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Bracero program

The Bracero Program (from the Spanish term bracero, meaning "manual laborer" or "one who works using his arms") was a series of laws and diplomatic agreements, initiated on August 4, 1942, when the United States signed the Mexican Farm Labor Agreement with Mexico. The agreement guaranteed decent living conditions (sanitation, adequate shelter and food) and a minimum wage of 30 cents an hour; it also allowed the importation of contract laborers from Guam as a temporary measure during the early phases of World War II. The agreement was extended with the Migrant Labor Agreement of 1951, enacted as an amendment to the Agricultural Act of 1949 (Public Law 78) by Congress, which set the official parameters for the Bracero Program until its termination in 1964.

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The Bracero Program

A large influx of Mexican immigrants came to the United States during WWII to replace the man labor in agriculture while American farmers and workers went to war. The Bracero program initiated the process of transfering Mexican farmers into hiring hands to work in the United States agricultural fields. Many Mexicans came for the economic opportunity and start of a new life. With their hopes and goals came the reality of exploitation through low wages and racial discrimination. Still, they are a key part of the Mexican and American culture

Contributed by Grace Li-Haug

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