The Bracero Program

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month!

What was the Bracero Program?

bracero trainsThis was a program instilled by the United States Government through bi-lateral agreements with Mexico to allow millions of Mexican men to work in the United States – primarily in the agricultural arena. With immigration issues being at the forefront of our country, this program has been given some This controversial program took place from 1942 to 1964 to offset the labor shortages created due to World War II within the Unites States. It was to be only temporary, but it lasted a lot longer than anticipated. highlights in the news today, but in my opinion, not enough.

This controversial program took place from 1942 to 1964 to offset the labor shortages within the United States created due to World War II. It was to be only temporary, but it lasted a lot longer than anticipated.

Although there are stories and papers written about this program and its impact on both countries not enough is written about the actual struggles and lives that this guest worker program changed for millions of Mexicans that came to work on our soil.

In many cases families were left behind. Some never reconnected again due to various factors; death, distance, reestablishment of new families in another country, etc. In other cases, many of the Bracero workers were abused by farmers who took advantage of the situation. Often times these workers were not given correct wages or decent housing.

bracero2The Bracero program, just by the very nature of its structure, created many of these men to be isolated from not only their families, but also from people within the United States as they were housed in segregated communities. For many of the men coming over it created destruction to their own sense of being and who they were, not to mention the millions of children, families, and wives that were left behind to struggle on their own. It impacted so many lives that we will never truly know its exact force; negative or positive.

So was this program good or bad? Was it useful to Americans or Mexicans? Shall we instill another Bracero agricultural program today? The verdict is still out on this controversial course of action and many arguments still continue.

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