Several historical episodes have indelibly influenced the sense of belonging of generations of persons of Mexican ancestry - and Latinx generally - in the United States. Two powerful examples aptly illustrate this point. During the hard times of the Great Depression, state and local governments, with the support of the U.S. government, “repatriated” approximately one million persons of Mexican ancestry, including many U.S. citizen children as well as immigrant parents, to Mexico. Similarly, the U.S. government in 1954 in the military-style “Operation Wetback,” directed by a retired general, removed hundreds of thousands of persons of Mexican ancestry, including many U.S. citizen children, from the Southwest. Those discriminatory events have shaped the identities of Latinx people in the United States.
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