The Braceros Program

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Critical Commentary/Analysis on how Immigrants and Migrants were Treated by the Ranchers and other Companies that Supported the Bracero Program

The United States was behind the creation of the Bracero Program. The sole purpose of the program was to provide enough supply of workers who would assist in the production and harvesting of agricultural commodities. There was a significant turnout of Mexican workers with over 4.5 million Mexicans signing contracts to work in an environment that proved to be challenging physically and had salaries that were minimal. In addition to providing agricultural labour, the workers were also giving jobs in railroads. The migrants would come to the United States separately and repeatedly (Calavita 76). They would work before returning to Mexico and continue their lives with agricultural knowledge. Despite the fact that majority of the immigrants went back to Mexico, most of them decided to immigrate to the United States permanently. This is what led to the better understanding the importance of the program in today’s heated discussion concerning immigration.

Despite providing the needed labour, the Braceros faced a lot of challenges in the hands of their employees. There were reports of discrimination in Texas. Moreover, the Bracero agreement made stipulations in regard to the health of the workers, the housing they would be given, the food, wages they would receive, and working hours (Rosas 115). However, the U.S. government and the growers failed to honour this agreement. The requirement that was against the discrimination against Mexican was also disregarded. Discrimination in Texas was at alarming level making the Mexican government intervene by forbidding its nationals from working in fields in Texas.

Racism was also another issue that came with the Braceros program. The Braceros had to endure all kind of abuses from racist extremities and the average Americans.  Some of the restaurants prohibited Mexicans from getting meals. For the case where the Mexicans were allowed to enter the restaurant, they were forced to have their meals at the back of the kitchen. In the theatres, Mexicans where segregated and only allowed to sit in the upper section, which was designated for the African Americans.

In addition, the Americans resented the Braceros. When the American firm workers protested over poor wages, the farm owners opted to import more Braceros who worked with no complaints. Those imported were also illegal aliens that were popularly known as wetbacks. Many firm owners preferred the wetbacks since they were more manageable and since they were illegal they did not have any right.

Much worse was the abuse that came with the program. As part of the program, the Braceros agreed that 10% of their wages be deposited to a fund that was managed by the Mexican government (Rosenblum 142). The saddening part is that most of the Braceros failed to receive their compensations and the funds they had saved with their government could not be traced leaving them helpless. This can be attributed to the fact that most Braceros are currently living in dire poverty having been abandoned by the government.


Works Cited

Calavita, Kitty. Inside the State: The Bracero Program, Immigration, and the I.n.s. Quid Pro, 2010.

Rosas, Ana E. “Bracero Guest Worker Program.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, 2016.

Rosenblum, Marc R. “The intermestic politics of immigration policy: Lessons from the Bracero Program.” Political Power and Social Theory, pp. 139-182.

November 13, 2023

Social Issues World


Immigration Americas

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