Essays On The Bracero Program In California

About the images

These images show the first waves of Mexican workers traveling to California as part of the Bracero Program (1942-1964). They were headed for California’s fields to replace agricultural workers who had joined the armed services.


The government-sponsored Bracero Program was the temporary importation of workers from Mexico to aid the American agricultural economy. This was an important historical event that many Americans are unaware of today. A bracero (from brazo, the Spanish word for arm) was a Mexican worker allowed entry into the United States for a limited time, usually to work on a farm. In 1942, facing an extreme shortage of farm labor workers due to the war, Congress enacted the Emergency Labor Program. It approved the temporary immigration of thousands of Mexican workers to replace the American men who were in the armed services. During the 22 years of the Bracero Program, more than 4 million Mexican workers left their families behind and came to work in the fields of California. This migration had an enormous and lasting impact on the economy and demographics of California.

The photograph "Battle for Work" shows hundreds of Mexican workers waiting at the border to be selected for the Bracero Program. The contrast between Mexico and the United States at this time is shown in the photograph of the dusty streets of Mexicali in "Street Scene of Mexicans Awaiting Legal Employment in the United States" and "View from Mexicali Toward the United States." Many Mexican workers were eager to be selected for the Bracero Program. "Battle for Work" shows hundreds of Mexican workers massed at the border, hoping to be chosen.

Some of the images in this group show the arrival of the first braceros by train. Some of these photographs were taken by photographer Dorothea Lange as part of a government assignment to document this event.

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The Bracero Program Essay

1167 Words5 Pages

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…show more content…

Under the Bracero Program Mexicans were contracted to United State farmers to tend the land (Espinosa). These Mexicans are known as Braceros. In order to be legal, Bracero’s had to obtain permits and enter the United States through recruitment centers where they had to be deemed physically capable of the hard labor work they were signing up for. One poplar recruitment center was Ciudad Juarez, across the border of El Paso, Texas (Espinosa). Barcero’s were under contracts with the employer Farm Security Administration of the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America. Farm Security Administration of the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America could enter into contracts with farm owners known as sub employers (Marentes). The contracts were to be written in Spanish but often times they were written in English and the Bracero’s would sign without comprehending what the contract mandated. Many events were the cause for the termination of the Bracero Program. A prevalent event to the termination of the program was the increased popularity of the cotton harvester. The cotton harvester was actually patented in 1850 by Samuel S. Rembert and Jedediah Prescot. It was not manufactured however until 1949 and by 1960 cotton harvesters were utilized more than laborers themselves (Holley). Other

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