1954: Operation Wetback

After World War II, American attitudes toward hiring Mexican farm labor again became more restrictive. In response to the influx of illegal immigrants that accompanied the Bracero Program, the Federal Government initiated Operation Wetback (after an insulting slang term for undocumented Mexican immigrants). Its aim was to stop the border crossing of, and to deport, undocumented workers. Public opposition to unpopular deportation tactics, such as flying deportees to southern Mexico in order to deter them from returning to the border, would force the U.S. government to abandon the operation within a year.