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The Bracero Program

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The Bracero Program

War creates all kinds of hardships on everyone involved whether it is overseas on the front line or right in our own backyard. During World War II one hardship faced in the United States was the lack of laborers to work the land and other taxing jobs here in the United States. The solution, bring migrant workers from Mexico to complete the work; otherwise known as the Bracero Program. What is the American and Mexican history leading up to the Bracero program? Were these workers paid fair, were they treated fair, and did they benefit in the long term?

The United States has a long history of employing laborers from other countries. In 1850, Before Mexicans were prevalent; Chinese workers were hired in California to tend the land. After the Chinese Exclusion Act the Japanese workers were hired (Espinosa). Amid 1850 and 1890 the growth of Mexican immigrants began to increase and Mexican laborers were present in the agricultural industry, mining industry, and railroad (Espinsoa). The United States continued to utilize legal migrant workers for many years following and to this day there are laws allowing for legal migrant workers through the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act or MSPA (United States Department of Labor).

As mentioned previously war time creates hardships and sometimes those hardships are difficult to recover from. The outcome of the Mexican Revolution included millions of peasants being killed. Marentes describes peasants as hard-working, highly skilled agricultural labors. With the loss of so many peasants the harvest became scarce and many were lacking work. The Mexican government was unable to replenish resources and improve the way of life in Mexico causing ...

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...Mexico. What happened in the end was that the United States agricultural industry flourished and the land became rich soil under the hard work of the Bracero’s, and Mexicans went home with just about as little as they had to start. Few were able to thrive but many remained poor and endured many hardships. In fact many people consider the Bracero legal slavery. They were discriminated against by many, were not provided with the proper hygienic facilities, and yet they continued to give it their all in fear that they would be sent home. Given that no one really knows what has happened to those three billion dollars, the Mexican government (not the people) may have very well benefited. The Bracero Program benefited the United States long term, possibly the Mexican Government had monetary benefits long term; the Bracero’s, sadly, saw little long term benefits.
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