Garcia Introduces Bill to Teach Mexican Repatriation to California Students

For immediate release:

Measure would encourage inclusion in school textbooks and curriculum

(Sacramento) – From the wisdom of a classroom of elementary children and their teacher, an idea has become legislation. Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) has introduced Assembly Bill 146, encouraging that the unconstitutional deportation of over 1 million U.S. citizens and lawful residents of Mexican descent in California during the 1920’s, be included in student history textbooks and studies.

The Depression Era Mexican Repatriation Act, initiated by President Herbert Hoover, indiscriminately swept up Mexican American citizens and immigrants from dance halls, markets, theaters, hospitals and homes, loaded them into trucks and trains and deported them to Mexico - a gross violation of human rights and to date no apology has been offered by the federal government.

According to Assemblymember Garcia, she visited teacher Leslie Hiatt and her 5th grade class at Bell Gardens Elementary School to discuss a trip she had taken to Mexico and Central America, to learn the plight of unaccompanied migrant children coming to America.  During her presentation she also encouraged the students to think about a new state law that they would like to see in California and submit their entry to her districtwide “There Ought to Be a Law” contest. Entries will be accepted continually through Friday, January 16th.
 
“I was pleasantly surprised that the students had prepared skits, poems, power point presentations and a book about the Repatriation Act,” Garcia said.”  “The students related how difficult it was for them to even find information on the repatriation, but as they dug and learned more, how impactful this history was to them on a personal level.”  

Garcia stated that California, where 38% of the a population is Latino, should include this instruction just as schools have included curriculum on the Holocaust, Japanese Internment and histories on other violations of human rights that have occurred.

As one of winners of the “There Ought to Be a Law” contest, Ms. Hiatt and her class will be invited to come to Sacramento to testify when the bill is to be heard in committee in the coming months.

“These students are the most prepared people that have lobbied me on a bill. I can’t wait to see them in action in Sacramento and to work with them on AB 146,” Garcia concluded.

More than one entry could be selected as a winner of the contest. Entries can be submitted through: https://a58.asmdc.org/there-ought-be-law-constituent-bill-idea-contest