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Transcript from the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
PAINFUL PAST: November 27, 2003
Jeffrey Kaye of KCET Los Angeles explores the mass expulsion of people of Mexican descent from the United States during the Depression and new efforts to address it.
JEFFREY KAYE: Maria Ofelia Acosta is a 72-year-old grandmother of three, who lives a tranquil, suburban life of retirement in a Los Angels suburb. But as a young child, Acosta says she and her family were victims of a little-known and little-told chapter in American history: The mass deportation of people, many of them U.S. citizens, to Mexico. Acosta says her family's odyssey began in June 1932. That's when her father, a legal U.S. resident from Mexico, was approached by federal authorities. He was one of many Latino laborers on a public works project in northern California.
MARIA OFELIA ACOSTA: He thought maybe they're going to give us a better job. And then they said, "We decided to send you to Mexico, so line up and come one by one and get your tickets."