Braceros in the U.S.

May 23, 2018

Between 1942 and 1966, the Bracero Program brought 4.6 million Mexican migrant workers to the United States including to jobs in Iowa. They were working largely in agricultural jobs.

Brian Behnken is an associate professor of history and the U.S. Latino studies program at Iowa State University. He explains the history of the program, how it was implemented, and what was required of workers and employers.

The program began during World War Two.

"Men had gone off to fight...and there was a sense that there simply weren't going to be enough people to tend the fields, and so let's figure out a way to bring more workers in, legally, through organized channel to do that farm work," Behnken says.

Also joining the program is Melissa Garcia, State Monitor Advocate and Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers Program Coordinator at Iowa Workforce Development. She compares the Bracero Program to the current-day H2A visa program.