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Monday, March 20, 2006 

America's Cruel History of Mass Deportation and The Reasons Used

America has a long history when it comes to mass deportation. In fact, American capitalism has used Mexican workers as a reserve army of labor since the conquest of the Southwest.

History has shown the Mexican labor pool is heavily utilized during times of economic boom and repatriation during economic downturns. To American capitalist the border does not exist when it comes to exploitation. When it comes to minimum wage requirements, health care benefits, workman's compensation insurance, and social security plans, both Migrant workers and employees of American firms in Mexico have always been excluded.

During the 20th century, US companies have regularly enlisted the aid of hired thugs, local law enforcement, and state agencies like the Texas and Arizona Rangers to overtly suppressed the Mexican labor.

World War I and The Great Depression
During World War I, there was a great need for labor, as America was sending 150,000 troops a month to serve in Europe. To meet the labor needs, immigration quotas for Mexico were ignored. Labor recruiters were bringing in Mexican labors to keep the American economy afloat. But when the war was over and the Depression hit, it was a different story.

The first mass deportation occured during The Great Depression, when Mexican and Mexican American, along with African Americas and other minorities were the targets of America's woes. The anti-immigrant hysteria led to the mass deportation of roughly 300,000 Mexican workers and their families, many of them also included US born children.

Over the next 10 years, the Mexican population in the US dropped by 40%. Twelve states - Colorado, Illinois, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming - all lost over half of its Mexican population, while Indiana lost three-fourths.

The way the mass deportations on Mexican migrants was heartless. Deportees lost their personal property, automobiles, homes, businesses, and other investments in America. They were not even given time to prepare for their leave. Deportation was instant. The deportation campaign divided families. Children were torn from their schools, neighborhoods, and friends. Some of the children were shipped off with their parents or other relatives, and sometimes on their own. Deportees and their families were routinely transported to the nearest border town and force-marched across the international bridge by armed Border Patrol Agents or National Guard troops and warned never to return.

The Bracero Program and Operation Wetback
In August 1942, the US was in another war. To meet the labor demands, the US and Mexico created the Bracero program which brought an estimated 4 or 5 million Mexican nationals to work in the US. But once the War was over, it was time to send them back home. The US war against North Korea in 1950 sparked another labor shortage, like the Great Depression, caused a backlash and led to Operation Wetback, one of the worst reactionary US policies against Mexican people in the US.

The second wave of mass deportations of Mexican workers and their families occurred at the end of the Korean War. Under the command of retired General Joseph Swing, commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) under President Eisenhower, Gen. Swing conducted a military campaign to roundup and deport all Mexican migrants. It is difficult to estimate how many Mexicans were deported, but the INS claimed over 1,000,000, five times as many immigrants as were deported during the Great Depression.

Arguments Used
Interesting, the arguments that are used today are very similar to the language used back then. While arguing for a quota system in 1929 before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Eugene Black said Mexicans were, "germ-carriers, inassimilable, a people who are with us but not of us, and not for us." Such language can be found on Fox's The O'Reilly Factor. On April 2005, one of O'Reilly's callers said: "that the illegals crossing the border...each one of those people is a biological weapon."

During Operation Wetback, anti-immigration pundits argued Operation Wetback was needed because our borders were in danger because of the large number of "illegal aliens" in the US. This language can be found throughout the internet today, such as the racist web sit VDARE.COM who is advocating for Operation Wetback to return:
On VDARE.COM you can find out how to report illegal aliens in both English and Spanish. But in the internet age, the new millennium, the post-9/11 world, or whatever you want to call it, the INS still does not have any way for the public to report illegal aliens through a web site - or even through e-mail!

It looks as if history does repeat itself. Will the US continue opening it's doors when it is in search of cheap labor, but throw them out whenever there is a problem.

The "use them and lose them" policy of the US must stop!

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