Analysis: The Bracero Program

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Some people may say that “America is the land of opportunity”. Especially the Mexicans in the 1940s. America seemed to guarantee economic opportunity for them when their country could not. As described in the Weekly Reader’s article, “The Bracero Program”, during World War II the United States needed farmworkers to harvest crops and feed the nation since men were fighting in Europe and many women working in the industry. At the same time, the unemployment rate and crop failures were increasing in Mexico. The two countries signed the Mexican Farmer Labor Program Agreement (also known as the Bracero Program), permitting Mexicans to legally enter the U.S. during harvest seasons. Although the agreement stated that, “braceros were to receive labor contracts that ensured a minimum wage and decent working conditions” (para. 4). However, many contracts were not in the bracero’s native Spanish, but in English, therefore they did not know what there were signing into. The exploitation of farm workers did not end there. Farmworkers were exploited in various ways by their employers or the growers. The United Farm Workers became large scale fighters for justice using various tactics, however, the agriculture occupation today still remains dangerous for many of the workers. …show more content…
The consequences of working in the fields were the development of back problems, exposure to poisonous pesticides, and a short life expectancy. Also, with a low wage of two dollars and the denial of education, families were trap in a continuous cycle of poverty, according to the PBS documentary, “The Struggle in the Fields”. In addition, the documentary demonstrates how famers did not receive respect for their hard work nor were they considered citizens of the United States. Encyclopedia.com states that, the poor treatment can be traced to racial discrimination and the view migrant workers as a drain on social services, although most do not use these services. Yet the demand for low skilled labor has legislators ready to comply. As the website mentions, despite the laws outlawing child labor, the children of migrant workers work twelve hours a day constantly exposed to pesticides and reporting headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting (para. 6). Conor Casey’s article, "Symbolism and History of the Movement," describes the injustice farmers faced in the camps. For example, growers rent housing at an overpriced amount; no running water, electricity, heat, nor indoor toilets were supplied to them. The lack of basic needs and proper sanitation makes workers vulnerable to diseases. In addition, the workers fall into a cycle of debt to these growers because most migrates were forced to buy food from

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