Operation Wetback
Period 1949-1954
Who's Involved American and Mexican Government, Mexicans, Americans
Purpose Preventing Illegal Immigrants

In 1949 the American border patrol seized over 280,000 illegal Mexicans emigrants.In 1953 the number of Mexicans has grown to more than 865,000. The U.S. governmennt felt more preasure each year to do something about the immigration. What resulted was Operation Wetback, which started in 1954 under the supervision of a new commissioner, Gen. Joseph Swing of the Immigration and Nationalization service. Swing oversaw the American border patrol and than organized all the state police and officials to help the border inforcement. The object of his intence border inforcement were "illigal aliens", but the common practice of the Operation Wetback focused on Mexicans in general. The police swarmed through Mexican American barrios throughout the southern states. Some Mexicans scared of the potential violence of this militarization, fled back south across the border. In 1954 the state police discovered over one million illegal immigrants. In some cases, illegal immigrants were deported along with their American-born children, who were by the law a U.S. citizen. They adopted the practice of stopping "Mexican-looking" citizens on the street who were asking for identification. This practice angered many U.S. citizens who were descendents of Mexican Americans. Opponents in both the U.S and Mexico complained about the "police-state" Methods, and Operation Wetback was abandoned.