Apr 10, 2006
The bill under consideration in Congress, which turns immigrants into felons, is not the first repressive measure aimed at the Mexican population of this country. In the 1930s, the U.S. government expelled as many as two million people of Mexican ancestry to Mexico, according to California State Senator Joe Dunn. Dunn says 60% of them were U.S. citizens, including many who were born here. Many who were deported could not even speak Spanish.
Those deported were expelled by legal and extra-legal means, whether by immigration agents or vigilante groups similar to the Klan or today’s Minutemen operating along the U.S. border. Some people were loaded onto trains, cars or buses by armed guards. Others left “voluntarily” because of harassment and intimidation. In a 1931 memo, the Los Angeles district director of immigration wrote, “thousands upon thousands of Mexican aliens have been literally scared out of Southern California.”
Campaigns were carried out to deny Mexicans jobs or public aid. A slogan was sent out across Los Angeles by the Chamber of Commerce, “Employ no Mexican while a white man is unemployed.”
Of course, at the time, none of the corporations was hiring anybody. If the Chamber of Commerce chimed in, it was to justify the lack of jobs, and it did so in this disgusting racist way.
Some people from Mexican backgrounds entered the military after being threatened with deportation. Others were given trips to Mexico and told they could return whenever they wanted, only to find that cards they were given marked them as “county charities.”
Anyone who believes that the paltry gains offered in the current immigration proposals can’t be taken away should look at this history. The bosses use immigration in whatever fashion they want. When they want cheap labor, they open the floodgates. When they have used up that labor, they are ready to throw people away.
It’s the bosses who should be deported!