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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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The Bracero Program
Program #
Politics, Society

Richard Goodman
Richard Goodman
Jan 28, 1977

The Bracero Program

Host Richard Goodman discusses the Bracero Program and its effects on Mexican Americans. Facing a growing labor shortage during World War II, the U.S. government established the Bracero Program, which permitted a designated number of Mexicans to enter the U.S. to work for a certain period of time. The Mexican government agreed to the program, provided that the United States adhere to certain guidelines that would protect the workers from discrimination and mistreatment. From 1942 to 1947, over 200,000 workers entered into the United States, many through screening and recruiting centers the Mexican government set up throughout Mexico. Under the direction of the War Food Administration, the program often failed to live up to its provisions, including the wage guarantees the Mexican government had demanded.

At the end of World War II, the Department of Labor took over the administration of the program and negotiated its continuation. In doing so, the U.S. government acted as a labor contractor for the growers, and Mexican workers continued entering into the United States without the rights guaranteed to other immigrants and citizens. Growers often used the braceros to break strikes, depress wages and block organizing. Chicanos opposed the program because of the exploitation it engendered and worked to organize the farm workers. Under growing pressure from the AFL-CIO, civil rights organizations and the general public, Congress ended the program in 1963.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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