- Bracero Program
The Bracero Program, (from the Spanish word "brazo", meaning arm), was a temporary contract labor program initiated by an August 1942 exchange of diplomatic notes between the
United Statesand Mexico.
The program was initially prompted by a demand for manual labor during
World War II, and begun with the U.S. government bringing in a few hundred experienced Mexicanagricultural laborers to harvest sugar beets in the Stockton, Californiaarea. The program soon spread to cover most of the United Statesand provided workers for the agriculture labor market. As an important corollary, the railroadbracero program was independently negotiated to supply U.S. railroads initially with unskilled workers for track maintenance but eventually to cover other unskilled and skilled labor. By 1945, the quota for the agricultural program was more than 50,000 braceros to be employed in U.S. agriculture at any one time, and for the railroad program 75,000.
The railroad program ended promptly with the conclusion of World War II, in 1945, but the agricultural program under various forms survived until 1964, when the two governments ended it as a response to harsh criticisms and reports of human rights abuses.
The workers who participated in the Bracero Program have generated significant local and international struggles challenging the US government and Mexican government to identify and return deductions taken from their pay, from 1942 to 1948, for savings accounts which they were legally guaranteed to receive upon their return to Mexico at the conclusion of their contracts. Many never received their savings.
Lawsuits presented in federal courts in California, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, highlighted the substandard conditions and documented the ultimate destiny of the savings accounts deductions, but the suit was thrown out because the Mexican banks in question never operated in the United States.
Even though the United States has made extensive use of Mexican labor in its agricultural sector since the early 1900s, the Bracero Program changed the face of immigration policy in the United States. The Bracero Program was a
guest worker programthat ran between the years of 1942 and 1964. Over the twenty-two year period, The Mexican Farm Labor Program, informally known as the Bracero Program, sponsored some 4.5 million border crossings of guest workers from Mexico (some among these representing repeat visits by returned "braceros"). Historian David Gutierrezargues that no other American immigration policy had more of an effect on the ethnic Mexican community than the Bracero Program, that the Bracero Program made immigration a political issue.
The end of the Bracero program in 1964 was quickly followed by the formation of the
United Farm Workers, and the subsequent transformation of American migrant labor under the activist leadership of César Chávez, a prominent critic of the bracero program. Dolores Huertawas also an activist leader and co-founder of the United Farm Workers. According to Manuel Garcia y Griego, a political scientist and author of "The Importation of Mexican Contract Laborers to the United States 1942-1964", [Manuel García y Griego, “The Importation of Mexican Contract Laborers to the United States, 1942-1964,” in David G. Gutiérrez, ed. "Between Two Worlds: Mexican Immigrants in the United States" (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources,1996), 45-85] the Contract-Labor Program
“left an important legacy for the economies, migration patterns, and politics of the United States and Mexico.”Griego’s article discusses the profound and persuasive bargaining position of both countries, arguing that the Mexican government lost all real bargaining power after 1950.
“Mexico lacked either the political will or the policy instruments to withhold the labor of its workers on whose behalf it was negotiating, and its cooperation with the United States in this and other issue areas were no longer vital.”It was evident at this point that the United States wielded the power. This guest worker program continued until 1964 when the U.S. deemed it no longer vital for American production and industry.
Today, the United States is still an attractive destination for immigrants, both legal and illegal, from all over the world, offering economic opportunity and social mobility. The United States continues to grant entrance to those immigrants it deems useful and non-threatening, although not all immigrants, such as those admitted due to family reunification, have demonstrated their potential usefulness.
Ernesto Galarza also wrote a book titled "Merchants of Labor" about this issue of contract workers.
Beginning as a result of labor shortages in 1942, the “Bracero” Program bolstered agricultural prosperity until 1964 largely at the expense of Mexican laborers. Initially, employers in agricultural sectors lobbied for a steady and inexpensive supply of laborers (ideally from Mexico). Consequently, the United States, in agreement with the Mexican government, proposed a program for the temporary or seasonal labor of Mexican Nationals under contracts. Considering poverty and low wages for farm workers in Mexico, the United States quickly acquired a surplus of highly inexpensive labor. Respectively, the majority of immigration into the United States was strictly under contract of labor; however, several factors also contributed to the beginning of mass undocumented migration into the United States.
Phil Ochs's song, "Bracero", focuses on the exploitation of the Mexican workers in the program.
Guest worker program
:2. Handbook of Texas Online [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/BB/omb1_print.html]
* [http://www.farmworkers.org/benglish.html The Bracero Project]
* [http://are.berkeley.edu/APMP/pubs/agworkvisa/braceroagreemt42.html The 1942 Bracero Agreement (revised April, 1946)]
* [http://www.kvie.org/programs/kvie/braceros/default.htm Los Braceros: Strong Arms to Aid the USA - Public Television Program]
* [http://braceroarchive.org/ Bracero History Archive]
* [http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/calheritage/latinos/braceros.html The Bracero Program: Legal Temporary Farmworkers from Mexico, 1942-1964]
* [http://digitalcollections.library.oregonstate.edu/cdm4/client/bracero/ Braceros in Oregon Photograph Collection]
* [http://apmp.berkeley.edu/APMP/pubs/agworkvisa/transferproved111799.html Braceros '10% Savings' program documented through archives of Wells Fargo bank]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Programa Bracero — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para la definición referente a la persona encargada de llevar sobre hombros una imagen durante una procesión, véase: Bracero Los primeros Braceros arribaron a Los Angeles por tren en 1942. La imagen mostrada… … Wikipedia Español
Guest worker program — The Guest worker program is a program that has been proposed many times in the past and now also by U.S. President George W. Bush [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040107 3.html The White House. President Bush Proposes New… … Wikipedia
Mexican migration — Contents 1 Definition 2 Causes and Origins 3 Effects of Governmental Policies on Mexican Immigration 3.1 Restrictive Regulations … Wikipedia
Coyotaje — is a colloquial Mexican Spanish term referring to the practice of people smuggling across the U.S. Mexico border. Smuggling should not be misinterpreted to mean human trafficking. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) define smuggling … Wikipedia
Mixtec transnational migration — Mixtec transnational migration, mainly to the United States has continued for over three generations. Nevertheless, the Mixtec have remained an autonomous community; indeed, they remain one of the last autonomous Mesoamerican indigenous groups.… … Wikipedia
Maquiladora — A maquila in Mexico A maquiladora (Spanish pronunciation: [makilaˈðoɾa]) or maquila (IPA: [maˈkila]) is a concept often referred to as an operation that involves manufacturing in a country that is not the client s and as such has an… … Wikipedia
Chain migration — has multiple meanings. It refers to the social process by which immigrants from a particular town follow others from that town to a particular city or neighborhood, whether in an immigrant receiving country or in a new, usually urban, location in … Wikipedia
Benjamin Aaron — (September 2 1915 August 25 2007) was an American attorney, labor law scholar and civil servant. He is known for his work as an arbitrator and mediator, and for helping to advance the development of the field of comparative labor law in the… … Wikipedia
César Chávez — This article is about the civil rights activist. For the boxer, see Julio César Chávez. For the ship, see USNS Cesar Chavez (T AKE 14). César Chávez … Wikipedia
Introduction — It is hard to think of two more significant decades in U.S. history than the 1930s and 1940s. During these 20 years, the United States suffered the worst ever economic collapse during the Great Depression; underwent major political reform… … Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era