Title

Sweet Little Lies: A Look at the Bracero Program in US Labor History and its Remnants

Lead Author Major

English & Religious Studies

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Jeffrey Hole

Faculty Mentor Department

English

Abstract/Artist Statement

I will examine the Bracero Program, an influential campaign initiated by the U.S. in 1942 to draw international workers, particularly from Mexico, to the U.S. as temporary laborers. Historically, the United States has lured Latin Americans to perform jobs other ‘Americans’ would not do. Thereafter, they are treated as easily disposable labor, arguably ‘legalized slavery.” The Mexican government had serious reservations and was hesitant to export a large number of its nationals due to previous unfair treatment and exploitation of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the United States. Keeping with the conditions of their Good Neighbor Policy, the United States gracefully agreed to Mexico’s restrictions and promised to ensure the fair treatment of the workers and fair wages. However, they failed to keep their promises and guarantees. Both the United States government and the Mexican government used various tactics in order to ensure numerous Mexican nationals would pour into the farms and railroads of the U.S. to work through the Bracero Program since both nations would benefit from their labor. I will also examine the reality the braceros experienced once in the U.S., meaning how both the U.S. and Mexican governments failed to uphold the promises and guarantees the Bracero Program assured. Finally, I will highlight some of the voices that sprang from the remnants of this program, including my father’s. These voices help understand the impact of the Bracero Program from the perspective of the braceros themselves. Finally, I will explore the reasons why these laborers remain in the U.S. and continue to risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones for a chance at their “American Dream.”

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

26-4-2014 9:00 AM

End Date

26-4-2014 12:00 PM

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Apr 26th, 9:00 AM Apr 26th, 12:00 PM

Sweet Little Lies: A Look at the Bracero Program in US Labor History and its Remnants

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

I will examine the Bracero Program, an influential campaign initiated by the U.S. in 1942 to draw international workers, particularly from Mexico, to the U.S. as temporary laborers. Historically, the United States has lured Latin Americans to perform jobs other ‘Americans’ would not do. Thereafter, they are treated as easily disposable labor, arguably ‘legalized slavery.” The Mexican government had serious reservations and was hesitant to export a large number of its nationals due to previous unfair treatment and exploitation of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the United States. Keeping with the conditions of their Good Neighbor Policy, the United States gracefully agreed to Mexico’s restrictions and promised to ensure the fair treatment of the workers and fair wages. However, they failed to keep their promises and guarantees. Both the United States government and the Mexican government used various tactics in order to ensure numerous Mexican nationals would pour into the farms and railroads of the U.S. to work through the Bracero Program since both nations would benefit from their labor. I will also examine the reality the braceros experienced once in the U.S., meaning how both the U.S. and Mexican governments failed to uphold the promises and guarantees the Bracero Program assured. Finally, I will highlight some of the voices that sprang from the remnants of this program, including my father’s. These voices help understand the impact of the Bracero Program from the perspective of the braceros themselves. Finally, I will explore the reasons why these laborers remain in the U.S. and continue to risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones for a chance at their “American Dream.”