Mexican Americans and Immigrants During the Great Depression

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  • Topic: Mexican American, Great Depression, New Deal
  • Pages : 7 (2623 words )
  • Download(s) : 692
  • Published : April 24, 2012
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The U.S. is known as a land of opportunity and has always attracted many peoples from different parts of the world. Many come with hope of improving their lives and seek a stable job that will be sufficient in supporting their families. Many people pursued the American Dream, and there are plenty who still do today, and achieved it. Despite the many success stories that have taken place, they were not as likely to transpire during the 1930s as they would have been during another time period. Due to the poor economy and lack of abundant jobs, the U.S. had to go through drastic measures to ensure that Americans, specifically white Americans, had a better chance of finding employment. This included discouraging immigration immensely. When the Great Depression was at its lowest point in the U.S., Americans scrambled in search of jobs and despised the Mexican Americans and immigrants that were taking jobs that supposedly rightfully belonged to the traditional white Americans. The white Americans at the time never put forth an effort to distinguish between Mexican immigrants and native Mexican Americans, meshing the two different peoples into one group. When economic times were strong, the U.S. would encourage immigration so those immigrants could take the jobs that Americans did not want to do. When the economy hit rock bottom, immigrants were no longer welcome in the U.S. Attitudes towards immigrants tended to depend on how the country as a whole was doing. As the economy got worse and worse during the Great Depression (early 1930s), the government legalized and enforced acts that stopped the influx of immigrants and promoted the leaving of Mexican Americans and immigrants in the U.S., but when the government provided more jobs for Americans through the New Deal programs and the economy started moving again, Mexican Americans and immigrants still experienced discrimination but were not as unwanted as they had been before. The government's New Deal programs led to an improving economy during the mid- and late- 1930s that aided the Mexican Americans and immigrants in addition to the groups and organizations that they formed to protect their civil rights in the United Sates. During the early years of the Great Depression, the government stopped the excessive amount of immigration and encouraged Mexican Americans and immigrants to leave by establishing acts like the Mexican Repatriation. In 1932 the government enforced the Mexican Repatriation in which hundreds of thousands of Mexicans and Mexican Americans, who grew up being accustomed to American culture, were forced to leave the U.S. and return to Mexico (Meier 153-155). 1932 was the lowest point of the Great Depression, when the economy was at its worst and before the president even introduced the New Deal plan. It was also when the least amount of jobs was available. The government needed to find a way to provide more jobs and decided to deport the Mexicans and Mexican Americans in order to create more jobs for other Americans. The refugees affected by the Dust Bowl hurt the Mexicans and Mexican Americans because their farms in the Mid-West had dried up and they came to California to find work. The Mexicans and Mexican Americans had always been the scapegoat when the country was complaining that there were no jobs left. Several hundreds of thousands of agricultural jobs were vacated due to the Mexicans’ and Mexican Americans’ absence, giving many other Americans an opportunity to find work. The U.S. government kicked rightful U.S. citizens out of their own country and tossed them into a completely different, unfamiliar place that had recently gone through its own revolution. The Mexican Repatriation displayed that Mexican Americans, rightful U.S. citizens, did not have protected their civil rights to stay in the country. Similarly, as the number of Filipino immigrants in the U.S. increased, the U.S. highly discouraged the Filipinos’ staying in the U.S. and...
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