I always wondered how my family came to California, but never got the opportunity to research their journey until now. From simply interviewing my father and grandfather, I learned about the challenges my family faced when they traveled to California. It was a story that made me realize how fortunate I am today to have the opportunity of acquiring an education and the chance to write this essay. My family’s migration began with my grandfather migrating to California in 1949 under the Bracero program. He was a native from the Mixteca region of Tecomaxtlahuaca, Oaxaca and at the age of twenty-seven he decided his best chance at having a financial stability would be to come to California as a temporary contract laborer. In most cases like Ronald Takaki explains, “ most of the immigrants were from the agricultural labor class, and were predominantly young between the ages of fifteen and forty-four” (295). The journey coming to United States, as a Bracero worker was an arduous excursion because the migrant workers would be transported in small groups to California, where they went through rigorous examinations without no pay and after a week either selected to be shipped to work in the fields or sent back home. During the1940’s the Bracero Program allowed the importation of provisional agricultural contract workers from Mexico to the United States under a series of laws commissioned in 1942.
Although, it was a short-term migration to United States most workers decided to stay and live in California after their contracts were over because of better job opportunities they encountered like Takaki describes, “farm work was seasonal and migratory, with laborers following the crop...
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...as Press, 2004.
Cornelius, Wayne A. Migration from the Mexican Mixteca: A Transnational Community in Oaxaca and California. San Diego, Calif: Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California, San Diego, 2009.
Cosson, M J, and Margaret Sanfilippo. Having It All: Coming to America from Mexico 1920. Logan, Iowa: Perfection Learning, 2001. Internet resource.
Takaki, Ronald T. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1993.
Resau, Laura. What the Moon Saw: A Novel. New York: Delacorte Press, 2006.
Rodriguez, Luis J. América Is Her Name. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 1998.
Stuart, James, and Michael Kearney. Causes and Effects of Agricultural Labor Migration from the Mixteca of Oaxaca to California. La Jolla, Calif: Program in U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego, 1981.
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