Brayan Ortiz Ramos L&S Arts & Humanities
From Repatriation to Migration: A Transnational Legacy
During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration began the process of repatriating Mexican laborers – roughly 1.8 million people would leave the United States during this period. The Mexican state – embroiled in agrarian reform – took the repatriation of their countrymen as a positive for the country and enacted policies in line with Cardenista redistribution. One effort, however, proved of a different character. Starting in 1933, an attempt was made to construct colonies of the newly arrived Mexicans from the United States. These artificially constructed neighborhoods were intended to function around the agricultural industry. It is believed, however, that only two were fully attempted. A year after the establishment of the only functioning one, Colonia Numero 2 (Oaxaca) experienced a mass exodus. The existing literature on the Mexican experience during the great depression fails to track repatriated Mexicans from the United States to specific communities, such as Colonia Numero 2. The experience of repatriating Mexicans from the United States in Colonia Numero 2 gives important insight into how immigration came to be influenced by transnational forces in the 1930s and how governments worked to take advantage of such situations. Through an in-depth analysis of the repatriation policies, the establishment of Colonia Numero 2, and the subsequent mass exodus, this project aims to provide significant insight into how transnational forces and agrarian reform shaped Mexican immigration during the Great Depression. Ultimately, this project will contribute to a better understanding of the historical and social contexts that continue to shape Mexican immigration policies today.