IMMIGRATION: The Ants

In 1938, only 3,000 Mexican "wetbacks" were arrested for sneaking illegally across the shallows of the Rio Grande into the U.S. But World War II brought labor shortages to California and Texas harvest fields, and in the years which followed, the wetbacks thronged in by the tens of thousands. The annual invasion has grown bigger & bigger—despite legislation, public clamor, the hardships which the wetbacks suffer, and the best efforts of the U.S. border patrol, which caught and shipped 635,135 of them home (many of them repeaters) during 1952 alone.

There are...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!