Due to labor shortages during WWII, the U.S. government started the Bracero Program in 1942 (Bracero means “one who works with their arms”). The program imported temporary laborers from Mexico to work in the fields and on railroads. The program was also seen as a complement to efforts against undocumented workers, or programs of deportation (such as Operation Wetback). Enforcement of regulations on Bracero wages, housing and food charges, was negligible. The Bracero Program continued informally and ended in 1964 due to these abuses. 

IMAGE 1: Migrant laborer. Washington County Museum’s Exhibit https://www.oregonlive.com/hillsboro/2012/11/washington_county_museum_retri.html

IMAGE 2: Bracero worker ID card for Jose Solano Ramirez, who entered the United States for work in 1961. Smithsonian Institution https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5205763


  • https://cis.org/Report/History-Guestworker-Programs
  • https://www.labor.ucla.edu/what-we-do/research-tools/the-bracero-program/
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