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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Mexican Americans During The Great Depression
Program #
Identity, Society

History, Immigration
Richard Goodman
Richard Goodman
Feb 14, 1977

Mexican Americans During the Great Depression

Richard Goodman discusses the mass deportations and repatriations of Mexicans during the Great Depression. In the aftermath of the stock market crash, Mexicans of all nationalities were considered and subsequently treated as undesirable aliens subject to deportation. In the early years of the Depression, many returned to Mexico voluntarily. Yet by 1931, private and public welfare organizations began organizing campaigns to deport Mexicans, who they felt occupied jobs that should be held by those born in the U.S. Secretary of Labor William Doak organized many sensational raids and local citizen groups offered to help the federal government deport immigrants. In Los Angeles, the immigration bureau, with the help of the police and sherrif’s department, organized several raids, that often arrested Mexicans who were in the U.S. legally. Moreover, many of those detained were denied counsel and other rights.

Eventually, the Bureau of Immigration shifted to other less sensational tactics, but they continued to pursue and deport immigrants. Their efforts dramatically reduced Mexican communities in many northern states, while states like Texas and California lost large portions of their Spanish-speaking population. Goodman concludes that this period created a long-lasting sense of alienation among Mexican Americans. This episode is based on research from Abraham Hoffman’s Unwanted Mexican Americans in the Great Depression.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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