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A Connecticut Reader Notes Past Deportations
From: Joseph Morabito [Email him]
I came across an article on Politifact that I thought you would find of interest and value.
In the hot-button immigration debate, some who oppose crackdowns on illegal immigrants suggest that it would be logistically and economically impossible for federal authorities to deport perhaps 10 million people to their country of origin.
We recently received an unsigned chain e-mail in our inbox that took that argument head-on, suggesting that there's ample precedent in American history for mass deportations of illegal immigrants. Here are excerpts of the e-mail, with original syntax intact.
"What did Hoover, Truman, and Eisenhower have in common? ... Back during The Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover ordered the deportation of ALL illegal aliens in order to make jobs available to American citizens that desperately needed work. Harry Truman deported over two million Illegal's after WWII to create jobs for returning veterans. And then again in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower deported 13 million Mexican Nationals! The program was called 'Operation Wetback'.. It was done so WWII and Korean Veterans would have a better chance at jobs. It took 2 Years, but they deported them! Now. ... if they could deport the illegal's back then -- they could sure do it today."
James Fulford writes: The email, and the “debunking” of its various inaccuracies by the Politifact people (which I haven't included) are both instructive.
For example, many Mexicans were “repatriated” from California during the Great Depression, because there weren’t enough jobs for Americans. People have forgotten that, except for resentful Hispanics. But Herbert Hoover doesn’t get credit/resentful Hispanic blame for that because it was done by local authorities in California.
They point out that Truman deported very few people, because there were very few immigrants in the immediate post war years. That’s because, before the 1965 Immigration Act, there was still a National Origins quota.