Imagine leaving your home and everything that’s familiar. And, saying goodbye to family and friends to work in the fields, on farms, and on the railroad in a country other than your own. That is what 4 to 5 million Mexican men did between 1942 and 1964, under the Braceros Treaty. “Los Braceros: Strong Arms to Aid the U.S.A.” traces the story of the men who left their homeland to chase a dream across the border and how they have changed the face of California. It is a touching and at times emotional portrait of how these men forged a better life for themselves and for their families.
“Los Braceros” examines the United States’ 1942 entrance into World War II, which sent soldiers overseas, flooded women into the workforce, and resulted in an immense shortage of labor, especially in the agricultural sector. The United States turned to the south to alleviate its need for field hands. The creation of the Bracero Program in 1942 under The Bracero Treaty opened the floodgates for legal immigration of Mexican laborers. Their story is told through touching accounts captured during interviews with Braceros and their families and historian accounts accompanied by archival photography and film footage, including the Southwest/Rio Vista Processing Center.
The Braceros program officially ended in 1964, in part because of accusations that it undermined wages for U.S. citizens. In the 42 years of its existence, more than four and a half million contracts were drawn up for Mexican men. While some returned home to Mexico, many more stayed in the United States, becoming permanent legal residents and productive citizens of their newly adopted country.
Now senior citizens, the Braceros are in many ways the foundation of today’s lively Latino community and many of the values, beliefs, and experiences that form California’s Latino culture can be traced to this influential group. KVIE examines what happened to these men, how have they changed the face of California and the Central Valley, and how their children and their children’s children used the opportunities earned by these exceptional men.
This is a story of a remarkable group of Mexican immigrants who strove for the American dream under severe working conditions, and became the foundation of today’s vibrant Mexican-American community.
Extras include a Spanish version.
Please allow 3 - 4 weeks for delivery