Of course it wasn't, but the thing about a massive war is that it creates a lot of needs back home, and for the United States, one of those needs was a lot of workers to replace the ones we sent off to fight Hitler. So in exchange for not having to be an active participant in the war, Mexico agreed to send us workers on a short-term basis. It was called the Bracero Program. We also promised to shore up border security and put tighter restrictions on hiring workers who were in the country illegally, the thinking being that between sending back undocumented immigrants and workers here legally under the Bracero Program returning after two years, Mexico would eventually solve the massive labor shortage that was hindering efforts to industrialize their country.
Wait, that doesn't sound so bad, right? Illegal immigration was hurting Mexico, and we were just sending people back to help fix that problem. The only hitch is that it didn't really work. Workers crossing the border to seek higher wages and better opportunities in America never stopped happening. We didn't really want for it to stop happening, but for diplomatic reasons, we had to do something. That something ended up being the unfortunately-named Operation Wetback.
What was that? Oh, just a plan to deport undocumented immigrants on a massive scale. How massive? Well, more than one million immigrants were apprehended in the first year alone. Keep in mind that this was the 1950s. We didn't have a fraction of the resources available to us now back in those days, especially in terms of technology that allows us to track people more effectively.
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"In my day, hating Mexicans was all done on pen and paper."
If you can track people, you can find people. If you can find people, you can arrest them and send them somewhere else. It really isn't rocket science. Your grandparents figured it out, and they can't even operate a smartphone without government intervention. It's foolish to think that the nightmarish logistics of rounding up a lot of people will keep mass deportations from happening.
Did Operation Wetback work, at least? Nope. Illegal immigration never stopped being a problem, and even worse, the program was rife with abuse and mistreatment. At one point, 88 Mexican immigrants died after we just dropped them in the middle of the desert in July, when temperatures were in the 112-degree range. In all, there were 11,000 documented cases of abuse, with who knows how many additional instances that went unreported.
In other words, it was a disaster. Even worse, it's a disaster that's mostly been forgotten in this country, which is all the more reason to trust that it can happen again.