Trump immigration plan throwback to ‘Operation Wetback’

Louis Hyman, professor of history and labor at Cornell University, and Natasha Iskander, professor of public policy at New York University say that President Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback, which deported an estimated 1.1 million undocumented migrants in 1954 and was endorsed by president-elect Trump during his campaign, had terrible social and economic consequences, and cautions against efforts that would repeat this dark history.

Biographies: https://www.ilr.cornell.edu/people/louis-hyman, http://wagner.nyu.edu/community/faculty/natasha-iskander

Hyman says:

“Operation Wetback was not simply the neutral enforcement of immigration laws, but an orchestrated campaign of fear against Mexican Americans. The most powerful agents were not in the border patrol, but the press corps – which broadcasted the round-ups and fueled an overarching public relations campaign.

“The same images would fill our screens, and our homes today should a similar policy be enacted.

“Deporting such a vast workforce, as Trump has proposed, without any provision for guest worker replacements, will not just affect the deportees but the most basic operations of our economy. To remove these millions of undocumented workers will shatter American businesses, both big and small, industrial and agricultural, urban and rural.”

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