Deportation of Mexicans Increase Under Operation Wetback

1954

United States

Citizenship Discrimination & Inequity Race & Ethnicity

Amidst the anti-communist crusade of the 1940s and 1950s that brought about a virulent wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, the federal government launched a military operation to round up and deport undocumented Mexican immigrants. In addition to military personnel, this countrywide effort to target Mexican American neighborhoods involved the U.S. Border Patrol (established in 1924) (see also: Border Patrol Established, 1924) and municipal, county, and state authorities. While precise statistics are uncertain, the Immigration and Naturalization Service claimed at least 1,300,000 undocumented migrants were deported, with many more leaving voluntarily due to the climate of fear and discrimination.