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Crops of Immigration Reform

literal translation of the word into English is a descriptive designation of someone who works with his or her arms. In the United States, the word was used to describe a Mexican citizen who was permitted by law to work in this country as an agricultural field hand.

From July 1951 through December 1964, the Bracero Program was institutionalized in government policy in the United States. During this period Mexican agricultural workers entered the United States to work on American farms under the provisions of Public Law 78.4 Throughout its life, the Bracero Program was characterized both by intense support and intense opposition.

The economic impacts of the Bracero Program were held by its critics to be wide spread. It was said that the use of braceros in American fields depressed wage levelsparticularly in agriculture, of course, but also across the board.5 Critics contended further that the use of braceros in American agriculture also caused increased unemployment among domestic workersagain, particularly in agriculture, but also across the board.6 Other critics of the Bracero Program contended that the Mexican workers were more often than not denied basic rights; that the concept of equality suffered because of the program.7

4K. S. Koziara, "Collective Bargaining on the Farm," Monthly Labor Review, 91 (June 1968): 39.

5M. Erenburg, "Obreros Unidos in Wisconsin," Monthly Labor Review


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