Bracero Program Pros And Cons

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Adding to the difficulties faced by braceros who attempted to engage in the program and come to work in the U.S. legally, there was the problem of illegal immigration and the fact that the INS, at least tacitly, encouraged Mexicans to illegally cross the border into the U.S. Illegal workers were often “legalized” if they happened to be detained by the border patrol, especially if it was during a peak season for American farmers. (cite, 140) At some points during the program, depending on the state in question, the number of illegal workers actually outnumbered legal braceros. (cite, 141) This certainly served to make the plight of the braceros an even more unsavory one. As Mexicans flooded across the border in ever-increasing numbers, the advantage…show more content…
and Mexico, due to its “wartime status.” However, this came to an end in 1947, when individual American farmers took control of the program. Workers no longer enjoyed the relative protection of the government under the program. Abuses became rampant as employers took full advantage of their newly-gained control, and conditions for braceros deteriorated rapidly. With the employers in control of wages, living and working conditions, braceros faced an untenable situation indeed. They were regularly paid far less than the wages they were guaranteed, and subjected to the abuses of the employer-favored piece meal system of payment. (cite, 147) Additionally, braceros were often forced to pay for their room and board, often at exorbitant prices. This made it virtually impossible for them to save any money. (cite from film “Harvest of Loneliness”, go into depth) Employers often intimidated the braceros, and sometimes even resorted to violent coercion as a means of getting what they wanted. Because of this terrible treatment, many braceros left their jobs and attempted to find new ones with different American employers. However, they were often unable to do this without the proper documentation, and were either deported to Mexico, or forced to work for a different employer but under the same dismal conditions. (cite, 151) After years of continually-worsening conditions, the Mexican government finally stepped in and resumed an active role in protecting the rights of the braceros. In 1951, Public Law 78 was passed by the U.S. Congress, and the governments of the U.S. and Mexico agreed to re-examine the rules and regulations of the Bracero Program. They seemed committed to improving conditions for the braceros. However, though it looked good in theory, Public Law 78 held no penalties for employers who hired undocumented workers. Because of this, many American farmers were
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