Los Repatriados
Los Repatriados > History > Accommodation: Al Otro Lado

The Mexican Repatriation of 1930 produced a very upsetting traumatic situation for both American citizens and non-citizens, especially children.  Millions were deported back to Mexico, but scholars cannot state an accurate number considering that there were also people who “voluntarily” went back.  Unfortunately, getting the actual story has been quite difficult for up coming generations because many repatriates have refused to bring back such a painful period of Mexican-American history.  Children of repatriates and scholars have also been wondering why so little is published in U.S. history books and public libraries.1 The children that did manage to come back to the States, believe that they were “deprived of an education, deprived of medical care, deprived of food.  All the necessities that growing children need."2 Out of the 1,000,000 deported, American children made up approximately 60 percent.3

The American children that did manage to come back to the United States years after had many difficulties adapting once again in their native country.  Many could not speak English and basically had to start their adult lives all over again.  Not much government assistance was available for families and poverty was a main theme among households.  A life of hard work was the fate of returnees, whether it was working in the industrial business like Ford Motor Company, or serving the military.  “It is one of the reasons why most fathers never talked to their children about repatriation.  They had never gotten over their sense of guilt and shame.”4

Not only was getting an education a problem, but reestablishing relationships with family members who remained behind was just as painful.  Adjusting to the return was just like the struggle they had faced when they were forced to live in Mexico.  Many felt like outsiders and intruders to their own families and began to dissociate from their Mexican culture, marrying non-Mexican partners and even changing their whole names. In order to re establish their identity with pride they had to eliminate their past.

There were several reasons why many chose not to come back to the States.  After spending so many years in Mexico, who would want to come back to nothing or a country that once rejected them?    No one wanted to feel like a 2nd class citizen again moving back to the States.  They wanted to stay in a place where they were already established and treated as equals.  To some, returning was not an option.  Just the burden of finding their official documents was a never ending process and did not guarantee reentry.

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