By Hipolito Munoz, Managing Editor/Publisher
My father, like many Mexicans in the 50’s, came to the US as a “Bracero” at a time that the US needed people in the fields, when they were done with him, he was “encouraged” to go back home. After trying to make it in his home town, it just became too difficult to provide for his family, so he decided to head back to “El Norte.”
Just as an aside, the Bracero Program lasted from 1942 to 1964, here some insight.
Although this program was riddled with injustices, my father feels that there was a real possibility of families starving because of the lack of work and the injustices that were developing in Mexico even though the Mexican Revolution had been fought to benefit the poor. Latin America and especially Mexico has been a destination for hope, this has certainly been part of the perception created by the US. This has not changed, and with the developing inequity through out the world, people still view the US as a place of hope.
The world has changed, it has become more hostile, and the US population has become more disconnected and resentful of folks that they feel would take opportunities from them. The reason the Bracero Program ended was because it was blamed for reducing the wages of US citizens. Unfortunately, once the “protections” the program included were removed, it allowed more injustices to be perpetrated to both those undocumented looking for opportunity to feed their family and those that were fighting for better wages. Sadly, my father tells me stories of times when he was hurting from hunger because he got fired from a job before he got paid, his response, “ni modo, asi eran la cosas,” (oh well, that is just how things were) he usually laughs sadly, he still feels the pain of abuse. Take a look at this important documentary.
This is also a video put out during the Bracero times. Although at some times it feels like propaganda, there is some very good information to learn. This is an example of what some folks wanted the program to be like, not what it ended up being, an opportunity for some to make money regardless of what happened to the workers and their families.
My father is now a United States citizen and very proud of his new home. His new pang of sadness is what he sees as the injustice of the Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees. His question, why are more Mexicans (he includes Mexican-Americans) not angry about how these folks are being treated? Indeed, why?