Ruben Aguilar, 85, was forcibly deported from the U.S. 80 years ago as part of a largely forgotten Mexican repatriation program run by the American government.
During the Great Depression, hundreds of thousands of people of Mexican descent were forcibly deported to Mexico without due process, including many American citizens. Aguilar, an American citizen, was born in Chicago but was deported with his parents, who were undocumented. At the time, he was 6 years old.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Friday condemned the use of the term "wetbacks" by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, one of the party's most senior members of Congress.
Young's statement, his quick apology, and Boehner's statement that the remark was "beneath the dignity of the office he holds," come at a particularly sensitive time for the Republican Party in its relationship with Hispanic voters.
When Linda Hernandez was growing up in Lincoln, Neb., in the 1960s, her family was one of the few Latino families in town. And that sometimes made school life difficult, she says.
"We had to sit in the back of the class and stay after school and clean the erasers when the other kids didn't have to do that," says Linda, now 60. "But both my parents laid down the law and said, 'You had to go to school.' "