Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Operation Wetb...er, You Better Read This One For Yourself

If you agree with Sen. Kennedy that deportation is useless and impossible, you might be interested in this story from American history: Operation Wetb...er, well, a military/civilian/local law enforcement effort in the 1950s that successfully ended widespread illegal immigration from Mexico through the use of deportation:

The INS claimed as many as 1,300,000, though the number officially apprehended did not come anywhere near this total. The INS estimate rested on the claim that most aliens, fearing apprehension by the government, had voluntarily repatriated themselves before and during the operation. The San Antonio district, which included all of Texas outside of El Paso and the Trans-Pecos,qv had officially apprehended slightly more than 80,000 aliens, and local INS officials claimed that an additional 500,000 to 700,000 had fled to Mexico before the campaign began.

The problem was caused by Texas agribusiness encouraging Mexicans to immigrate illegally into the US. The problem was solved when federal, state and local officials got serious about enforcement and persuaded the illegal immigrant community that they might as well go home rather than go through the hassle of being deported.

It worked once. Why can't it work again?