Operation Wetback? WTF?

 

 

 

Mexico Coat of Arms

In 1954, the INS (Immigration And Naturalization Service) began an operation to remove one million illegal immigrants from the southwestern United States.  The focus was on Mexican Nationals.  They called the undertaking, “Operation Wetback“.  How PC is that?

I received an email this morning showing black and white images of three US presidents, Hoover, Truman and Eisenhower, crediting each of them with the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants to save American jobs.  “Why you might ask can’t they do this today?”  the email screams.  “Actually the answer is quite simple.  Hoover, Truman and Eisenhower were men of honor, not untrustworthy politicians looking for votes,” it continues.  Well, maybe.

What these three presidents were faced with was a serious unemployment problem, and that unemployment problem was blamed to a large extent on the illegal immigrants that were taking American jobs, (and not just Mexican Nationals), much as a part of the problem is blamed on that today.  The difference is, 57 years ago, the majority of the US population was highly prejudiced against specific ethnic groups.  Very severely prejudiced in fact.  You could get away, even politically, calling a Mexican National a “wetback”, a Mexican laborer wading the Rio Grande, thus getting their backs wet, crossing the border illegally to take American jobs.

 

 

 

Official Portrait May 29, 1959

Operation Wetback should really be credited to Gen. Joseph Swing though, whom Eisenhower appointed as the new INS Commissioner.  Ike’s real concern was about the illegal labor practices in the southwest.  A labor force that had grown to 3 million in a few short years following the war, and was being paid, on average, one half the salary of American workers.  This affected the wage levels in the US.  He was not as much concerned that they were stealing American jobs.  You might not believe this, but Texas and Nevada FAVORED an open border policy at the time, and were dead set against strong border enforcement.  Just so they could exploit this cheap labor force.  Could this be part of the reason we have the problem we have today?

So Operation Wetback was unleashed by Gen. Swing in 1954 and they rounded up illegal aliens, and like a troublesome grizzly bear that keeps raiding trash cans, relocated many of them far into the interior of Mexico and also used ships to send them to distant ports.  Along with their American-born children, I might add.  They used storm-trooper tactics, raiding Mexican temporary settlements, and barrios,  stopping Mexican-looking people on the street to check IDs (Sound familiar?  Arizona 2010.)  Many illegals fled back to Mexico in fear of these methods.  With 1075 agents, a third of todays Border Patrol, they were able to deport hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants.  The email I received today claimed that “13 million illegal aliens were deported”, a number way out of historical fact. 

 

Modern Border Patrol Agents

In the PC world we live in today, this would not even be discussed, let alone tried.  But is it really about being Politically Correct?  Even in 1954 there was public outrage about the “police-state” methods used and the operation was abandoned.  Isn’t it really about that no one wants those jobs Mexican laborers are filling, and at poverty wages to boot (and wasn’t that the issue 57 years ago!), and isn’t it about benefits the illegals are claimed to be receiving, like Welfare checks and Social Security checks, and isn’t it about anchor babies?  IN SHORT it’s about current, ridiculous, outdated, abused, non-workable immigration policy and it’s time to fix it.  Operation Wetback isn’t and wasn’t the answer. 

 

 

 

 

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