This dissertation focuses on a quasi-governmental committee formed in November, 1932 during the interim Mexican presidency of Abelardo L. Rodríguez. “El Comité Nacional de Repatriación” (The National Repatriation Committee) brought together Mexican businessmen, politicians, social-aid administrators and government officials to deal with the U.S. repatriations of “ethnic Mexicans” (Mexican nationals and Mexican Americans). The Comité attempted to raise half a million pesos (“La Campaña de Medio Millón”) for the repatriates to cultivate Mexico’s hinterlands in agricultural communities (“colonias”). However, the Comité’s promised delivery of farm equipment, tools, livestock and guaranteed wages came too slowly for the still destitute and starving repatriados who sometimes reacted with threats of violence against local and state officials. Cloaked in political rhetoric, the Comité failed to meet the expectations of the repatriate population and the Mexican public. The ambitious plans of the Comité became mired in confusion and scandal. Finally, bowing to pressure from Mexican labor unions and the Mexican press, President Rodríguez dissolved the Comité on June 14, 1934.
In addition, this work addresses Mexican immigration settlement through the early 1930s, Mexican immigration theory, the administration of President Herbert Hoover and the conational exodus. The hardships faced by the repatriates are covered as well as unemployment issues, nativism, and U.S. immigration policies through the early years of the Great Depression. The conclusions reached confirm that the general Mexican public welcomed the Campaña de Medio Millón and the work initiated by the National Repatriation Committee. However, the negative publicity regarding the failure of the two principal resettlement colonies in Oaxaca and Guerrero convinced President Rodríguez to disband both the Comité and the Campaña de Medio Millón.