DEPRESSION ERA MEXICAN DEPORTATIONS – 1930’s
This is the official explanation (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) of the events during the 1930’s when hundreds of thousands of Mexican people were coerced into returning to Mexico. The reasons were racist and economic. It reveals the complexity of the situation in which the “official proceedings” were responsible for only a small portion of those who were coerced to leave. The majority left out of fear due to the threats they received. You can read this official report here.
The official explanation says in part:
“In most cases, however, no federal record exists for these departures. This is because, while an estimated 400,000 to 1 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans left the US for Mexico during the Depression, relatively few of them were expelled under formal INS-directed removal proceedings. The majority returned to Mexico by their own decision or through officially voluntary – though often coercive – repatriation programs directed by state and local governments and charitable aid agencies.
INS did increase its deportation efforts during the 1930s and on several occasions the agency co-operated with local governments who sought to remove Mexicans from their jurisdictions. These actions understandably contributed to the current belief that the INS led a massive repatriation program. In reality, INS’s role in the removal process was somewhat more complex.
In1930, as the extent of the Depression became more clear some Americans accused Mexicans, as well as other aliens, of holding jobs needed by U.S. citizens. At the same time, local relief agencies began to feel the strain of using decreasing resources to serve an increasingly needy populace. Many agencies felt pressure to exclude foreign-born applicants from receiving aid. Some agencies and local governments began requiring applicants to show proof of legal residence. Others used the threat of federal immigration law, which held that immigrants who became “public charges” could be deported, to discourage them from requesting aid. These conditions likely caused many Mexicans to consider returning to their native country.”
You can read the entire article here.