The Mexican Repatriation refers to a mass migration that took place between 1929 and 1939, when as many as 500,000 people of Mexican descent were forced or pressured to leave the US. The event, carried out by American authorities, took place without due process. Some 35,000 were deported, amongst many hundreds of thousands of other immigrants who were deported during this period. The Immigration and Naturalization Service targeted Mexicans because of "the proximity of the Mexican border, the physical distinctiveness of mestizos, and easily identifiable barrios."
Quite a few studies and research have provided conflicting numbers for how many people were “repatriated” during the Great Depression. The State of California passed an "Apology Act" that estimated 2 million people were forced to relocate to Mexico and an estimated 1.2 million were US citizens. Authors Balderrama and Rodriguez have estimated that the total number of repatriates was about one million, and 60 percent of those were citizens of the United States. These estimations come from newspaper articles and government records and the authors assert all previous estimations are severely undercounted (Balderrama). An older study conducted by Hoffman records about 500,000 people being returned to Mexico. His data comes form the Department de Migracion de Mexico or “Mexican Migration Service,” which is said to be a reliable source since the Mexican government had many ports along the border in which Mexicans were required to register free of charge (Aguila and Hoffman).
The Repatriation is not widely discussed in American history textbooks; in a 2006 survey of the nine most commonly used American history textbooks in the United States, four did not mention the Repatriation, and only one devoted more than half a page to the topic. Nevertheless, many mainstream textbooks now carry this topic. In total, they devoted four pages to the Repatriation, compared with eighteen pages for the Japanese American internment which affected only one-tenth as many people.
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