Bracero program displays mistreatment of Mexicans, intense labor

Gabriel Nair, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, September 22, Dr. Gamboa from the University of Washington spoke about not only the Bracero Program from World War II, but also the mistreatment of Mexicans during World War I and World War II and their affects.

This talk is the first of many focused on diversity as well as in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Dr. Gamboa began his talk by talking about how railroads were quintessential throughout the course of World War I and World War II.

However, because the men of the United States are in Europe fighting, they need a new labor force to operate the railroads.

The railroads are essential due to the fact that it is through the railroads that everything is moved.

An entire generation of Mexicans were sent to the United States, however the Mexican had already been integrated into the railroad system before World War I began.

In fact, many Mexicans were moved from their home to a new home that was located near their work place.

The pacific railroad company paid for everything that they needed. But despite this, when the men fighting in the war came back, and the Great Depression hit the United States, every Mexican was sent back to Mexico and fired from their jobs so that White men could take their jobs.

The Bracero Program was initiated during World War II when the United States again needed more of a labor force.

Mexico and the United States went into talks and agreed to three stipulations for the contract. First, the movement of labor would be done by the United States

Second, the contact would specify the work conditions, and third, there would be no discrimination.

However, to all the workers, that seemed to be highly unlikely, as they had been forced out of their jobs as soon as the White men had come back from the war.

This program did not end well. As time went on, the conditions that the Mexicans were working in started deteriorating.

The food that they received got so bad that the Mexicans actually just created a problem at one of the train stations during business hours and left without fixing it.

Their proposal was for better food before they started working again. This prompted the United States to hire Mexican-Chinese to cook for the Mexicans, however, at the end of the program, the Mexicans were still ejected back to Mexico.