"Decade of Betrayal
is a book of revelation. It documents for the first time the difficulties faced by Mexicans who were forced from their homes in the United States back to Mexico during the Great Depression. This book will set the standard by which others are compared."--Professor John R. Wunder, Department of History, University of Nebraska
Sixty years ago the anti-immigration picture in the United States was very much the same as it is today. However, in that "Decade of Betrayal" one million Mexicans and their American-born children were rounded up and deported from the U.S.
Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s is the first book to study the effects of this mass deportation on both the U.S. and Mexican economies and societies.
As the Depression engulfed the United States in the early 1930s, fear and anxiety spread that Mexicans were taking jobs and welfare benefits away from "real" Americans. Local, state, and national officials launched massive efforts to get rid of the Mexicans. Eventually more than a million were shipped back to Mexico.
This book carefully appraises the impact of the forced relocation on both sides of the border. Mexicans and their children were repatriated indiscriminately because it was assumed they were a costly burden to taxpayers. However, as the authors document, few socio-economic benefits were received by Mexicans. Nonetheless, a horrific toll was extracted from individuals, families, and entire barrios due to the anti-Mexican hysteria.
In Mexico, the return of native sons and daughters and their American-born children sorely strained the social and agrarian reforms initiated by President Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940) and his predecessors. Prior to this study, scholars had never addressed that aspect of repatriation.
By combining extensive archival research with oral history testimony, the authors have created a compelling narrative that blends individual recollections with scholarly interpretation.
The decade of the 1930s was one filled with frustration and disenchantment. Reeling from the economic disorientation of the depression, Americans sought a convenient scapegoat. They found it in the Mexican community. In a frenzy of anti-Mexican activity, wholesale punitive measures were proposed and undertaken. Mexicans were deprived of jobs in the public and private sectors. Immigration and deportation laws were enacted to restrict emigration and hasten the departure of those already here.
Clearly Decade of Betrayal will add to the current controversy surrounding U.S. immigration and economic policies.
"One of the best studies on deportation and repatriation."--Professor Vicki Ruiz, author of Cannery Women, Cannery Lives
"The multifaceted scholarly research presented here makes a significant contribution to the history of the 1930s."--Professor Juan Gómez-Quiñones, Department of History, UCLA