Essay about Mexicans in America During the Great Depression

Essay about Mexicans in America During the Great Depression

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While many remember the Great Depression as a time of terrible trials for Americans, few understand the hardships faced by Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the U.S. This paper examines the experiences of Mexicans in America during the Great Depression and explores the devastating impact of repatriation efforts. America has an extensive history of accepting Mexican workers when they are needed for cheap labor, and demanding that they be deported when the economic situation is more precarious in an attempt to open jobs for Americans. In the 1930s, “Americans, reeling from the economic disorientation of the depression, sought a convenient scapegoat. They found it in the Mexican community.” Mexicans were blamed for economic hardships and pushed to leave the United States because Americans believed they were taking jobs and draining charitable resources; however, few understood the negative repercussions of these actions. During the Great Depression, the push to strip jobs from Mexicans and repatriate them had the unintended consequences of adding more people to welfare rolls, contributed to labor shortages and forced out legal citizens of Mexican descent which created feelings of bitterness and rejection.
The drive to keep jobs out of the hands of Mexicans had the highly undesirable result of forcing many families to depend on welfare to survive. Many Mexicans were forced to leave and rounded up by immigration officials, while others were intimidated by immigration practices and left voluntarily. While some left willingly because of the poor economic outlook, hoping things would be better in Mexico, others were deported even if they had come to the United States legally. One reporter called for an investigation of immigr...

... middle of paper ...

... EBSCOhost, (Accessed December 9, 2013), 2.

“Immigration Abuses,” Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles), Jul 22, 1931,, (Accessed December 10, 2013).

Balderrama, 3.

“Alien Drive Speeds Up,” Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles), Apr 11, 1931., (Accessed December 8, 2013).

Balderrama, 78.

Ibid., 60.

Rosales, F. Arturo, Testimonio: A Documentary History of the Mexican American Struggle for Civil Rights, (Houston: Arte Publico Press, 2000), 101.

Ibid., 101.

"Mexican Labor Dearth Feared,” Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles), May 6, 1931,, (Accessed December 7, 2013).


Hoffman, 90.

Ibid., 94.

“Immigration Abuses.”

Rosales, 80.

Martinez, Oscar. Border People: Life and Society in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1994), 232.

Ibid., 232.

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