque (see paragraph 8723 of the SB 670) that commenorates Mexican-American U. S. citizens who were deported durng the Great Depresson era. It is estimated that Statewide [in California] 400,000 U. S. citizens or legal residents of Mexican orgin were illegally deported to Mexico as a result of those raids. That plaque installed at LA Plaza de Dultura Artes is located across from Olvera Street in Los Angeles California at the site of one of the largest repatriation raids of the Great Depression era to take place in downtown Los Angeles.

Today cities and States across the country designate themselves a Sanctuary City which limits cooperation with  national government effort to enforce immigration law.


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