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Migrations Home

Interactive University


A Collection of Views on Mexican Immigration
to the United States

The Bracero Program, Then and Now

What problems arose with the Bracero Program?

How Texas Treated the Braceros” is a primary source document from 1944 that describes the way migrant workers were treated in Texas.

In this article Fast Track to the Past arguing against a new Bracero Program, David Bacon describes many of the abuses that occurred during the original program.

The Story of a Bracero” includes the first person narrative of Rigoberto Garcia Perez who describes his experiences in the Bracero Program.

Listen to elderly Mexicans who participated in the Bracero Program explain how the Mexican government swindled them out of money that was deducted from their wages in the NPR segment Bracero Program.

The article “Insult to Injury – Abuses of the Bracero Program Continue 35 Years Later” examines the problem of missing wages owed to former Bracero workers.

What are the arguments for creating a new "guest worker program"?

Guest Workers: A Way to Solve the New Labor Shortage” presents the arguments for and against a new Bracero Program.

In “Benefits of a Guest-Worker Program,” Sen. Phil Gramm presents his case for expanding the program.

Mexican States Start Their Own Guest Worker Programs” describes small-scale guest worker programs that have already been put in place.

A Need for Compromise: Guestworker Programs Will Benefit Mexican Immigrants” presents a case for a new guest worker program.


What are the arguments against a new guest worker program?

A New Bracero Program for the 21st Century” gives background on the old program as well as information about problems with the new proposals. The use of the INS to aid in union-busting is described.

Other View: Why Import Farm Workers When We Have Too Many?” written by Marc Grossman, former aide to Cesar Chavez, argues that the new guest worker program is designed to suppress wages.

Back to the Future: Fox’s Bracero Program Is (Bad) Déjà vu All Over Again” This article from the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform argues against a new Bracero program from the perspective that it encourages illegal permanent settlement of workers who come on temporary permits.

Guest Workers or Legal Slaves” is an opinion piece arguing against the reinstatement of a guest worker program.

The article “On the Braceros Backs: Agriculture Can Flourish Without Influx of Mexicans” provides data on comparative wages of agricultural workers now and in the 1960’s and 1970’s as part of an argument against implementing a new guest worker program.

In the article “Fast Track to the Past” arguing against a new Bracero Program, David Bacon describes many of the abuses that occurred during the original program.



Research Questions

What factors cause people to emigrate from Mexico to the United States?

What is the history of Mexican immigration to the United States?

How has emigration to the United States affected the political climate in Mexico?

How has immigration from Mexico changed politics in California?

What was the Bracero Program? How did it intend to benefit immigrant workers? How did it intend to benefit growers? What problems arose?

Should a new Bracero Program be initiated? What are the arguments for and against a new “guest worker program”?

What are conditions like for immigrant workers in California’s fields?

How does the United States benefit from immigration? What are its costs?

What would a fair U.S. immigration policy look like? What proposals have been put forward?