(describing how the Braceros
had to accept painfully low wages and
The 1964 termination of the bracero
program, which recruited Mexican guest workers to work on American farms, had "little measurable effect on the labor market for domestic farm workers." That is the conclusion of Immigration Restrictions as Active Labor Market Policy: Evidence from the Mexican Bracero
Exclusion (NBER Working Paper No.
For example, while the tomato picking business in California didn't miss the braceros
and was able to adapt within a year by introducing mechanized harvesters for production, other crops such as asparagus and fresh strawberries that didn't have a technological solution couldn't cope and saw a decline in production.
The 'peculiarity of the process of contracting labour', writes a Spanish planter in the 1940s, 'is the age-old custom of giving advances to the braceros
the moment a contract is made'.
Program was enacted in 1942 in no small part because large numbers of the male labor force were engaged in the military, and a large part of those left behind were engaged in industrial support of the military.
Although originally devised to meet World War II shortages, the Bracero
Program continued until 1964 under a variety of legislative authorities, ultimately employing 5 million Mexican laborers.
Entre 1955 y 1960 la migracion anual de braceros
fluctuo entre 400,000 y 450,000 trabajadores.
Bardacke provides a colorful portrayal of how the braceros
-- seasonal Mexican laborers -- and the people who hired them, used dirty, or outright unlawful, tricks to evade legal guarantees ''that the Bracero
program [a U.S.-sponsored way to bring workers across the border for seasonal labor] would not 'adversely affect' domestic labor and decreed that braceros
could not be contracted to a job if there was enough domestic labor to do it.''
Deborah Cohen, Braceros
: Migrant Citizens and Transnational Subjects in the Postwar United States and Mexico (Charlotte: University of North Carolina 2011)