- For other uses, see: Wetback (disambiguation)
"Wetback" is a term for Mexicans who immigrate illegally to the United States. It is generally used as an ethnic slur, and is sometimes applied to Mexican-Americans or others of Latin American descent. The term originally designated Mexicans who entered Texas by crossing the Rio Grande, presumably by swimming or wading across and getting their back wet in the process. An equivalent term, mojado (meaning wet), exists in Spanish.
The first mention of the term in The New York Times is dated June 20, 1920. It was used officially by the US government in 1954, with Operation Wetback, a project where a large number of Mexican nationals were deported. This term was parodied in the South Park episode "Goobacks."
- "Wetback". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved September 02, 2010.
- "Rio Grande Wetbacks: Mexican Migrant Workers". Education Resources Information Center. http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED071800&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED071800. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- Gerald B. Breitigam (20 June 1920). "Welcomed Mexican Invasion --- Thousands of Families Crossing the Border to Till the Soil and Otherwise Build Up the Southwest". The New York Times: p. XX6. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9E0DE7DE153AEE32A25753C2A9609C946195D6CF.
- "Wetback". Interactive Dictionary of Racial Language. http://kpearson.faculty.tcnj.edu/Dictionary/wetback.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-20.