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The INS on the LineMaking Immigration Law on the US-Mexico Border, 1917-1954$
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S. Deborah Kang

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199757435

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757435.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2020

The Federal Regulation of the US–Mexico Border

The Federal Regulation of the US–Mexico Border

Chapter:
(p.139) 6 The Federal Regulation of the US–Mexico Border
Source:
The INS on the Line
Author(s):

S. Deborah Kang

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757435.003.0007

Chapter 6 is a history of Operation Wetback, a massive deportation drive conducted by the federal government in 1954. While it is remembered as an apex in the history of the INS, a sign of the agency’s strength, and a moment in which it had achieved control over the US–Mexico border, this chapter argues that the campaign bore the hallmarks of a decades-long struggle by the INS to define a strong immigration law enforcement policy. Facing an ongoing shortage of money, manpower, and material, the new INS Commissioner, General Joseph Swing, devised a border enforcement strategy that drew upon old legal innovations devised by local agency officials in the Southwest. Moreover, Swing’s plan ultimately regulated, rather than closed, the line. It specifically opened the border to guest workers through a revamped Bracero Program, and closed it to undocumented immigrants by means of removal operations such as Operation Wetback.

Keywords:   Operation Wetback, Bracero Program, General Joseph Swing, employer penalties, employer sanctions, Texas Proviso, I-100 card, Specials Program, second open border incident

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