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Thursday, March 31, 2016
What WND Columnist Brent Smith Doesn't Get About Deportation
Topic: WorldNetDaily

When Brent Smith joined WorldNetDaily's weekly commentary lineup at thte start of 2016, it touted how he considers himself "just an average Joe," adding, "I’m proud of the fact that I’m neither a journalist nor an academic, but a completely self-educated common-sense thinker, a la Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck." Well, that explains a lot.

Smith writes in his March 28 column defending the idea of deporting all 11 million allegedly undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and bashing an article in "the lefty website The Nation" for criticizing it:

Throughout the entire rather lengthy and supposedly “well-researched” article, there is not a single mention of America’s No. 1 success story regarding deportation – that of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Maybe Tanya’s search engine didn’t go back to the year 1954, or I suppose it is possible that she has a search filter that won’t allow her to access micro-aggressive words like “wetback.”

In fact it was Eisenhower, who in 1954 began a deportation program called “Operation Wetback,” which successfully deported virtually all 3 million illegal Mexicans living in the United States. And by the way, he did it without 21st century technology and massive numbers of agents. In fact, “Operation Wetback” employed only a little over 1,000 men.

I wrote about it a couple of years ago.

Well, he got it wrong. As NPR details, only about 1 million allegedly undocumented Mexican immigrants were deported under "Operation Wetback," not the 3 million Smith claims. Further, several dozen immigrants reportedly died en route back to Mexico under the primitive conditions Eisenhower's troops shipped them.

But Smith would probably dismiss NPR as a "lefty" site that can't believed. So let's look at a site whose neutrality is unimpeachable,

The "Handbook of Texas," sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association, says in its entry on "Operation Wetback" that the number forced to leave is "probably less than 1.3 million":

Handbook of Texas: The INS claimed as many as 1,300,000, though the number officially apprehended did not come anywhere near this total. The INS estimate rested on the claim that most aliens, fearing apprehension by the government, had voluntarily repatriated themselves before and during the operation. … Many commentators have considered these figure[s] to be exaggerated.

We also contacted the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas. Director Karl Weissenbach told us his staff had researched the library’s holdings to determine the veracity of the 13 million claim and could find nothing to support it. Indeed, the staff turned up a report to Cabinet dated Jan. 26, 1955, that suggests a much lower total:

Report to the Cabinet, Jan. 26, 1955: [A] year ago the Border Patrol was faced with the disheartening task of apprenhending and expelling some 3,000 ‘wetbacks’ each day, apprehensions now are running slightly less than 300 daily.


Mexican nationals were shipped back using trucks, buses, planes and ships. According to the Texas State Historical Society, the use of ships was discontinued after some drownings caused a public outcry in Mexico.

In that piece from "a couple of years ago," Smith expanded on it more than he did at WND, claiming that "700,000 self deported," which in addition to being untrue seems to contradict his WND claim that Ike's troops did all the deporting. Smith adds at WND:

Eisenhower understood full well the dynamic effect of deportation. The first step is to let the country know you are serious. The next step is to demonstrate your resolve with direct deportations. When illegals catch wind that the authorities are not just “talking the talk” but “walking the walk,” they begin to self-deport, which is what happened under Ike. He had to deport only a fraction of those who fled our country. The overwhelming majority left on the own.

Which still isn't true. But remember, WND editor Joseph Farah is weirdly proud of the fact that his columnists promote misinformation.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:44 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2016 8:46 AM EDT

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