… as the Depression worsen[ed]…With President Hoover in office, flailing about in search of solutions to the deepening economic crisis, eyes turned toward Mexicans and Mexican Americans as scapegoats. The “Repatriation” program began in 1930 and thousands of Latinos, many of whom had been born in the USA [and therefore American citizens], were rounded up in jobs, homes, parks, or businesses and were put on trains and taken deep into central Mexico, courtesy of an agreement between the railroads ($14.75 bounty for each “captive”) and the American federal government. For many, who had lived all or most of their lives in California, Arizona, or Texas, being in Mexico was a shock and being away from their families and jobs was devastating. Estimates run as high as 400,000 repatriados caught up in this ruthless exercise in xenophobia over a three-year period. Unknowingly it became a trial run for the later mistreatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the internment camps built throughout the Southwest. Needless to say, there are echoes of the repatriados reverberating now in the 21st century.
from the program notes for Mi Familia (My Family) by Chale Nafus,
Director of Programming, Austin Film Society
I figured out how to create a playlist of music on Youtube and will be listening to it on New Year’s Eve. If you’re interested, you can find it here.