Imagine the scene: the United States being overrun by illegal immigrants who are flooding across the Mexican border, easily and without any fear of capture or deportation, taking jobs from unemployed Americans, and working for greedy employers who would rather pay an illegal immigrant half of what they would pay an American, and for far longer, more back-breaking hours of what is basically considered slave labor.
Welcome to the United States, my fellow Americans … in 1954.
Yes, it’s true. As George Santayana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
More than 60 years ago, when Dwight Eisenhower was the President of the United States, he faced an illegal immigration crisis. The Mexican border back then was as open as it is now. More than 3 million illegal immigrants had streamed across the U.S. border and were working mainly in Texas, Arizona, and California.
Ike was incensed by what he saw. He wrote a letter to Sen. William Fulbright (D-AR). In his letter Eisenhower quoted a New York Times article which said: “The rise in illegal border-crossing by Mexican ‘wetbacks’ to a current rate of more than 1,000,000 cases a year has been accompanied by a curious relaxation in ethical standards extending all the way from the farmer-exploiters of this contraband labor to the highest levels of the Federal Government.”
Farmers and ranchers, mainly in the American West and Southwest, were quite happy to pay slave wages to the Mexican illegals, as it was far less of a financial burden to them than what they would have to pay Americans.
As the Christian Science Monitor originally reported, and according to the Handbook of Texas Online, published by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas State Historical Association, “cotton growers in the Rio Grande Valley, where most illegal aliens in Texas worked, paid wages that were ‘approximately half’ the farm wages paid elsewhere in the state.”
The ranchers and farmers also had powerful political allies. Many government officials who were supposed to direct immigration enforcement “had friends among the ranchers” and low-level federal agents “did not dare” arrest any illegals working on those ranches. If a farmer or rancher called a government official to complain about the arrest of his illegal workers, then frequently there was quick and powerful political intervention to free the illegals right away, and with no further molestation of the farmer or rancher or his illegal workers.
Even Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson (D-TX) got involved. In the decade before LBJ became president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he was strongly in favor of open borders and he was strongly opposed to any type of border enforcement. LBJ had lots of farmers and ranchers as friends back in Texas, and they donated a lot of money to his political campaigns.
But then Dwight Eisenhower became President.
Eisenhower directed retired Gen. Joseph “Jumpin’ Joe” Swing to be his new INS commissioner. Jumpin’ Joe went right to work.
Swing quickly removed various corrupt government officials from immigration oversight. But that was just the beginning. On June 17, 1954, “Operation Wetback” – yes, that really was its name – commenced. 1,075 United States Border Patrol agents began to crackdown on illegals and their employers. Their initial goal was 1,000 captures a day. In just six weeks, the 1,075 agents had captured more than 50,000 illegal workers. In addition, another 488,000 illegals voluntarily returned to Mexico rather than face arrest and forced deportation.
By September of 1954, just three months into the operation, nearly 100,000 illegal workers were arrested and another 500,00-700,000 had voluntarily returned to Mexico. And that was just in Texas!
Part of the success of “Operation Wetback” was its deportation process. Illegals were not just transported back to the U.S.-Mexico border. Instead, they were sent by bus, train, or boat deep into Mexico before they were released, so as to make any potential return a lot more difficult.
“Operation Wetback” was a smashing success.
By the time the operation was over, approximately 1.3 million Mexican illegals had either been deported or had fled the U.S. voluntarily. And remember: Eisenhower and Swing were doing this with just 1,075 United States Border Patrol agents! Today the U.S. has more than 20,000 agents.
If Ike could do it, why can’t we?
We know the answer. We need a president who has the character and courage to do so. That’s why the 2016 presidential election is so vitally important to the future of this nation. We need a president who will protect our borders, stop amnesty, enforce our immigration laws, and promote legal immigration. That’s what LIFA stands for. That’s what America must stand for.
America needs another Dwight Eisenhower.
If Ike could do it, why can’t we?