Repatriation

The Repatriation Program occurred in the United States from 1929 to 1936. Designed to remove Mexicans and Mexican-Americans from the country following the 1930 census,1.5 to 2 million people were deported to Mexico. In addition, the fierce competition for jobs during the Great Depression caused many Americans to believe that Mexican immigrants were taking jobs that white Anglos were supposedly entitled to. Because of this program, many Mexican-Americans were stranded in Mexico, most of them unable to speak Spanish. One young victim of the program, when asked whether or not he wanted to go to Mexico, replied “No! It is like being sent to Mars!” 

The Repatriation Program's direct impact on the Mexican-American community has been a point of contention among historians for decades. Most agree that between 1.5 to 2 million Mexican-Americans were sent to Mexico against their will. Many of them did not even speak Spanish because a large percentage were second or third generation US citizens who had adopted American culture. Others had come to the US as children, and they were thrown into a place they didn’t know. Not only did the Repatriation Program deport many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans from the US, it negatively affected Mexico as well. The masses of unemployed people entering Mexico caused major economic damage to the citizens and the government. Mexico tried to help by setting up financial aid programs for the migrants, but they were simply unequipped to deal with such a sudden and unexpected migration crisis. The Repatriation Program not only affected the Mexican population in the United States, it also affected Mexico's economy as a whole.

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