Under The Obama Administration: The History Of The 1930s Is Repeating Itself And Latinos Are The Target

By Linda Vega

When many ask, “Why can’t ‘they’ wait in line like everyone else?” I don’t think that they know the history of Mexicans in the U.S.  Or if they do, they don’t bother to understand how it is on the verge of repeating itself as a result of our economic crises. And on the other side, some Latinos under the Obama spell fail to notice that “their President” is on course to repeat a pattern in history that aimed at lessening the population of Mexicans in the U.S.

In the 1920s the U.S. hit a prosperous height, but it also quickly succumbed to a depression that rattled the banks and faith of the many U.S. Citizens. As in our current standing of unemployment at 8.2%, in 1930 the U.S. was on the cusp of a deep and worrisome depression as the unemployment rate hovered at 8.7%. As a result, America sought answers on how this prosperous nation could go into a deep slump.   In an effort to appease the masses and unions, the FDR administration provided answers to the slump economy and unemployment, by socializing the national government, and by removing the Mexican-American population (including those who were U.S. citizens), as they were considered an expendable and vulnerable group.

In the chart below by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States, note that the unemployment rate started to decline in 1930 at 8.67% and then sharply fell to 15.82% in 1931, and 23.53% in 1932, and so forth.  The Repatriation began in 1930 and lasted for the decade.

Depression Era Unemployment Statistics





Percentage of
Labor Force


































































“The highest rates of unemployment came during the Great Depression, when there were rates above 20 percent for several years. In 1933, there were more than 12 million workers unemployed; and the unemployment rate averaged 24.9 percent.”

The Repatriation sought to push the Mexican-American population to exit the U.S. in hopes that the labor force could be controlled.  The idea was that unemployment could be controlled if low skilled jobs could be created by replacing those already working in them with deserving U.S. Citizens.   These businesses, thinking that they were patriotically helping America, succumbed to the rhetoric and action by the Federal Government, States and Unions.  Many businesses laid off workers and then feeling shameful attempted to help them leave the U.S.  Mexicans, who were also U.S. Citizens, were accused of syphoning the benefits that “Americans” were entitled to, but they were also deserving recipients as U.S. Citizens.   Unable to sustain their families and the deplorable treatment in the U.S., many chose to leave the U.S. with their families rather than sustain repercussions of an unfriendly environment.

Under the FDR Democrat Administration, some scholars state that at least 500,000 Mexican Americans were removed from the U.S., sometimes by force.    Records at the Mexican Embassy show that between 1930-1935: 345,839 reported themselves to the authorities as they left the U.S.  In the book, Decade of betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in 1930s by Francisco Balderamas and Raymond Rodriguez, they describe how U.S. Citizens, who were of Mexican descent, unable to find the ability to return home, turned to their Churches for assistance.  Thus, the sanctuary of safety became a theme for Latinos to this day.

In an article by the Texas Historical Society,

Most Texas repatriation after 1929 originated in five areas. Most of the numerous repatriates of the lower Rio Grande valley had been employed as laborers on large truck farms, although some had worked in packing plants and other agribusinesses. Repatriation from some Valley towns was so complete that few Mexicans remained. South Texas probably furnished the second-largest number of repatriates. They departed from hundreds of cotton plantations and farms where they had served as tenant farmers and laborers. Third, many rural communities and small towns throughout Central Texas furnished repatriates. These had been employed as tenant farmers and laborers on large cotton plantations and as unskilled laborers in cotton-related industries. Fourth, significant numbers of repatriates left Southwest Texas. These had been employed on the cattle and sheep ranches and as agricultural laborers in the Winter Garden region. Fifth, West Texas was a source of repatriation. From the extensive cotton farms on the South Plains to the silver mines in the Big Bend, Mexicans departed en masse.”

According to the article, scholars often talk about the immigration to the United States but only until recently, the 1980s, was the emigration (leaving) of Mexicans from the U.S. even mentioned.  The only printed article in 1932 was titled, “The Mexicans Go Home” by Edna E. Kelley and appeared in the Southwest Review.

During this long decade of depression while the Democrats ruled the U.S., it was FDR who created socialist programs that he believed, and managed to convince the masses, would stimulate the economy.  Consequently, he was also allowing the fear rhetoric and oppression of the Mexicans.  He furthered the fuel of fear, by adhering to the Unions who were adamant about saving jobs that they believed Mexicans (U.S. Citizens) were taking over in the agriculture sector.  The public was duped into believing that getting rid of the Mexicans who were “leeching” off benefits that rightly belonged to U.S. Citizens was good and patriotic.

“Repatriation was accompanied by a federal deportation campaign that began in 1928 and intensified between 1929 and 1931. Deportation raids were carried out in both urban and rural areas. The most intense activity was conducted near the Texas-Mexico border. Few massive deportation raids were staged in Texas after 1931, although Immigration Service inspectors apprehended and deported Mexicans throughout the 1930s. Deportation raids received widespread publicity in Texas. Threat of deportation led to the exodus of thousands of Texas residents, including many Mexicans residing legally in the state. The deportation campaign began in the lower Rio Grande valley in the summer of 1928 and continued through 1931, when thousands of Mexicans were jailed and deported. The campaign was so thorough that in some small rural communities few or no Mexicans remained after 1931. By 1930 the campaign had been extended to West Texas, where activity centered on El Paso and nearby agricultural enterprises. Thousands were deported, and authorities in Ciudad Juárez had great difficulty in providing for their needs. The campaign was less intense in other areas of Texas, although raids occurred at diverse locations in South, Central, and North Texas. Reliable data are not available for the number of deportations from the various areas of the state. Efforts to implement the deportation campaign resulted in widespread violation of civil and human rights, including illegally imprisoning immigrants, deporting United States-born children, not permitting returnees to dispose of their property or to collect their wages, deporting many not legally subject to deportation because of their length of Texas residence, separating families, and deporting the infirm.”

Just as the Federal government was ousting Latinos in the 1930s, they are once again the target of a modern “Repatriation” but this time under the Obama Administration.  As I have argued in the past,  Obama is  Dangerous to Latinos because ample data exists showing that  between   2009 and 2010,

 “Under the Secured Communities program, this administration deported 1.3 Million Latinos and arrested 3500 U.S. Citizens who were Latinos.  This is more than was deported under the Bush Administration in 8 years.”  Additionally, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)  that would allow the detention of U.S. Citizens indefinitely, if authorities believe that in doing so, they are protecting the nation.”

Additionally, much like the deportations in Texas in the 1930s, citizens in the Rio Grande Valley have been losing their citizenship within the last 3 (three) years under the Obama administration.  In a past article titled: Obama: Stop Attacking the Elderly U.S. Citizen Latinos In South Texas,  the deports occurring in the RGV showed that

“According to the present Obama policies, if you were born in 1950 and before, you are expendable in the U.S. Your absence, along the Rio Grande Valley where you have lived most of your life, will be overlooked. According to this Administration, Latinos have an apathy and will not participate in elections, and so invalid deportations and stripping on U.S. Citizenship will go unnoticed because no one will dare to speak up to this injustice.”

Thus, the similarities between the 1930s Repatriation and the present Obama Deportations, not to mention the stripping of citizenship from Latino U.S. Citizens is a cause for concern.  In the 1930s, while the country nurtured a culture of dependency on the social programs, the U.S. Federal Government continued to oust Mexicans, certain that they were the cause of the depression. Recently, Obama has added a new health program that will create a culture of additional dependency, but will also magnify the blue-collar  workers as the largest beneficiary of the program, of which according to the Kaiser Foundation, 8 million happen to be Latino.  Obama also talks about increasing government programs to equalize the opportunity of those less fortunate with those less wealthy, pitting the wealthy class against the less fortunate, again the Latino.

In the 1940s, when the population drained itself of workers with World War II, the U.S. made efforts to retrieve the working pool by way of the Bracero Program that began in 1947 and lasted until 1964.  It was during this time that Mexicans were able to return to the U.S. and reclaim a life that had once been theirs in previous decades. However, labor unions at this time, began to once again blame the Mexican Population for unemployment and once again they were ousted and sent back to Mexico.   At Present, what is the plan that the Obama Administration intends to feed to the Latino community, while continuing to play into the hands of unions all the while keeping his distance from protecting the community from questionable detentions?

It is as though all of the progress made by Latinos since 1964, when they again entered the U.S. is about to erased by these deportations and questioning of citizenship under the Obama Administration.

For those who utter hate toward a community that has been unjustly ousted from their country, take note of history and its disgraceful actions.  And for those Latinos heralding the current Administration and President as a hero, be mindful of your history.  While the United States must maintain a healthy economy, it must to so with the opportunity to maintain a productive populace in a humanely manner.  In doing so, those who have earned their U.S. Citizenship, and are valuable to this country cannot be targeted as a scapegoat, again.  U.S. Citizens who are culturally Latinos/Mexicans  must step forward to protect themselves and their community.

The new Repatriation  under the Obama Administration must be halted so that Latinos are not placed in the center of blame for a declining economy.  Unlike the time of FDR, Latinos have power with their vote.  They must remember to use it to ensure that  the shameful ousting that Mexicans experienced during the decade of shame is not repeated, ever.

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