History of the Braceros

Today there are 3 million migrant farm workers in the United States and of this 3 million, 72% of those workers are Hispanic.  The bracero program, which is named for the Spanish term bracero meaning "manual laborer”, was a series of laws and agreements initiated in 1942 as an exchange of diplomatic notes between the US and Mexico for the importation of temporary contract laborers from Mexico to the United States.
 
The bracero program was initially prompted by a demand for manual labor during World War II and began with the U.S. government bringing in a few hundred experienced Mexican agricultural laborers to harvest sugar beets in the Stockton, CA area. The program soon spread to cover most of the United States and provided workers for the agricultural labor market. By 1945, the quota for the agricultural program was more than 75,000 braceros working in the U.S. railroad system and 50,000 braceros working in U.S. agriculture at any one time.
 
At the demand of U.S. growers, who claimed ongoing labor shortages, the program was extended under a number of acts of congress until 1948. Between 1948 and 1951, the importation of Mexican agricultural laborers continued under administrative agreements between growers and the Mexican Government. So these migrant workers I am talking about today are here in the United States legally. Although they may be called unskilled laborers, their tasks are difficult and working in the field requires immense attention to detail, precision, and efficiency.