From 1931 to 1934, almost one-third of the Mexican-origin residents of Los Angeles, or about 50,000 individuals of a total population of approximately 150,000, relocated south to Mexico under intense and overt pressure from federal and local officials. The terms we use to describe this activity and this period vary, depending on how we characterize this movement, the pressures faced, and the nature of the migrants themselves.
DEPORTATION: commonly known as forced return migration to Mexico, usually as a result of being captured by U.S. immigration officials and being identified as illegally in the United States (or without proper documents).
REPATRIATION: commonly known as “voluntary” return migration, this is the term most commonly used to describe most departures in the period. Involves a wide range of situations, from those who left on their own at the start of the economic depression when they lost their jobs to those pressured later on to leave on organized trains funded by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
BANISHMENT: a new term, used to describe the fact that approximately 60 percent of those that went to Mexico in the period were actually U.S.-born children in immigrant families, and therefore held U.S. citizenship.
How do these terms compare to the ones we use to describe efforts made today to remove Mexicans and other Latinos from the United States?